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Assessment of Speaking Skills in Higher Education: A Case Study from Teacher Education Lynell Chvala Faculty of Education and International Studies.

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Presentation on theme: "Assessment of Speaking Skills in Higher Education: A Case Study from Teacher Education Lynell Chvala Faculty of Education and International Studies."— Presentation transcript:

1 Assessment of Speaking Skills in Higher Education: A Case Study from Teacher Education Lynell Chvala Faculty of Education and International Studies

2 SMART Teaching Project: Research and Development in English classrooms in Norway – relevant research and development in relation to current practice in the field and a new teacher education for primary and lower secondary school – to build effective and meaningful partnerships between: teacher educators, teacher education students and practice teachers and schools in relation to the English as an Additional Language (EAL) – focus on basic skills in English Lynell Chvala – Speaking Mona Flognfeldt – Writing Hilde Tørnby – Reading and Numeracy

3 Focus for today: the assessment of speaking skills for teacher education students discourse competence and speaking skills in higher education for Teacher Education students

4 Communicative Approach The goal of language teaching is to enable the learner to communicate The method for teaching is for the learner to experience and practice relevant instances of communication (Celce-Murcia and Olstain, 2005)

5 Theoretical Background Vgotsky and Bakhtin o Language is “hardly ever a totally individual affair” Halliday’s Systemic Functional Theory o a perceived need to communicate something to someone o within both the immediate context of situation as well as the less tangible context of culture which permeates the situation

6 Discourse Approach to L2 teaching “…an instance of spoken…language that has describable internal relationships of form and meaning that relate coherently to an external communicative function or purpose and a given audience/interlocutor.” (Celce-Murcia and Olstain, 2005)

7 Discourse Approach to L2 teaching Furthermore, the external function or purpose can only be determined if one takes into account the context and the participants (i.e., all the relevant situational, social and cultural factors) in which the piece of discourse occurs)” Primary aim of teaching is “to enable learners to become competent and efficient users of a new language” (Celce-Murcia and Olstain, 2005)

8 Sociocultural competence to understand context of culture (top-down) Linguistic competence – building blocks for building the discourse (bottom-up) Discourse Competence Strategic competence - how well learners can apply the knowledge/resources available to them

9 Complex Dynamic Theory of Language Discourse as multiply interconnected language-using activity which is nested: across time – historical and neurological are connected in to the moment of the activity within multiple systems – Inidividual action is connected into all groups that influence them » from partners engaged in the talk or speaking » to the global community » to all sociocultural groups in between The environment or context of discourse is…inseparably part of the complex dynamics, with systems reacting to changes through soft assembly and co-adaptation. (Larsen-Freeman and Cameron,2008)

10 Case Study – Teacher Education 1st year students Oral Exam, December 2010Oral Exam, May 2011 Topic 1 Theme 1 – Becoming an English teacher (L2 theories/methods) Theme 2 – Language system and structure, Part A (grammar, phonetics, vocabulary) Theme 3 – Oral skills as a basic skill + ICT Topic 3 Theme 7 – Language system and structure, Part B (grammar, phonetics, vocabulary) Theme 8 – Text as Process Theme 9 – Writing as a basic skill + ICT

11 Topic 1 – December Exam 2011 TESOL Convention: K-12 Dream Day: Re- Imagining Student Engagement through Best Practices & Programs

12 Topic 1: December Exam Your group has been invited to give a presentation at the 2011 Annual Teaching English to Speakers of Other Language (TESOL) Convention. Your presentation will be a part of the K-12 Dream Day: Re-Imagining Student Engagement through Best Practices & Programs in the Best Practices Strand. (For more information see last year’s program See pdf.pdf ) pdf.pdf The organizing committee for this event has specifically targeted Norway in an effort to include presentations with a more international focus.

13 Topic 1: December Exam Your group will be giving a minute presentation with ONE of the following titles: Improving the effectiveness of vocabulary teaching in lower secondary schools in Norway This presentation will focus on effective vocabulary teaching in the subject of English in Norway. The presentation will examine what it means to know a word in a second or foreign language. The main focus is on exploring effective practice in relation to developing long-term retention of words for English language learners. OR The role of the teacher in developing pupils’ oral skills in Norway – theories and methods, including the use of ICT. This presentation examines the role of the teacher in developing all pupils’ spoken English skills. It explores relevant theories and methods in relation to oral skills, and takes a close look at the use of ICT in this pursuit.

14 Topic 3 – May Exam Imagine that you are team-teaching in 7 th grade together with your partner. Together, you have decided to take a process approach to writing in relation to writing a text about Native Americans. Attached you will find a selection of FOUR texts written by the pupils in your combined classes. You will also find the original assignment description for the writing task that was given to the pupils.

15 Topic 3 – May Exam Thus far, the combined classes have done pre- writing and writing. The attached pupil texts are first drafts. Based on your analysis of the selected pupil texts, you are to: – plan what to do next – and present this to the Head of the English Department or “fagansvarlig” at your school

16 Topic 3 – May Exam Make sure to consider: your pupils’ development of written skills in English your pupils’ understanding of language and genre relevant LK06 aims the use of assessment to create an effective learning environment You will have a maximum of 15 minutes to present your plan. You should be prepared for a discussion of ca. 5 minutes based on questions from your teacher and/or the examiner. Grades will be given individually.

