Test of Reading and Writing Skills (Osslt) Essay

Test of Reading and Writing Skills (Osslt) Essay.

I do not think that the Grade 10 Test of Reading and Writing Skills (OSSLT) is a good idea because it is one mandatory test, which determines whether or not you graduate. One test should not make all the hours of schooling irrelevant. A student who completes the 40 hours of community service and the 30 credits required to graduate, should be able to get their diploma. It is already mandatory to have four credits in English, one for every year of High School.

This test feels like another English credit. Like the English classes that you already take in school, it tests on the same things that the teachers test you on in class. If students can’t pass the test then it discourages them into thinking that they are not good enough. This is the reason that most students end up dropping out of High School.

I think that the test could be counted like the EQAO test that you take in grade 9.

That test determines where students are struggling and achieving the Provincial Standards. The OSSLT should be used by educators to assess a student’s Literacy skill and to determine their needs. The test could also be an option for those wanting to major in English, like the LSAT that you take to get into Law school.

I also think that the OSSLT is not a good idea because everybody learns and thinks differently. What is easy for some people is more difficult for others. This test does not take into consideration those students on an IEP or those who have learning disabilities. If a student learns on an IEP all throughout High School, it is unfair to not test them using that IEP. It is unfair to think that one person can do the same task in the same way as another person. Each person has a different learning style; they can be visual, auditory and/or kinesthetic learners. This test does not consider the other learner styles.

So in conclusion, the Grade 10 OSSLT should not hold a student back from graduating High School. If a student shows throughout High School that they have a working knowledge of reading and writing then they should not get held back by one simple test. Instead of holding back our students, it could be used as a tool to help them reach their full potential, not creating more drop outs. Lastly, for those students who have learning disabilities, this test does not accommodate their learning needs. When school should be setting them up for success, this test sets them up for failure.

Test of Reading and Writing Skills (Osslt) Essay

Human Growth & Development Reflection: Procastination Essay

Human Growth & Development Reflection: Procastination Essay.

Being a student in high school, the problem with procrastination is most definitely a very common occurrence. To try to curb this horrible problem you will need to find a study method that works for you and sparks an interest in the material you will be studying. In my case, I have never seemed to have found a effective study method that worked for me and one that had sparked an interest in whatever I may have been studying for. For many years I had studied for tests employing study methods such as highlighting the text, simply reading the material covered by the test, reading all of the information at one time, and the most used among high school and college student but definitely the least effective one, cramming that didn’t do much good and resulted in poor test scores.

After learning about how memory works in Human Growth and Development, I was very curious to see how well these new so called “golden” study methods would work for me.

I quickly tested out these new study methods for a test that I had been procrastinating for. To my surprise, the Method of Loci which at first had seemed quite silly turned out to work perfectly and helped me achieve a perfect score of one hundred on my test compared to the previous test of the same type which I had received a score of eighty-five. For me to find my study method that worked for me during my sophomore year of high school was a bit late. Even though it may have been a bit late, I definitely believe that my terrible problem with procrastination on important tests may have thankfully found a solution that lasts a great deal of time and hopefully will help me in the future to pursue a career in medicine.

Human Growth & Development Reflection: Procastination Essay

Research Spotlight on Homework Essay

Research Spotlight on Homework Essay.

Some researchers are urging schools to take a fresh look at homework and its potential for engaging students and improving student performance. The key, they say, is to take into account grade-specific and developmental factors when determining the amount and kind of homework. So, what’s appropriate? What benefits can be expected? What makes for good homework policies? Research doesn’t have all the answers, but a review of some existing data yields some helpful observations and guidance.

How Much Homework Do Students Do?

Survey data and anecdotal evidence show that some students spend hours nightly doing homework.

Homework overload is the exception rather than the norm; however, according to research from the Brookings Institution and the Rand Corporation (see the Brown Center 2003 below). Their researchers analyzed data from a variety of sources and concluded that the majority of U.S. students spend less than an hour a day on homework, regardless of grade level, and this has held true for most of the past 50 years.

In the last 20 years, homework has increased only in the lower grade levels, and this increase is associated with neutral (and sometimes negative) effects on student achievement.

How Much Is Appropriate?

The National PTA recommendations fall in line with general guidelines suggested by researcher Harris Cooper: 10-20 minutes per night in the first grade, and an additional 10 minutes per grade level thereafter (e.g., 20 minutes for second grade, 120 minutes for twelfth). High school students may sometimes do more, depending on what classes they take (see Review of Educational Research, 2006).

