FEATURES FOR TEACHERS
Features For New Teachers
Volume 5, Issue 8
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Can students assess their own learning? Action research is positive about it!
The article encompasses my action research that was done in the one of
whole paradigm of teaching will shift if we initiate a discussion on
the question of ‘Can students assess their own learning within and
outside the classroom’? How can they be able to know whether they
participate joyfully in learning and what are the other ways though
which they assess themselves and also enhance their learning further?
Besides, it is also vital to know why is it important for a child to
know what s/he learns, unlearns or relearns as s/he moves across
grades and levels of learning.
to the OCC Assessment Definition, Assessment
is an on-going process aimed at understanding and improving student
learning. It involves making our expectations clear to students and
setting appropriate outcomes for learning. It helps determine how well
student performance matches those outcomes. It uses the resulting
information to improve student learning.
the words of Airasian
(1994) “the process of collecting, synthesizing, and interpreting
information to aid in decision making is called assessment”.
Assessment therefore includes the full range of information teachers
gather in their classroom; it is this information that helps them
understand their pupils, monitor their instruction, and establish a
viable classroom culture.
term “Assessment” cannot be dealt exclusively in isolation because
it is inclusive in nature and has a cyclical process within that. The
term "assessment" is generally used to refer to all
activities teachers use in the class to help students learn and to
gauge student progress. The definition describes that “It is a
continuous process, not a separate activity, which necessarily
requires the use of extra variety of tasks, tests, practical
activities and observation” Another definition suggests that “It
is a part of everyday teaching and learning”. One defines the
assessment as “It is concerned with measuring student’s
performance during and following a program of study”. However
“achievement can be seen as gaining mastery over certain skills,
knowledge or understanding of any piece of work”. Thus it has been
proven that assessment in itself is not an end, but a means to an end.
was confronted with this question of assessing students' learning many
times in my career. I chose the similar question to explore via
action research; moreover extension in my research question led it to
explore the implicit and explicit ways through which learning takes
my teaching as an action researcher, I was given grade VI, whose
teacher was not properly trained. Though I intended to work with
a qualified and trained teacher eventually, I began my action research
project with that teacher. She was good natured lady and teaching with
a traditional way of transmitting knowledge. This became a great
challenge as I wanted to explore how students can measure their own
learning, how they become partners with teachers in seeking curriculum
goals etc. I therefore had to bring a little modification in my plan.
the first phase, through a participatory model, I engaged with
students via interactive teaching methodologies. This took an
entire two months to bring a paradigm shift from the traditional to
progressive mode of teaching and learning. It was regular
teaching and I had forgotten that I was the researcher. I took a
new role as teacher. That teacher and I found that students are
no more quiet in the class; moreover they were interested in what was
to be taught or not, and how through various methods they are
questioning the knowledge base mentioned in the text books, or written
the next phase, where students have adopted certain traits, they
started becoming critical about the ideas, about various strategies,
about the purpose of studying any theme. Then I initiated my
plan to question their learning. Instead of focusing on replies,
our entire class process was to reflect on questions and that began
the unending debate culture in the class. For simple to complex
themes, we had questions to explore them further. For instance,
the initial first few classes, we debated a lot on the following:
What is the role of science in our life?
How and why science helps people in various fields of
What is the main difference between the lives of Stone
Age people and modern time?
Why did humans started thinking to make some changes?
through introducing various strategies students were able to find out
the reason for every action, thought, or concept etc. I realized as a
researcher that introducing the Portfolio
was a successful strategy as it enabled them to link their daily
learning and maintain a log about it. For instance, students are
asking each other
Why have I chosen this artifact?
What standards does it meet and why?
How has this helped in my learning?
What did I do that hindered my learning?
What am I going to do about it (next steps)?
a researcher, I used the following methods that informed me about
students' learning and also about how they measure their own
improvement on a regular basis.
