ΕΚΠΑΙΔΕΥΤΙΚΑ ΝΕΑ

Επιδιώξτε την επικοινωνία με τους δύσκολους μαθητές σας και τους γονείς τους

Επιδιώξτε την επικοινωνία με τους δύσκολους μαθητές σας και τους γονείς τους

Research every teacher should know: the value of student evaluation

In his series of articles on how psychology research can inform teaching, Bradley Busch picks an academic study and makes sense of it for the classroom. This time: student evaluation of learning

There is a wealth of psychology research that can help teachers to improve how they work with students, but academic studies of this kind aren’t always easy to access or translate into the realities of classroom practice. This series seeks to redress that by taking a selection of studies and making sense of the important information for teachers, as we all seek to answer the question: how can we help our students do better at school? This time, we consider student evaluation of learning.

Tower Bridge Books: Tips on FCE for Schools Speaking

This article is one of a series of articles on features of Tower Bridge Books, specifically on preparation for the FCE First for Schools.

          In order for students to excel in the Speaking section of FCE for Schools, exposure to a wide range of vocabulary through discussions and team projects is of utmost importance.

Tips on ECCE Listening

Tips on ECCE Listening

 

This article is one of a series of articles on features of Tower Bridge Books, specifically on preparation for the ECCE.

          In order for students to excel in the Listening section of ECCE, exposure to vocabulary as well as a wide range of American accents is of utmost importance. Teachers can show them videos from the internet, inviting them to follow the general discussion on various topics, and jot down specific words or expressions, which they will use when talking about what they heard. This way, both speaking and listening skills are honed.

          An interesting activity would be to expose students to short monologues or dialogues of American speakers via the internet, and have them play a guessing game, so as to place their accent (North or South America, and so on).

          Another way to help students improve their listening skills is by having them record voice journals, using free websites. More specifically, teachers can prompt speaking by asking questions like “How would you teach English if you were a teacher for a single day?” or “Describe your best/worst holiday.” Then, students are assigned to listen to and comment on their classmates.

          Assigning students homework that involves watching the news is beneficial in more ways than one. Not only does it give them another medium of listening to English, but it also gives them something to talk about with other speakers. This will help students engage in the culture, which is so vital to the English language learning process.

          An activity for students to master both listening and writing skills—as these two are inextricably related—is by asking them to listen to some lectures or speeches online, and then write a summary. Thus, they are encouraged to focus on key words/ideas, which they present in a coherent short text.

          In order to acquaint students with specific sounds and nuances, and enable them to distinguish or identify particular vowel sounds/clusters, teachers can have them read out loud minimal pairs, such as peach/pitch, lick/leek, and so on.

          This is the rationale behind our book. The level of the vocabulary and expressions found throughout the eight tests is slightly higher than that expected in the exam, with a wide variety of topics covered in both Listening parts of the exam. Students are exposed to all sorts of formal and informal communicative situations in order to tackle the Listening section with confidence.

          Last but not least, just like all of our books, ECCE has an online version, which helps every student practise their Listening skills at home by saving time in the classroom. Students can do each Listening test as many times as they wish, in order to practise their listening skills, and excel in the exam. The teacher has access to his or her students’ scores, and can follow their progress. Most importantly, this saves time in the classroom, where the teacher can focus on the weaknesses of each student, thus fostering individualised learning, and converting the classroom into a workshop. The online practice provides, not only answers, but also annotations for the correct answers, so that the student knows why A is right, and D is wrong. It’s the perfect way to practise Listening skills..

 

          Success…it’s all about making a difference!

Tips on ECCE Writing

Tips on ECCE Writing

 

This article is one of a series of articles on features of Tower Bridge Books, specifically on preparation for the ECCE.

          Writing comprises two tasks. Task 1 is a letter, and Task 2 is an essay. There is also provided an extract from a magazine or newspaper regarding a certain social issue or problem. Students are invited to read the extract, and produce either a letter (formal or informal) or an essay. Students only have 30 minutes to complete the task.

          In order for students to improve their writing skills, teachers should provide extra material (magazine and newspaper clippings), which students can read in class, underlining key words and expressions. Thus, the latter are enabled to get exposed to authentic language used in real situations. Of course, a discussion can ensue about the topic at hand, whereby students are encouraged to use the topic vocabulary they have come across in the article they have read, and adduce the arguments or examples provided in it. In this way, they are presented with the inner structure of an essay (linking words/phrases and other rhetoric markers).

          To this end, students are assigned to write small paragraphs, expressing their own views on a certain topic. At this stage, they do not have to produce the entire essay. Only two or three paragraphs are enough to get them off the ground. In doing so, with the help of teachers, they can acquaint themselves with the register of formal and informal letters, as well as their layout (ways to start and end a formal/informal letter). Pertaining to the essay, they can become more aware of the opinion type, where they express their own views by using sound argumentation.

          Another activity for students to master different writing genres is by finding sample essays or letters, making puzzles by cutting the paragraphs, and jumbling them up, in order to master the register of these two types. Students can glue them in their notebooks, and keep them as samples.

          This is the rationale behind our book. The level of the vocabulary and expressions found throughout the eight tests is slightly higher than that expected in the exam, with a wide variety of topics covered. Students are exposed to the necessary topic vocabulary and structure of both writing types, so as to tackle the writing section with confidence. Sample Essays and Letters are provided to give more ideas of the layout, vocabulary, and register required to excel in the exam.

            Last but not least, just like all of our books, ECCE has an online version, which helps every student practise their Writing skills at home by saving time in the classroom. Students may either type their essay or letter online, which is excellent practice for those students who would like to improve  computer-based skills, whereby the teacher will be able to correct the essay and/or letter online, and grade it for the student to see online. Sample Essays and Letters are provided here after they have  been written, so that the student may compare his or her own work to a model. It is the perfect way to practise writing and computer skills.

 

          Success…it’s all about making a difference!

 

Dimitris Thanasoulas

Ellen Roberts