What are the benefits?

Homework usually falls into one of three categories: practice, preparation, or extension. The purpose usually varies by grade. Individualized assignments that tap into students’ existing skills or interests can be motivating. At the elementary school level, homework can help students develop study skills and habits and can keep families informed about their child’s learning. At the secondary school level, student homework is associated with greater academic achievement. (Review of Educational Research, 2006)

What’s good policy?

Experts advise schools or districts to include teachers, parents, and students in any effort to set homework policies. Policies should address the purposes of homework; amount and frequency; school and teacher responsibilities; student responsibilities; and, the role of parents or others who assist students with homework. Reference: Cooper, H. (2003). A synthesis of research. Review of Educational Reseach, volume 76, Retrieved January 09, 2013, from http://www.nea.org/tools/16938.htm Reasons why students should not have homework

Homework is supposed to ensure that all students retain the material covered in the classroom, but for many children it is an unnecessary chore and actually hinders their learning. Children learn best when they are interested in the subject. Positive mental attitude makes learning even challenging things much easier. Negative mental attitude, however, makes retaining knowledge harder and creates stress in a learner. It also takes much longer periods of time to complete. As a result children hardly have any time to develop their talents through extracurricular activities, or to spend adequate time with family and friends. Instead of being burdened with much resented huge loads of homework, children should have the opportunity for more self-directed and interactive learning at school to generate their interest and build in them positive attitude towards learning.

Teachers should be more creative and use multimedia like computers and video presentations to make covered subjects more engaging involving children’s input more. Students should be allowed to suggest activities and projects they would like to do. In the present school system it is usually the teacher who decides what and how children should learn in class and at home. This promotes passivity and a sense that learning is a necessary evil rather than exiting opportunity to learn about the world we live in. This is very ineffective, making kids bored, stressed, and frustrated. Not to mention that it is often parents who do the reluctant kids’ homework therefore homework doesn’t help them to learn at all. They get their grades, but end up having learning gaps that will come out later on and hinder their success.

Children who are struggling themselves with loads of homework lack the time to develop other than academic passions and experience very unhealty stress that cen result even in a depression. The numbers of children who take antidepressants is rapidly growing. Students who are defiant about their homework often have very strained relationship with their parents. It is a source of contention in too many families and contributes to deep emotional problems in these children and also inevitably may cause depression and substance abuse.

The age of kids taking street drugs is getting lower and lower. Children as young as ten in some countries have a drinking problem and homework overload can be an indirect cause of that. That is why I think students should not have homework, but be able to have enjoyable learning experience at school and freedom to be encouraged by the teacher to expand their knowledge on their own terms at home, and to be rewarded for the extra effort instead of being forced to do homework they don’t like.

Reference:

Tehrani, E. (2009). Reasons why students should not have homework. Retrieved January 09, 2013, from http://www.helium.com/items/1309973-why-students-shoul-not-have-homework The Truth About Homework

In high school, some studies do find a correlation between homework and test scores (or grades), but it’s usually fairly small, and it has a tendency to disappear when more sophisticated statistical controls are applied. Moreover, there’s no evidence that higher achievement is due to the homework even when an association does appear. It isn’t hard to think of other explanations for why successful students might be in classrooms where more homework is assigned—or why they might spend more time on it than their peers do.

The results of national and international exams raise further doubts. One of many examples is an analysis of 1994 and 1999 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, or TIMSS, data from 50 countries. Researchers David P. Baker and Gerald K. LeTendre were scarcely able to conceal their surprise when they published their results last year: “Not only did we fail to find any positive relationships,” they wrote, but “the overall correlations between national average student achievement and national averages in [amount of homework assigned] are all negative.”

Consider the assumption that homework should be beneficial just because it gives students more time to master a topic or skill. (Plenty of pundits rely on this premise when they call for extending the school day or year. Indeed, homework can be seen as a way of prolonging the school day on the cheap.) Unfortunately, this reasoning turns out to be woefully simplistic. Back “when experimental psychologists mainly studied words and nonsense syllables, it was thought that learning inevitably depended upon time,” the reading researcher Richard C.

Anderson and his colleagues explain. But “subsequent research suggests that this belief is false.” The statement “People need time to learn things” is true, of course, but it doesn’t tell us much of practical value. On the other hand, the assertion “More time usually leads to better learning” is considerably more interesting. It’s also demonstrably untrue, however, because there are enough cases where more time doesn’t lead to better learning.