Besides measuring their own learning, the entire process also
facilitated improving students' attendance in the class, their
participation level, and their willingness to engage in learning even
at home as home-assignments. Furthermore, the class teacher worked
closely and appreciated the worth of knowledge she had learned from
the entire process. And finally this created an impact on the overall
classroom environment that made it extremely positive. What is the
important thing is if the teacher has planned and informed, then s/he
can engage students, parents and community and bring any change that
Besides measuring their own learning, the entire process also facilitated improving students' attendance in the class, their participation level, and their willingness to engage in learning even at home as home-assignments. Furthermore, the class teacher worked closely and appreciated the worth of knowledge she had learned from the entire process. And finally this created an impact on the overall classroom environment that made it extremely positive. What is the important thing is if the teacher has planned and informed, then s/he can engage students, parents and community and bring any change that is desired.
received an invitation to an event, “Charter Schools: The Solution
to Public Education?” Of course it caught my interest, as this is my
area of expertise and passion, and I rushed to put the date and time
in my date book to ensure I would be there. As I scanned the flyer for
this information, I began to feel that it might not be such a
charter-friendly crowd based on the wording of the flyer. I started a
conversation with the flyer, answering the rhetorical questions that
were thrown out to readers in my head, and felt it would be best to
share with readers.
flyer was titled with a question, a question that I could only answer
with four words, “depends which charter school.” Asking if Charter
Schools as a whole are a solution to public education implies that THE
problem of public education is so obvious to all reading this flyer
that there is no need to even state what it is. I have been an
educator for a while, and I have heard about problem after problem but
I have never heard of THE problem that is referred to by the title of
this flyer. I believe that Charter Schools are the solution to
numerous problems in public education, isn’t that good enough? As
far as I know, Charter Schools were not created to solve all problems
in education but to address some specific areas of concern.
flyer contained a list of questions. It seemed that they were written
to spark discussion, but the questions seemed biased, not surprising
since the flyer and event were sponsored by the UFT. They were meant
to be rhetorical, but I feel it is important for an educator, a
charter school supporter, to answer these questions from my
charter-friendly perspective before someone who is not so
charter-friendly chimes in.
Do Charter Schools really represent equitable
parent choice and better education for ALL students?
are Charter Schools that do provide equitable parent choice and better
education for ALL students.
Do Charter Schools actually represent a genuine
movement to re-establish community control, parent choice and
equitable education for ALL students? Or are they part of a larger
movement sweeping the country and turning the public sector of
education over to hands of privately run organizations?
again, the answer to this loaded question would depend on what
Do charter schools provide adequate channels
for the democratic input of staff and parents? What happens when
charter schools deny educators union rights, pensions and beneﬁts?
flyer, in its one page of text, has managed to lead its readers down a
path where they cannot think for themselves but rather are influenced
by the way the question is worded. It asks “what happens when”
instead of “what happens if,” leading readers to believe that
charter schools WILL deny educators union rights, pensions, and
benefits. What about the Charter Schools that do not deny educators of
am so angry at this point in reading the flyer that I cannot continue
to answer these questions directly, as you can see that my stream of
consciousness caught the best of me when answering many of them. I can
only end this by stating that I do believe that Charter Schools are
the answer to many of the problems of education. While they may not be
the answer to THE problem of public education, I challenge anyone to
find that solution.
I recently received a question regarding the end of the year:
Dear Dr. Manute:
I am a High School teacher with 8 years experience. At this time of the year I am extremely frustrated with the lack of attention and focus of my students. They don’t seem to want to do or accomplish anything faintly resembling academics! This behavior leads to classroom management problems and I am afraid I will again send too many students to the office. Help please!
- Susan, Portland, OR
Dr. Manute's response:
Dr. Manute's response:
Welcome to the real world of teaching! Your concerns are probably universal, but not without solution. At the end of the year students try to shut down, I repeat, try. They will respond to whatever focus the teacher demonstrates. Let me elaborate. Students especially, upper grade level students, see summer vacation (sometimes as early as February) and want the school year to end. They attempt to do less work and disrupt the class in covert and overt ways. They try to wear down the teacher and in some cases succeed; thus the problem.
