Teaching Techniques

Here follow some ideas to help ELT teachers to improve their teaching skills

  1. Asking questions
    Asking targeted questions can help learners to pinpoint meaning. It’s often a good idea to start with closed questions, which offer a choice, before moving onto more open questions. For example, if you want to check the meaning of ‘I lived in Delhi’ you could ask:
    * Am I talking about the past, the present or the future? (the past) closed question * Do I live in Delhi now? (no) closed question * Tell me about a place where you lived before open question Remember that asking ‘What does this word mean?’ can be tricky for lower level learners. Think about how you would answer before asking this! Also, if you ask ‘Do you understand?’ it is easy for learners to answer ‘Yes!’, but you won’t really know unless you check properly. Some learners are reluctant to say when they don’t understand something.
  2. Asking learners to demonstrate
    Examples: ‘How do you look when you feel interested?’, ‘Point to something which is heavy’, ‘Show me what you do when you yawn’. Of course, this doesn’t work for everything. You could ask individuals or the whole class to demonstrate.
  3. Testing knowledge
    Giving learners an exercise to complete is one way of seeing how much they understand. There are lots of options: examples include a matching activity, wordsearch, crossword, writing words for definitions/writing definitions for words. Multiple choice activities probably need to be followed by another way of checking too, as learners may have just guessed! Learners need to be reassured that if they don’t know the answers, it’s OK!
  4. Using images
    Displaying an image and asking questions can be a good way to check understanding. For example, you could show a picture of a man in prison and ask ‘What has he done?’, to check the present perfect structure. Or simply show a picture of a word you want to check, like ‘ski resort’. You could ask younger learners to draw the item you want to check.
  5. Using translation
    You could ask learners for a translation, or give a translation and ask for the English word. Of course, not all words or phrases directly translate between languages, so this technique can be problematic. It can be useful for abstract concepts

Source: © British Council

Assessment Terminology

It is useful to think about different types of assessment in terms of its purpose. You can use the terminology in this section in this week’s discussions and when describing your current practice.

Formative assessment. This is the use of assessment to give the learner and the teacher information about how well something has been learnt so that they can decide what to do next. It normally occurs during a course, and informs the teaching that follows.

This can also be thought of as assessment forlearningSummative assessment. This evaluates a learner’s progress up to a certain point and provides a summary of where they are. Tests may be conducted at the end of year or the end of a course, for example.

This is also known as assessment oflearningContinuous. This means assessing aspects of learners’ language throughout their course and then producing a final evaluation result from these assessments. It might include a combination of formative and summative assessment.

Self-assessmentLearners are encouraged to assess their own progress, using specific criteria, which could include band descriptors such as those of the Common European Framework.Peer assessmentLearners are encouraged to assess each other, against specific criteria.