In fact, more hours are least likely to produce better outcomes when understanding or creativity is involved. Anderson and his associates found that when children are taught to read by focusing on the meaning of the text (rather than primarily on phonetic skills), their learning does “not depend on amount of instructional time.” In math, too, as another group of researchers discovered, time on task is directly correlated to achievement only if both the activity and the outcome measure are focused on rote recall as opposed to problem-solving.

Carole Ames of Michigan State University points out that it isn’t “quantitative changes in behavior”—such as requiring students to spend more hours in front of books or worksheets—that help children learn better. Rather, it’s “qualitative changes in the ways students view themselves in relation to the task, engage in the process of learning, and then respond to the learning activities and situation.” In turn, these attitudes and responses emerge from the way teachers think about learning and, as a result, how they organize their classrooms. Assigning homework is unlikely to have a positive effect on any of these variables. We might say that education is less about how much the teacher covers than about what students can be helped to discover—and more time won’t help to bring about that shift.

Regardless of one’s criteria, there is no reason to think that most students would be at any sort of disadvantage if homework were sharply reduced or even eliminated. But even if practice is sometimes useful, we’re not entitled to conclude that homework of this type works for most students. It isn’t of any use for those who don’t understand what they’re doing. Such homework makes them feel stupid; gets them accustomed to doing things the wrong way (because what’s really “reinforced” are mistaken assumptions); and teaches them to conceal what they don’t know. At the same time, other students in the same class already have the skill down cold, so further practice for them is a waste of time.

You’ve got some kids, then, who don’t need the practice, and others who can’t use it. Furthermore, even if practice were helpful for most students, that wouldn’t mean they needed to do it at home. In my research, I found a number of superb teachers (at different grade levels and with diverse instructional styles) who rarely, if ever, found it necessary to assign homework. Some not only didn’t feel a need to make students read, write, or do math at home; they preferred to have students do these things during class, where it was possible to observe, guide, and discuss. Finally, any theoretical benefit of practice homework must be weighed against the effect it has on students’ interest in learning.

If slogging through worksheets dampens one’s desire to read or think, surely that wouldn’t be worth an incremental improvement in skills. And when an activity feels like drudgery, the quality of learning tends to suffer, too. That so many children regard homework as something to finish as quickly as possible—or even as a significant source of stress—helps explain why it appears not to offer any academic advantage even for those who obediently sit down and complete the tasks they’ve been assigned. All that research showing little value to homework may not be so surprising after all.

Reference:

Kohn, A. (2006). The truth about homework. Retrieved January 09, 2013, from
http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2006/09/06/02kohn.h26.html?tkn=RVRFTkNGGXy32nbQpdGsSFt01V8aHU5cZ3wG

Research Spotlight on Homework Essay

Language Learning Strategies Essay

Language Learning Strategies Essay.

Japanese designed site meant for starters in English language. In it are so many great links that are not only useful but also interesting to kids and other ESL learners. The reason for making it interesting is that kids may get bored if the material is not appealing to them. This site is maintained by TESL, the internet journal and the input is from teachers across the globe. This gives a lot of credibility to the site. Several books also have information meant for ESL learners and teachers.

One of them is Oxford’s (1990) Language Learning Strategies outlines what a teacher should know in his/her quest to make learners be competent in English as a second language. It gives all the strategies, their pros and cons, the appropriate level of learners’ cognitive abilities that are in tandem with each strategy and the methods of evaluation of the learners’ understanding after a new concept is initiated. The book cannot be said to fully cover all the participants in the learning environment.

Teachers and what they should know have been heavily outlined but the learner has been considerably left out.

The ESL competence of the learner will by and large depend on what the teacher has to offer and not what the learner can do to improve his/her ESL competence. Mayer, in Weinstein (1988), Learning and Study Strategies: Issues in Assessment, Instruction and Evaluation tackles issues pertinent to holistic ESL learning namely assessing, instruction and evaluation. The learner needs to be instructed, assessed and evaluated on the much that a teacher has taught him/her. The book is therefore a masterpiece in enabling a well structured acquisition of ESL competence by a learner.

The focus here is on the learner and has he teacher as guide, an assessor and evaluator of the progress the learner has made after a given time. The kindergarten kids have been catered for those teaching them will gain the skills to lead them in becoming competent. Elly (`1991), in his book Acquiring Literacy in a Second Language maintains that other than using structured audio-lingual programs , children should be exposed to a variety of story books and motivated to read and share what they get with other children. This way, they are able to acquire the second language easily.