So what to do? First of all, muster all your strength and endurance for the final push of the year. I don’t mean eat a lot of high protein foods and start pumping iron (unless you want to). I am talking about mental strength. Just like your first year of teaching, your focus is: “No one will stop me from teaching in my classroom, everyone will be on task from bell to bell, and every student will learn! This is not just important for a first year teacher, but for all veteran teachers especially at the end of the year. Teachers who give in are in for a miserable end of the year teaching experience, one that will stay with them the entire summer. That is not a way to end the year and certainly doesn’t lend to a positive outlook for the following fall. Remember, as a teaching professional, you control what happens in your classroom - so be assertive and consistent. The more you expect from students the more they will deliver. When I was a working Principal I saw this every year. Those teachers who kept their standards high and pushed the students daily had wonderful springs; those who gave in were absolutely miserable and my office seemed to receive visitors from their rooms daily.
In closing, keep your standards high, push your students, try some creative and interesting teaching techniques and work, work, work. The end of the year will be successful and rewarding for all parties.
Best of luck and good teaching!
Hand-Held Student Response Systems:
An area of E-assessment that has seen extensive growth in recent years is the use of hand held student response devices (often referred to as 'clickers' or voting devices). These allow a teacher to carry out whole group assessments, polls and surveys quickly and easily. They use either radio or infra red to communicate with a central hub that is usually attached to a computer. In many school classrooms these devices may also be used in combination with an Interactive Whiteboard..
In order to create a mechanism for the sharing of high quality assessment items, global standards have emerged. The IMS Question and Test Interoperability specification (QTI) provides a common format for describing and distributing question items across disparate systems.
Various terms are used to describe the use of a computer for assessment purposes. These include:
1. Computer-Assisted Assessment or Computer-Aided Assessment (CAA)
2. Computer-Mediated Assessment (CMA)
3. Computer-Based Assessment (CBA)
4. online assessment.
Although these terms are commonly used interchangeably, they have distinct meanings.
Computer Assisted/Mediated Assessment refers to any application of computers within the assessment process; the role of the computer may be extrinsic or intrinsic. It is, therefore, a synonym for e-assessment which also describes a wide range of computer-related activities. Within this definition the computer often plays no part in the actual assessment of responses but merely facilitates the capture and transfer of responses between candidate and human assessor.
Computer-Based Assessment refers to assessment which is built around the use of a computer; the use of a computer is always intrinsic to this type of assessment. This can relate to assessment of IT practical skills or more commonly the on screen presentation of knowledge tests. The defining factor is that the computer is marking or assessing the responses provided from candidates.
Online assessment refers to assessment activity which requires the use of the internet. In reality few high stakes assessment sessions are actually conducted online in real time but the transfer of data prior to and after the assessment session is conducted via the internet. There are many examples of practice and diagnostic tests being run real time over the internet.
Which larger shape could be made if the two sections are fitted together?
Being an intern is an interesting position to be in. The university
treats you as a student, making you jump through hoops completing
projects and meeting deadlines sometimes seeming totally irrelevant to
the internship. The school district you are working in expects you to be
a professional educator with all the secrets of innovation and new
technologies fresh from the university 'think tank'. Parents think of
you as someone who really doesn't know what they are doing yet and don't
understand why you are practicing on their kids. They are always quick
to point out their perceptions of student teachers when a problem arises
about grades or behavior.
Interested in FREE writing activities you can print out and use immediately in your classroom? Simply click the following link to our writing page: http://www.starteaching.com/writing.htm
It is said that ‘one mind is better but two are best’ because it provides an opportunity for sharing and interaction among people of different socio-economic and educational backgrounds, diversifying learning would enable them to view from different aspects; hence this diversity brings a richness of ideas and thoughts which is indeed crucial in refining the final thought. This notion could be dangerous if the same analogy would be replicate in other context, where a pluralistic approach is not advisable hence seen as a threatening phenomenon to others.
