Home Forums Discussion Board Discussion 4.2 – Testing English

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    • #2335
      admin adminadmin

      The 2 points presented earlier in this unit (repeated below) represent, for me, the essence of what learning English means.

      ● “The systems of grammatical rules that actually guide individuals’ language use are constructed by their users on the basis of their exposure to, and participation in, meaningful communicative events around them. This is true for both L1 and L2 English.”

      ● “Descriptions of grammatical rules that are deliberately taught and learned in an educational context are a kind of partial ‘knowledge about’ language systems, but having this knowledge doesn’t mean learners have the systems themselves to guide their usage.”

      I think this is the million dollar question: if you teach in a plurilithic way, how can you test in the same way? If for 20 students there are 20 different Englishes and they have constructed their own mental grammar and lexicon, testing the textbook English is a fallacy.
      Personally, I would challenge the “fill in the blank” and the multiple choice testing, to begin with. If we NEED to test, then perhaps allow learners to be a bit creative and have some free reign over their tests and exams and have them create personal and fun presentations, or blogs, or stories, or bring in pictures to talk about, rather then giving them pre-set sentences with blanks about random things and people that don’t mean anything to them and that have to rigidly follow the rules in declarative memory. Focus of them successfully completing the task, instead of how accurately it was completed…We always say that activities should be communicative and meaningful for the learner, but then the testing is the opposite. It’s a tough one!

      To view past replies go to: https://changingenglishes.proboards.com/thread/23/testing-english

      • This topic was modified 7 months, 2 weeks ago by admin adminadmin.
    • #3750

      In my point of view affirmative assessment is so important in developing skills.

    • #4253

      Embracing diverse students with different mental grammar would be burdensome for (monolithic)teachers, but for (plurilithic) teachers, the diversity would serve as their guide to help students acquire the kind of English that they need to achieve. However, I think this would cause problems when students take English proficiency tests since all of it are promoting ‘Standard English’.

      Teachers should balance both the monolithic and plurilithic views depending on the circumstances and needs of students.

    • #4594

      This is where the conflict begins: we encourage all versions, varieties ,but safely tell them that they have to use the standard in testing.
      I totally agree with Abdulla Alli’s statement on alternative assessments where plirilithic view of teaching/ learning a language is encouraged.
      However, coming to a consensus on all these might take some time and establishing a plurilithic approach in all aspects of language teaching is what we have to encourage globally.

    • #4657
      Dauda PikawiDauda Pikawi

      There is nothing wrong with teaching the plurilithic way, but how do you test the students having in mind they all have their idiolects and their individual Englishes. As much as this is concern this may be a challenge for me.
      Another thing is how to convince the policy makers and other supervisors that what you are doing is the best. Or in some cases when the tests are standard.

    • #4786

      According to my opinion, it is not thoughtful strategy to consider every activity in the text book and cover the syllabus. On the contrary, teacher has to have a plurithic thinking pattern and need to make an independent lesson plan and the materials according to the learner profile and the interests.

    • #4840

      I taught test preparation classes for a long time (and probably will again), so I had to test on the book. There are times when the test (CAE in this case) does allow for a little more creativity, but I have found them to be slightly lacking in their knowledge of what’s acceptable in American English. I know it’s a British test though, so I drill my students on that.

      In standard classes when we’re not targeting in on a test, I like to allow for more creativity. We take quizzes and such, but I check them all carefully myself and give my students a lot of feedback in terms of usage.

    • #5256

      I agree with this point.

    • #5305


    • #5337

      As I said it, before moving to the UK, I thought I could speak English very well.
      Then at the airport, I did not understand the first question a native asked from me.
      So, yeah, textbooks are sometimes overrated… 😀

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