Their grasping of vocabularies becomes easy since they find them in the books they read as opposed to teaching them vocabularies non-contextually. The implication in Elly’s book is that practical as opposed to theoretical approach to ESL teaching and learning should be adopted. In terms therefore it content value, this book is invaluable. Boyle and Suzanne (1990) in Literary Scaffolds outline the strategies for firs and second language leaders and writers. It provides scaffolding activities which enhance successful intercourse with the print works and shows children how to read and write.

Scaffolding is discussed and how it enhances writing and reading. Teachers and students of ESL can find invaluable information in this book. Genishi (1989) in Observing the Second Language Learner: An example of Teachers Learning illustrates how a kindergarten teacher recorded her observation of some ESL learners thus making critical points on effective language teaching and learning. She observed, according to this book, that each learner followed his/her own timetable and a unique path in learning a second language.

It also states that it is important to enhance the activities and situations that provide an opportunity of talking by learners. Lastly, it emphasizes the central part the teacher plays in the language learning environment. This way, they are able to practice what they already know via exchanging with others. This book borrows from the Psychological aspect of behavioral learning whereby children learn from the environment and thus cutting a niche in being one of the best books for use by both teachers and college or University students learning or preparing to teach ESL.

In conclusion, the books used are generally relevant based on their individual assistance to learners and teachers of ESL although they most of them are a decade old. The sites too provide the necessary information for those teachers of ESL wishing to help kindergarten kids acquire ESL competence. Students of ESL in colleges and Universities will find these sites vital. References Starters in English language, (2005), available at http://www. aitech. ac. jp/~iteslj/ESL. html: retrieved on 12 Feb 2009.

Strategies for learning English as a second language, (2007), available at theenglishweb. com, retrieved on 13 Feb 2009. English as a second language, (2008), available at http://cla. univ-fcomte. fr/english/index_s. htm: retrieved on 14 Feb 2009. ESL for Kindergarten kids, (2006), available at http://home. earthlink. net/~mediadesigns/Calendar. html, retrieved on 12 Feb 2009 ESL teaching strategies, (2007), available at http://iteslj. org/Articles/Lessard-Clouston-Strategy. html retrieved on 10 Feb 2009.

Oxford, R. (1990): Language Learning Strategies. New York, Newbury House Mayer, R. (1988): Learning Strategies: An Overview, in Weinstein, C et. al (Eds. ) New York, Academic Press. Genishi, C. (1989) Observing the Second Language Learner: An Example of Teacher’s Learning New York, Prentice Hall Elly, W. B (1991): Acquiring Literacy in a Second Language, Baltimore. Collins Publishers Boyle, O. F & Suzanne, F. P. (1990): Literacy Scaffolds” Strategies for First and Second Language Readers and Writers. New York, McGraw Hill

Language Learning Strategies Essay

Review ways in which minimum core elements can be demonstrated in assessing learners Essay

Review ways in which minimum core elements can be demonstrated in assessing learners Essay.

The main points I have learnt from this assessment/task are; We can embed minimum core elements can be embedded in our assessment, through multiple resources. We can get learners to access quiz materials online, which will embed ICT. Learners can read through task sheets, which will embed reading English. We can also have learners complete a number of tasks in a given time frame, which will embed mathematics. When assessing my learners, I embedded predominately English and ICT, Mathematics was embedded in some of the tasks that they had to complete.

The learners had to read the task sheet, there was a sheet of paper which listed all the tasks that was corresponding to the lesson. This was embedding English into the assessment. I also had a document saved on Learnzone, which gave the learner the option to view the document online, by accessing the document online, I had embedded ICT skills in the learner’s assessment. Embedding Mathematics into the Learners assessment would prove slightly difficult, with computer programming, when the learner was completing the tasks, some of the tasks, would compile of condition loops, which would set conditions based on numbers.

There was numeracy involved in my assessment. The learners would have been assessed at the end of the module, based on a report that they would write. The report was to demonstrate their understanding of the computer programming language and would include screen shots as evidence of their work. The minimum core skills are required as the learner must have good English skills to write a report, and have good ICT skills to use a computer. How could I develop my practical skills as a result of this assessment/task; The learners had to learn a computer programming language, so most of the minimum core is embedded when assessing.