An Educational and
developmental issue that I have identified for my assignment is
‘multiplicity of educational systems in
Being an Educational
Counselor, I have had several opportunities to interact with
students’ from ages 15-20 from various regions of
According to Isani and Virk (2005), ‘the nation is divided because we are running three parallel systems of education’. However, these three systems are:
¨ Public Education System:
State provides a system where education is offered in students’ mother tongue, besides Urdu as a national language, and English as a foreign language taught. In public schools, the teaching of the English Language begins in Grade 6. Minimum school fees are very low as not all people can afford them; hence only those with little money send their children to public schools.
Few entrepreneurs who wish to bring reforms in the education sector have opened their own schools and colleges. These entrepreneurs consist of educationists, political affluent leaders, reformists, activist, and conscience members of civil society and others. These private schools are English Medium schools, where students pay a high amount as a school fee that could range between Rs. 150/=- 4,000/=. It is therefore evident that some private schools are identical to public schools and offer average education whereas there are others who charge heavy fees to maintain the standard and frequently invite parents and other monitoring bodies to evaluate their performances.
With the colossal differences in the above educational systems, one should think about the many kinds of students it breeds. For instance, the Public Education System caters to common masses which produces clerks who serve the Public office and bureaucracy. On the other hand, the Cambridge Education System reaches to rich, established people and thus produces elites who either become entrepreneurs or travel to developed countries for higher education and ultimately do settle there. Students who opt for Private Education systems aspire for the excellence. Despite the indefinite struggle, they do not succeed entirely but keep switching their roles to prove themselves.
Despite the fact that the process of education cultivates manners, behavior, bearing and mind, and prepares for complete living, the multiplicity of educational systems inculcates ranks and levels among students that not only cause harm to students holistically but also damage the nation at large. However, according to Isani and Virk (2005), ‘higher education is recognized as a Capital Investment’.
They further say, “Higher education is viewed as a source of great potential for socio-economic and cultural development of the country and it is our conviction that through quality higher education the nation can be transformed into a developed nation within the lifetime of a single generation.”
Keeping the whole debate in mind, the question arises about the implications on students’ lives in particular and on the country in general. In this regard, few suggestions are as follows that could be implemented gradually:
¨ It is indeed very important to bring reforms in education, which eliminates differences and class system and inculcates self-understanding and analysis, it invites discussion and debates that help student become confident, it allows students to present their point of view and enable them to view the world with their perspective.
¨ To bring synergy among all three parallel systems is possible with the agreement of educationists and the ministry of education as we have many good things to replicate. For this reason, conscious deliberations are required to study all three systems thoroughly and then team would suggest the practicality to replicate most or some of it.
¨ It is imperative that teachers and educators would make an effort to revamp the curriculum, by devising the common benchmarks for each grade. In this way, the colossal difference among students from different systems would minimize. Nevertheless the uniformity is not required but it helps bridge that enormous gap exist among three systems of education.
¨ Another implication of curriculum revamping would lead to practical activities, research activities and presentation of ideas, etc. and relating it with students where s/he extracts the information and interprets as s/he understand and develop the confidence to question idea, text etc, as nothing is sacred so the students will find themselves as life long learners.
¨ Revisiting our examination system will be critical and with summative exams, it is suggested to follow formative assessment that will enable teachers to develop individual relationships with each student and help him/her develop smoothly. Providing constructive feedback can also make learners concentrate in their work efficiently and would improve further.
¨ Training of teachers, faculty and caregivers is essential as well, because they are catalyst to bring any transformation, as it is said ‘Teachers are Leaders’ therefore teachers training regarding instructional pedagogy and awareness about student’s psychology is important for them.
¨ School administrators are responsible to create enabling environment for learning once the conducive learning environment is provided , they initiate new ideas, to make it happen it is indeed required to arrange for the proper infra structure that ensures positive and effective learning.
Above-mentioned steps are a few indications of required change.
Isani U.A.G. and Virk Mohammad L. (2005) Higher
George Paul S., McEWIN C. Kenneth and Jenkins
John M. (2000) The Exemplary High School.
Jenkins John M. (1996) Transforming High Schools: A Constructive Agenda. Technomic Publishing Co. Inc.
