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TEFL Masterclass – Assessment for Learning: Teacher’s Toolkit

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Ania Kolbuszewska – Teacher Trainer, Mediator & Former Eaquals Board Member.

Ania have worked as a language teacher, trainer, manager and consultant, providing business and academic consultancy in mainstream and private education at primary, secondary, tertiary and further education level. She is also a mediator with a keen interest in conflict management theory and practice. She has been worked in Eaquals Accreditation and Consultancy Services as a former member and director. She was the Author for Eaquals Self-help Guide to Teacher Development, Eaquals management competency framework and Use of English materials for Pearson.

What you will learn

Assessment for learning has been proven to have a significant influence on the success and the speed of learning, provided that it is an integral part of not just the teaching, but also the learning process.

It involves obtaining information from students which you can then use to inform your teaching, giving formative feedback to learners and developing (together with your students, for example) clear and transparent success criteria, so that students have full clarity in terms of what they are trying to achieve.

In this highly practical workshop, you will be provided with a toolkit of strategies, activities and techniques which you can use in order to ensure that assessment for learning is embedded in your daily classroom practice as well as in students’ own learning.

Workshop Summary

Introduction to Assessment for Learning

Ania Kolbuszewska introduces the concept of assessment for learning at the Gallery Teachers Masterclass, emphasising its critical role in the teaching-learning process. Drawing from Neil Harris’s earlier session and the book ‘Why We Assess Students and How’ by James McLean and Robert Lockwood, Ania addresses the importance of evaluating students’ understanding throughout instruction to adapt teaching tactics promptly.

The Holistic Approach and Role-play Scenario

Assessment for learning represents a holistic teaching-learning approach, fostering student involvement, confidence, and ongoing refinement of teaching methods. Clear, transparent success criteria are vital to offer meaningful formative feedback. Ania illustrates the practical application of this approach through a job interview role-play scenario, underlining the significance of assessment criteria in gauging student performance and elucidating the learning objectives.

Learning as a Journey

Ania proposes the metaphor of learning as a journey, where understanding learning objectives aids in evaluating student progress and planning the subsequent steps. This conceptualisation encourages independent learning, empowering students to chart their learning path.

Gathering Insights with the ‘Assessment for Learning’ Toolkit

Ania then discusses the value of open-ended questions in the learning process and introduces the ‘assessment for learning’ toolkit. Encouraging students to construct and ask questions promotes curiosity and critical thinking. She suggests a ‘questions box’ for collecting student queries after each lesson, which can facilitate the review of learned material in subsequent classes.

Implementing Assessment for Learning Strategies

The last part of Ania’s masterclass covers practical strategies to embed assessment for learning in classrooms. These include formative comments on students’ work, redrafting techniques, student practice marking, self and peer-reviewing, setting goals, and different reviewing methods. Self-evaluation, viewing mistakes as learning opportunities, and providing adequate thinking time for students are also essential aspects. Conclusively, implementing assessment for learning strategies can significantly enhance learning experiences, making classrooms dynamic environments that foster student involvement and encourage growth.

Reflective Questions

Have a quick think about the reflective questions below in order to get the most out of the workshop:

  1. What is the difference between assessment of learning and assessment for learning?
  2. Who is responsible for setting learning aims?
  3. In what ways can the teacher share learning aims with students?
  4. What do we mean when we say that teachers and students should celebrate mistakes?

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