I could engage the learners in an online quiz, this could enhance the mathematics skills when including minimum core. I could have also written more complex conditional functions, within the programming language, which would embed more mathematics. How could I develop my knowledge and understanding as a result of this assessment/task; I could research other tutors material and observe how they embed minimum core skills within their teaching, considering other assessment methods like short answer tests, quiz and presentations, to embed more of the minimum core skills.

Review ways in which minimum core elements can be demonstrated in assessing learners Essay

Contrast Studying Alone to Studying in a Group Essay

Contrast Studying Alone to Studying in a Group Essay.

Do you like to study alone or study in a group? Maybe some people will like to study alone, and other people will like to study in a group. Like studying alone, studying in a group will make you learn a lot of new things. Then studying alone and studying in a group can help you to gain knowledge and renew you information. Although they have some similarities, they still have some differences. Studying in a group makes your study easier, spends you time less, and makes you more actively.

First, studying in a group will make your study easier. Studying alone and studying in a group have different styles. If you study in a group, you may have some co-workers. If you can’t understand or answer the questions, those co-workers will help you to resolve the problems. This kind of study style will make your study easier. In contrast, If you study alone and have some questions, you can not easy to find someone to help you.

You may feel alone and helpless. Therefore, although you can study in any of these two ways, you will feel more helpful when you study in a group.

Second, studying in a group will spend your time less. When you study, you may want to spend less time learning more things. These two ways will bring different outcome. Studying in a group means you and others people work together, and all of you need to think about the same problems. You can devide one work from different parts, of the work. You will finish the job more quickly. In contrast, when you study alone, you have to finish your work by yourself. You will take more time to finish it. Therefore, studying in a group can save you time on study.

Finally, studying in a group will make you more actively. Whatever studying alone or studying in a group, you want to learn. When you work with others, you will get some information from others. At this time, you will think about their idea and absorb the good things from them. In contrast, when you study alone, you just know what you think and can not improve from others. When you study, you just study what you have known. Therefore, studying in a group will improve and increase your thinking.

To sum up, studying in a group can make your study easier, spend your time less, and make you more actively. These two ways both can help you to study. Sometimes, studying in a group will help you a lot; sometimes, studying alone also can help you a lot. If you want to be a good student, you can choose these tow ways to use in different time. You will get help from these two ways.

You may also be interested in the following: studying in groups vs studying alone research

Contrast Studying Alone to Studying in a Group Essay

The Tour to the National Science Park Essay

The Tour to the National Science Park Essay.

Today, we go to the USST national science park. Through the presentation made by the staff, we know the science park basically. National Science Park is founded by USST, Yangpu district government and Shanghai Association for Science&Technology. The science park’s purpose is to develop modern servicing business and advanced manufacture industry. It has three core functions: technology transfer , entrepreneur incubator, and service platform. Its industry cluster mainly includes machinery, instrument, medical appliances.

The technology transfer center mainly encourage students who want to create their own company to cooperate with the enterprise.

The entrepreneur incubator mainly gives students suggestions and advices. After the tour, I conclude four points that I learned today:

1. After we visit three small corporations, I learned that it is not easy to open a company. Especially for fund and market. For a company that has just set up , it is difficult to receive the financing . So the entrepreneur needs to receive the financing with the help of social platform such as venture capital fund.

2. This point is relevant to the marketing. Because we are the English and international trade major, we have the advantage of language skill and basic business knowledge. We can expand our market share by communicate with foreign-invested enterprises and try to corporate with them. The language skill and business knowledge can make it easier for us to negotiate with them and make a deal.

3. In fact, I want to be an entrepreneur in several years. After visiting the National Science Park, I find that it is a perfect place for me to know the growth of the company. I can see the whole development process of a company from its establishment , growth, maturity. I can acquire experience form its success and learn a lesson from its failure. Then, I will know what I should do or not in my future career.

4. This point is relevant to the marketing. When the company has grown mature to some degree, it can expand its market share by merge. We can revive the products of the company that is on the verge of bankruptcy , making their products become our new brand . we can research it life cycle and innovate and improve this product . then our market share will be larger than before.

The Tour to the National Science Park Essay

Is Homework Benificial for Learning? Essay

Is Homework Benificial for Learning? Essay.

Hello this is Christine and David on the affirmative team. We think that homework is beneficial and helpful for learning. Today, we will discuss the topic homework and why it is beneficial. School and homework teach students important life lessons that they will use as an adult. For example: It teaches them how to read and comprehend information, communicate ideas with others, listen and take notes, remember things, solve problems, how to develop a plan, set priorities and take action. Homework also teaches students how to concentrate, write reports, spend time alone and helps develop their curiosity about new subjects.

