What is Language Assessment Literacy?
The original use of the term “literacy” is still commonly defined as the ability to read and write, but in its wider sense teaching professionals prefer to view it as a concept that brings together knowledge and competences in a given area of learning. We are all now becoming increasingly familiar with terms such as Digital Literacy or Research Literacy, as well as Assessment Literacy, which will now be the subject for a series of posts we are going to be sharing with you in the coming months, focusing specifically on the theme of Language Assessment Literacy, or LAL. Since the term first appeared at the start of the 1990s, there have been many attempts to define it, but we will use Pill and Harding’s simple yet concise definition from 2013, which considers LAL as a series of “competences that enable the individual to understand, evaluate and in some cases create language tests and analyse test data”.
No two people have quite the same experience of teaching English. My own history includes mostly private sector teaching to adults and teens (so this post might not reflect your situation exactly). But regardless of the context you teach in, many of us, and this is undoubtedly true of any profession, might get to a time when we question why it is that we are doing it, or maybe we forget why we got into it in the first place.
For native speakers there is the added “I’m JUST an English teacher” issue to face as well, as in: I’m JUST teaching something that I didn’t have to put any real effort into learning myself, or Am I JUST taking the easiest option? Shouldn’t I be more of a go-getter in world of increasing “go-getting.” I would bet that this thought has crossed the minds of a fair number of you out there. Perhaps if you are a NNS (non-native speaker) of English you haven’t had this same feeling, and the things listed below are somewhat more obvious to you. If so, scream and shout about them! Kick up a fuss about your profession! And get your colleagues stoked about their job! Because there are a great many things to love about being “just” an English teacher.
Once every two years the Official Language Schools in Spain hold their national convention. This year’s event at the EOI in Valencia (this Thursday 30th March until Saturday 1st April) marks the 10th time they will come together to share ideas and best practices.
We at Pearson are also very proud to be taking part by providing three engaging workshops. Two of these talks will be given by award-winning ELT author, novelist and co-author of Pearson’s Speakout series, JJ Wilson, on the topics of creativity and authenticity in the classroom. Also on hand will be Spain-based Teacher Trainer for Pearson Michael Brand who will offer his perspective on the characteristics of a C1 user of English and how to get our students up to this level.
For more details and times please consult the information below.
We all want our students to become more independent and responsible for their learning, but this won’t happen without the right support. Enter assessment for learning! As opposed to assessment of learning (think end of term exams, categorisation of students, awarding a number), assessment for learning sees learning as a journey: what does my student know, where are they going, what do they need to get there? Let’s look at three simple ways that good teachers employ assessment for learning.
Some of you may have noticed that I am sharing part of a quote attributed to Socrates from 400 BC. I have seen it used as a starting point for many a classroom management seminar, with the speaker aiming to show that teachers have been dealing with naughty students for millennia. However, the contents of training workshops on classroom management can of course vary wildly: it’s such a broad area. In many ways ‘How to be a good classroom manager’ is the same as ‘How to be a good teacher.’ With this in mind, I’ll be splitting this post into a series of three blog posts, each looking at a different ingredient in the recipe for good classroom management.
It’s been a busy few weeks for Pearson’s teacher trainers who have been giving talks at the British Council ‘Teaching for Success’ events across Spain. As promised, here are the links to the presentations we gave:
Valencia, Barcelona & Madrid with Brian Engquist, Marta Cervera & Michael Brand
Saturday 1st October
Exploiting video to the max
From the Classroom to the Wider World
Bilbao with Elena Merino
Saturday 24th September
Ten Top Tips for Terrific Teachers
Thanks for attending the talks and we hope you found them useful!
You might also be interested in…
– Do you want to be Pearson’s Global ELT Teacher of the year?
– Mark your calendar for Pearson Webinars for English Teachers
Don’t forget to sign up to our ELT blog. You’ll find lots of great stuff to read here!
More info at Pearson ELT Spain & Portugal
What constitutes a meaningful speaking activity for an adult and can blended learning help them improve in a task-based setting? At the end of this weekend I will be participating in the IX Congreso Estatal de escuelas oficiales de idiomas with a couple of sessions which will deal with these questions.
Speaking activities and blended learning for adult learners
In my first session “Speak Out Challenge: How to get our learners to produce meaningful oral language”, we will look at practical examples taken from SpeakOut (Intermediate), that can foster out students’ communicative interactions in English. Putting words together in order to utter a meaningful message is not an easy task. So in order to build fresh, motivating and significant speaking exercises, we need to consider quite a few things: 1) relating the activities to our students’ own reality; 2) using authentic material; and 3) engaging the learners. That is why, we will not only explore what prevents our students from speaking but we will also show effective ways of getting our students to really communicate, in other words, to say more than a few words, by combining both traditional interactive tasks with other handy technological tools. Continue reading
This month I have been sharing perspectives, comments and knowledge about ESL Writing with teachers in Catalunya. The Department of Education of the Generalitat invited us to participate in their regular formative sessions.
This session aimed at providing primary, secondary and adult teachers with strategies to Make Writing Meaningful.The practical examples provided the teachers with diverse techniques and activities that they could use later in their classrooms, but we also had a reflective approach towards writing and its importance as a productive skill in second language development. Continue reading
This week let’s get to know a person who has recently started working in our Teacher Training team for Spain and Portugal. Her name is Elena Merino and she joined Pearson 2 months ago. Read on to find out more!
Interview with Elena Merino, Teacher Training
1. How long have you been teaching English?
I’ve taught English for 12 years in very different contexts and for varied learning profiles. My main focus is teenagers and adults but I’ve also worked with children. Continue reading