Taneja V R. (1990) Educational Thought and Practice. Sterling Publishers Private Ltd.
She had been
shopping with her Mom in Wal-Mart. She must have been 6 years old,
this beautiful red haired, freckle faced image of innocence. It was
pouring outside. The kind of rain that gushes over the top of rain
gutters, so much in a hurry to hit the earth it has no time to flow
down the spout. We all stood there under the awning and just inside
the door of the Wal-Mart. We waited, some patiently, others irritated
because nature messed up their hurried day. I am always mesmerized by
rainfall. I got lost in the sound and sight of the heavens washing
away the dirt and dust of the world. Memories were a welcome reprieve
from the worries of my day.
Her voice was so sweet as it broke the hypnotic trance we were all
caught in, "Mom, let's run through the rain," she said.
"What?" Mom asked. "Let's run through the rain!"
She repeated. "No, honey. We'll wait until it slows down a
bit," Mom replied. This young child waited about another minute
and repeated: "Mom, let's run through the rain." "We'll
get soaked if we do," Mom said. "No, we won't, Mom. That's
not what you said this morning," the young girl said as she
tugged at her Mom's arm.
"This morning? When did I say we could run through the rain
and not get wet?" "Don't you remember? When you were talking
to Daddy about his cancer, you said, 'If God can get us through this,
he can get us through anything!" The entire crowd stopped dead
silent. I swear you couldn't hear anything but the rain. We all stood
silently. No one came or left in the next few minutes.
Mom paused and thought for a moment about what she would say. Now
some would laugh it off and scold her for being silly. Some might even
ignore what was said. But this was a moment of affirmation in a young
child's life. A time when innocent trust
can be nurtured so that it will bloom into faith. "Honey, you are
absolutely right. Let's run through the rain. If GOD let's us get wet,
well maybe we just needed washing," Mom said. Then off they ran.
We all stood watching, smiling and laughing as they darted past the
cars and yes, through the puddles. They held their shopping bags over
their heads just in case. They got soaked. But they were followed by a
few who screamed and laughed like children all the way to their cars.
And yes, I did. I ran. I got wet. I needed washing.
Circumstances or people can take away your material possessions,
they can take away your money, and they can take away your health. But
no one can ever take away your precious memories...So, don't forget to
make time and take the opportunities to make memories everyday. To
everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven.
A friend sent this to me to remind me of life.
Her voice was so sweet as it broke the hypnotic trance we were all caught in, "Mom, let's run through the rain," she said. "What?" Mom asked. "Let's run through the rain!" She repeated. "No, honey. We'll wait until it slows down a bit," Mom replied. This young child waited about another minute and repeated: "Mom, let's run through the rain." "We'll get soaked if we do," Mom said. "No, we won't, Mom. That's not what you said this morning," the young girl said as she tugged at her Mom's arm.
"This morning? When did I say we could run through the rain and not get wet?" "Don't you remember? When you were talking to Daddy about his cancer, you said, 'If God can get us through this, he can get us through anything!" The entire crowd stopped dead silent. I swear you couldn't hear anything but the rain. We all stood silently. No one came or left in the next few minutes.
Mom paused and thought for a moment about what she would say. Now some would laugh it off and scold her for being silly. Some might even ignore what was said. But this was a moment of affirmation in a young child's life. A time when innocent trust can be nurtured so that it will bloom into faith. "Honey, you are absolutely right. Let's run through the rain. If GOD let's us get wet, well maybe we just needed washing," Mom said. Then off they ran. We all stood watching, smiling and laughing as they darted past the cars and yes, through the puddles. They held their shopping bags over their heads just in case. They got soaked. But they were followed by a few who screamed and laughed like children all the way to their cars. And yes, I did. I ran. I got wet. I needed washing.
Circumstances or people can take away your material possessions, they can take away your money, and they can take away your health. But no one can ever take away your precious memories...So, don't forget to make time and take the opportunities to make memories everyday. To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven. A friend sent this to me to remind me of life.
They say it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them, but then an entire life to forget them. Keep in touch with your friends; you never know when you'll need each other.
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