Homework builds up an initiative in students. Children can feel responsible for finishing homework. Also, another benefit of homework is time management.

They start allotting their time to study and play thus learning to complete their scheduled tasks in the time they have. Moreover, they learn to do things on their own. They manage their time and complete their work independently, and encourages self-discipline in students.

Homework helps children learn with interest and by doing homework, children learn to cope up with school activities. It helps children apply their skills and improve on weakness. Furthermore, it helps improve academic results. Some people don’t think homework is beneficial, that can be true, but it is also helpful.

According to “Benefits of Homework,” most teachers assign homework and that is for helping support what you learned that day. Also, homework teaches students how to set priorities, and it helps teachers determine how well students have understood that lesson. Furthermore, homework gives students another chance to review class material. Parents can get a chance to see what is learned at school. Homework teaches students that they have to do things sometimes-even if they don’t want to. It teaches students the importance of planning, staying organized, and taking action.

However, homework is not helpful when used as a punishment or with parents helping or telling you everything to do. But not all homework is beneficial. The families with lower incomes have a lower chance of better outcomes of homework. homework helps kids use their time wisely. If they weren’t doing homework, students would much rather play and be busy with their hobbies, but homework can help your brain and academic skills. That is why we think homework is beneficial and helpful for learning.

Is Homework Benificial for Learning? Essay

Cheating Quotes Essay

Cheating Quotes Essay.

Evidence

1. “There is too much competition between students, which leads to increased pressure to do well. Cheating becomes a way to get the edge over the other students in the class. In addition, the penalties for getting caught are mild.”

2. “Today there is more pressure placed on students to do well. They are expected to receive good grades, play a sport, and volunteer if they are to be looked at by a good college. With a B tainting your transcript, a college might not look at you.

3. “Students who would usually cheat get sucked into believing it is the only way to get ahead in school: If the cheaters are doing better then they are and not getting caught, then they had better try it.”

4. “Schools are drifting away from emphasizing learning and are emphasizing the grade instead. When the thirst for knowledge is replenished in the students mind, the desire for the grade without the work will dissolve. Only then will cheating decline.

Commentary

1. Wenke is indicating that the competition to get better grades has increased, and the only way for the students to stay in the competition is to cheat. She also says that because of the competition the pressure increased which causes the students stress, which then pushes them towards cheating. The students have no fear of cheating because the penalties will not affect them or there grades in a major way.

2. Wenke is trying to show us that now education is based around getting good grades and doing well and not about getting a good education and learning. She also is saying that colleges are looking for students with better grades and people with more extracurricular activities and with out A grades colleges may not even look at your transcript.

3. Wenke is telling us that cheating is the only way students can achieve success in school. Some students try their hardest to get the best grade they can achieve, but then see that the cheaters that put in less effort and get better grades. This makes more students want to cheat because that way you could focus on other things and not only schoolwork. So Wenke is saying what is stopping the good students from trying to cheat if the cheaters are prospering while they are not.

4. Wenke is indicating that cheating will only decline if knowledge is a greater quality for students rather than getting a better grade. If all the students want only knowledge and the grades do not affect their education then there will not be as much cheating as there is now. So the end of cheating will only occur if students care more about knowledge instead of grades.

Cheating Quotes Essay

The Teaching and Learning Cycle Essay

The Teaching and Learning Cycle Essay.

a) Teaching and Learning Cycle

The teaching and learning cycle is about how we assess and teach learners and the different stages of teaching and learning. There are four stages in the teaching and learning cycle: initial and diagnostic assessment, course and lesson planning, teaching and learning, and assessment and review (summative and formative assessment). Each stage is key in determining what happens in the next stage and that ‘the cycle involves a complex interweaving of the two’: teaching and learning (Derrick and Gawn, in Schwab and Hughes 2010: 282.

Gravells suggest that for teaching and learning to be effective, all stages must be addressed (Gravells 2012). The first stage is the initial and diagnostic assessment. This is key in identifying key information about the learner: their reasons for doing the course, their goals and aspirations, their previous education and work history, and any additional information that will give a clear picture about the learner. This stage will assess the four key skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing.