17 Questionaire (May 30/31) December exam and May exam 1.To what degree do you think the oral exam task reflected a relevant situation for you as a future teacher of English? 2.To what degree do you think the oral exam reflected a fair assessment of your speaking skills? 3.To what degree did the pictures in the exam task description help you to understand the context or situation for the oral exam? May exam only Did you prepare a Power Point presentation for this (May) oral exam? If yes, can you give a short explanation of why: Did your group use a Power Point presentation for this oral exam? If yes, can you give a short explanation of why: Finally, would you be willing to be interviewed about your experiences with the oral exams this year? If yes, please give your name:

18 To what degree do you think the exam task reflected a relevant situation for you as a future teacher of English?

19 Comments December exam (TESOL conference): Not really relevant situation but relevant in terms of curriculum. No, not really for teaching for my part. Depends on what you choose to work with when working as an English teacher. With the growing focus on education teachers with a higher competence level in their subjects, I think the TESOL Conference was very relevant! Unlikely that this is a real situation that we will often meet.

20 Comments May exam (meeting with the Head of Department): It’s hard to disregard the fact that it’s an exam Great task! Thanks for listening in advance. In relation to meeting with the «fagansvarlig» to present our plan for our classes it was good. Perhaps a bit difficult to combine this with the exam setting, but definitely okay. Unsure about the role of the head of department.

21 To what degree do you think the exam task reflected a fair assessment of your speaking skills?

22 Comments: December exam (TESOL conference): I was not aware my language was too informal before this. They did not really talk much about our pronunciation last time (in December). May exam (meeting with the Head of Department): If you are going to assess someone, it’s important to actually LISTEN to the persons you assess!!

23 To what degree did the pictures in the exam task description help you to understand the context or situation for the oral exam?

24 Comments December exam (TESOL conference): Don’t remember. Suitable pictures for the given setting! Checked out the conference online to get a better idea as to what the conference was really about.

25 Comments May exam (meeting with the Head of Department): Don’t remember. What pictures? Haven’t really thought about it. Did not notice the pictures until now ;-) I learned a lot from this task. I must admit that I haven’t really looked at pictures until now. Now that I have I can see how they could have helped ;-)

26 May Exam: Did your group prepare a.ppt?

27 Comments – «presentation» May exam (meeting with the Head of Department): (translated) The task used the word «presentation» and therefore, we chose a Power Point since it is usual to use this and we did it last time. Because that is the most common way of giving a presentation

28 Comments «h istorical trajectory» May exam (meeting with the Head of Department): Because we did it last time. As we did this on our exam this winter, we thought we could do it for this one too. We believed that an oral exam called for it. Because the teachers repeatedly referred to the exam before Christmas, which contained ppt presentation and because it wasn’t specified enough that we were not supposed to use it.

29 Comments «historical trajectory» May exam (meeting with the Head of Department): (translated) It is normal for us to do it this way. It’s a habit probably. Habit – but to use it as keywords instead of using a script Old habit I think it is mostly out of habit. Using Powerpoint has been a natural part of so many presentations from upper secondary school and up. I did however wonder about the use of PowerPoint in relation this task, due to the setting. We assumed that since it was an oral exam, we would use a powerpoint as a tool. Actually, we planned a PP. It is because we are used to it. Simple as that. We assumed that we could do that since we hadn’t been told otherwise, and we find it useful, I guess it just felt natural to make one.

30 Comments «context» May exam (meeting with the Head of Department): Because we found it appropriate to use concerning the given situation.

31 References Bakhtin, M.M The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays. Holquist, Michael (ed.) Austin, Texas: University of Texas Press. Bhatia, V Worlds of Written Discourse: A Genre-Based View. New York: Continuum. Butt, D., R. Fahey, S. Spinks and C. Yallop Using Functional Grammar: An Explorer’s Guide. Sydney: Macquarie University, NCELTR (National Centre for English Language Teaching and Research). Bygate, M., Skehan, P. and Swain, M Researching Pedagogic Tasks: Second Language Learning, Teaching and Testing. London: Person Education Limited. Celce-Murcia, M. and Olshtain, E “Discourse Analysis and Language Teaching” in The Handbook of Discourse Analysis Schiffrin, D., Tannen, D. and Hamilton, H. (eds.). Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, Ltd. Celce-Murcia, M. and Olshtain, E “Discourse-Based Approaches: A New Framework for Second Language Teaching and Learning” in Handbook of Research in Second Language Teaching and Learning New York: Routledge. Penne, S. and Hertzberg, F Muntlige tekster i klasserommet (Oral Texts in the Classroom). Oslo: Universitetsforlaget. Larsen-Freeman, D. and Cameron, L Complex Systems and Applied Linguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Savignon, Sandra ”Communicative Language Teaching: Strategies and Goals” in Handbook of Research in Second Language Teaching and Learning. New York: Routledge

32 Reflections Issue of presentation/discussion – Meaning of presentation – How described in the assessment criteria Consideration of context Use of contextual clues

33 Next step… Individual interview with students Interview/information from external examiners


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