The initial assessment is carried out on a face-to-face basis and the diagnostic assessment is done either on paper or on a computer. The results from the diagnostic assessment, measured against the DFES national standard, will help place the learner in the appropriate class. The diagnostic assessment provides key information about what the learner can do. An analysis of the diagnostic assessment provides information about why the learner is making those errors. This information enables teacher to set targets for the learner. The learning targets are put forward in the form on an ILP (Individual Learning Plan). The ILP is conducted in a tutorial between the teacher and the learner and is a personal document for the learner to review and track their progress. Once the initial and diagnostic assessments are completed, the teacher has enough information to plan the course: the second stage.

Planning needs to be aimed at delivering coherent, well-structured and effective classes with clear aims and objectives and a clear end goal. Armitage states that ‘the ultimate goal of our planning, whether we are working with a small or large group or with individuals, should be to enable each learner to achieve their potential during the learning experience’ (Armitage, 2012:103). The planning stage, in the form of a scheme of work, is a combination of the Core Curriculum standards and the final summative assessment. The scheme of work ‘provides an overview of learning activities over a specified period of time’ (Derrick and Gawn, in Hughes and Schwab, 2010: 284) but can change throughout the course.

Teachers will take into consideration the needs of individual learners and the learning objectives of that group. During teaching and learning (third stage), formative assessment takes place throughout the course. Formative assessment helps teachers find out how the students are progressing and what areas need to be evaluated or to be taught and can affect the scheme of work. It is conducted both formally (through a tutorial) and informally (during a lesson). Gravells points out that a formative assessment can enable teachers to see if the learners are ‘ready prior to a summative assessment’ (Gravells, 2012: 116) which is the final stage of the teaching and learning cycle.

Summative assessments are usually carried out at the end of the course (some courses may be at the end of a unit or school term) by an external examining body but in some colleges, they are carried out internally. The results from the summative assessment are measurable by the DFES national standards and provide proof of the learner’s achievement, usually in the form of a certificate where learner’s can use it to progress or move on to employment or other routes in education. Once the summative assessment is conducted, should the learner stay on in the course, the teaching and learning cycle does not start at stage one but goes straight to stage two; planning.

b) Initial and Diagnostic Assessment and ILPs

For the purpose of this essay, I am going to use the E3 Literacy class that I teach at City and Islington College (CANDI) to discuss the tools used for initial and diagnostic assessment and the process of drawing up an ILP. I will use the example of a learner and for this, I will call her Learner A. Learner A arrives at CANDI with the aim to improve her literacy skills. She would like to do a training course to teach drama. Her first initial meeting is with one of the basic skills staff, usually a Literacy teacher, who conducts a short interview to find out about Learner A’s previous educational and work experience, her goals and aspirations, any special educational support needs, and basic information about her interests and family. After the initial meeting, the teacher judges what level the learner should be assessed. The teacher gives Learner A the Entry 3 Literacy Diagnostic Assessment from Excellence Gateway (app 1.1). Learner A completes the test as expected and is placed in an Entry 3 course.

The test made clear Learner A’s error pattern in spelling and punctuation. The teacher meets with Learner A again draws up the ILP. The results from the Diagnostic Assessment enables the teacher to set targets in her ILP (app 1.2). At CANDI the ILP Is drawn up online using SMART targets; targets that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time based. This online system allows the teacher to set the learning targets but also update them as the course goes on. Initially, the targets set for Learner A were to: read closer for meaning, proofread for closer meaning, and punctuation and sentence structure. The targets were reviewed and new ones set in February when Learner A and the teacher met in a formal tutorial. These targets were reset due to the on-going formative assessment on Learner A’s progress.

The information gained from the initial and diagnostic assessments were useful in helping the teacher plan the scheme of work and identify key areas of learning support for Learner A. From observation, it is clear to see that the initial assessment, especially for this specific group, does not have a great impact on planning the scheme of work. The results from the learners’ diagnostic assessments have a greater impact on the scheme of work because the teacher is be able to see what areas the group needs to focus on. For example, if 15 of the 20 students had errors in reading and sequencing, the teacher will include reading and sequencing tasks in the scheme of work. The teacher will create differentiated materials to suit the learner’s level and needs.

c) Detailed rationale for a lesson plan

On my training practice, I teach a group of Literacy learners at Entry 3 at CANDI. I have chosen to discuss lesson 4 (app 2.4). I teach a group of 12 learners. English in not the first language for some learners and some learners have special support needs: dyslexia and visual impairment. For the learner who has a visual impairment, the materials were enlarged by 141%. This context of the lesson is to teach learners telephone techniques when asking for information about a job. Learners are currently doing employability and have covered areas in looking at job adverts, highlighting their skills and qualities and applying communication skills when applying for a job. The first part of the lesson, students are asked to think of a time when they telephoned to ask for more information about a job.

This is a constructivists approach to learning where students are bringing in their prior knowledge into the classroom. In this case, learning becomes more meaningful to students because they are taking an active role in learning. The lesson is based on listening tasks where learners are able to listen for detail, which is a task, that some of the learners find difficult. Scaffolding allows the learners to present their ideas, listen to see if their ideas are similar to those in the listening activities, to listen to ways of perfecting their phone call and to come up with possible questions to ask for information about a job. The matching activity reflects the Zone of Proximal Development put forward by Vygotsky (1978) in that learners must be presented with tasks that are just out of their ability so that it can promote learning. Some of the learners find it difficult to match words with meaning.

To evaluate, the lesson went well and the learners were engaged in the discussion about asking for information about a job over the phone. They came up with some excellent tips for making a phone call. I was pleased with the way the learners completed the matching activity and how engaged they were in coming up with questions to ask using the titles given. However, there was need for a lot of development in the lesson. It would have been better to provide a hand-out for the learners to write their questions for the titles so that they could have them for future reference. I believe that a role-play activity would have allowed them to practice their telephone skills maybe in the form of a sorting activity and then practiced the role-play. However, at the end of the lesson, it would have been good to review what the learners had learnt, which would have allowed room to test progress and to see if learning had taken place.

d) Summative Assessment

A summative assessment is based on assessing the learner through a series of assessment tools such as examinations (typically done by an external body) or through portfolios and coursework. They are usually conducted at the end of the course; however, some institutes do them at the end of term or throughout the course. According to Derrick and Gawn (citied in Hughes and Schwab, 2010), assessments play an important role in providing evidence that learners can use in future employment or ‘providing public recognition of achievement’ (Derrick and Gawn, citied in Hughes and Schwab, 2010: 279). Aside from proving what a learner has retained in the form of knowledge gained from the course, summative assessments also provide an understanding to see whether the learner has achieved the skills to be able to progress to the next level.

For the Literacy Entry 3 training class I teach at CANDI, there is no external examination at the end but the learners are assessed internally on their achievement: have they met the goals set out in their ILP and can they provide evidence that they have met their goals? They provide evidence through their portfolio that consists of assignments set for them in class or for homework, mainly in the form of written pieces of writing ranging from a cover letter to filling out a form. Specific to this class the summative assessment, for progression to the next level, includes the assessment of the following: proof that learners have met their learning targets (usually in the form of a portfolio), have 90% attendance, have a good attitude and effort, and they are punctual.

e) Tracking and evidencing progress

Tracking and evidencing progress is important to teachers so they know how their learners are doing and what they need to improve on. Gravells points out that ‘if accurate records are not maintained, your students’ progress may become unstructured and their achievement may not be recognised or documented’ (Gravells, 2012: 17). This is done through formative assessments, usually carried out throughout the course. For teachers, tracking and evidencing progress makes sure that the learners are meeting the objectives but also that the national teaching standards are met. There are specific skills that are set out the in Core Curriculum and teachers must prove that learners are acquiring those skills. For the Literacy Entry 3 class, the teacher gives a piece of written work once a week and provides written feedback, which highlights the positive and provides areas of improvement.

Theses goals are then discussed in the formal tutorial where the teacher will track and evidence their progress in their ILP (Individual Learning Plan). New targets are set and the teacher provides the necessary work that will allow the learners to reach those targets. At CANDI, the ILPs are kept online so it is easier for teachers to update and track progress. Tracking and evidencing progress acts as proof to show that teachers are reaching their teaching goals and objectives. Teaching institutes will have external (OFSTED) and internal inspections to check teaching standards and review teachers. By keeping track and evidencing progress of learners, teachers are able to prove that learning is taking place and that they are achieving the goals and reaching the targets set out in the Core Curriculum.

Reference:
Armitage, A. (2012). Teaching and training in lifelong learning (4th ed.). Maidenhead: Open University Press: 103 Derrick and Gawn, in Hughes, N., Schwab, Irene, (2010). Teaching adult literacy: Principles and practice Maidenhead: Open University Press: Chapter 8 Gravells, A. (2012). Preparing to teach in the lifelong learning sector (5th ed.). London: Learning Matters: 17, 116,

The Teaching and Learning Cycle Essay