Sunday, March 20, 2011

Measuring Objectives

Measuring Objectives

Course goals: In my own experience this has often been led by my boss’s expectations to give the students an opportunity to engage speaking activities in business English and gain confidence doing so. I have relied upon the old and new editions of Market Leader Beginner and Pre-Intermediate to support the twelve weekly learning goals as well as collecting a small sample of international business key vocabulary (about five items for each week) disbursed over the twelve weeks.

Benchmarking: In terms of many of the subjects we have covered in this course I would expect to align the students’ real levels of ability to coincide greatly with A1-B1 range of ALTE skills in a parabola of average learners possibly falling in the upper A2 range. Therefore a beginner level text like Market Leader elementary reviews and reinforces prior learning while a pre-intermediate text is challenging their skills levels. However there are benefits to doing so and it is my belief that the performance abilities of international business students should contain motivational and learning desire which outstrips general English students. One semester I assigned the intermediate level text rather than the pre-intermediate text to confirm for myself whether or not it was actually above their collective abilities (which it was).

Can-do statements: While I am glad to review them I have never used them in terms of reviewing course goals or benchmarking but intend to give them more credence and attention in future. It fascinates me to think that there is the possibility that the can-do statements possess possible overlaps from level to level and that the progressive nature of these statements in assignment to various levels of proficiency might be a learner motivator at the bottom of the pyramid. For example I observe a very select percentage of students who a) graduate and proceed to utilize English on a daily basis for their work or b) further proceed beyond a B1/B2 level of skills and abilities to actual academic studies abroad. For the majority of my students this takes place in the US at one of my employer’s transfer program-partnered institutions such as Murray State University in Kentucky or University of Missouri St Louis/Rolla campuses but increasingly they are branching out to other academic programs such as those at The University of Malaysia. While the spots for these seats are competitive in the last five years their numbers from our department have increased hopefully due in some small part to my own efforts. A new partnership program with my own alma mater UOW may have been assisted by my own recommendation. Therefore I may review them more often in future in revising course goals.

Self-assessment: As we learned in Unit 3 there are measures for students to engage as an audience during student presentations and I hope to implement Cleve Miller’s presentations assessments during my next round of midterm speaking presentations to indirectly assist students in monitoring self-assessment. Furthermore I have done away with emailed homework assignments in favour of group based homework submissions on PBworks website. This should assist students in reflecting upon their own homework in terms of comparability with others as well as orient their reading and writing above and beyond internet websites and the course text to actually process language based on observing and commenting on the work of their peers. While this may not strictly consist of self-assessment it certainly increases and encourages peer assessment and influences self-determination. In concert with peer group speaking activities outside class it gives less teacher-fronted approaches to these assignments which I hope has positive influence on their self-motivation/assessment skills.

Goal setting: By selecting a coursebook which I feel confidently delivers generic BE goals in its lessons design I hope I am delivering materials which support and enhance course goals. By being realistic about students level of benchmarked can-do abilities I am hoping to match their skills levels with relevant and "doable" training goals. By setting more learner-determined goals at outside class peer group speaking activities I am hoping that students develop more internalized approaches to BE learning. Using my google news presentations tasks for middle and final exams I am hoping students are pursuing topics of greater personal interest than course texts and teacher fronted lessons can provide. In revising homework from individual to group submissions I am hoping for intangible collaborative skills already inherent in Korean culture and society to transfer to their BE reading and writing abilities.

Using “I learned” statements: These are a new approach I am hoping to integrate above and beyond lesson exit activities. For example at the end of many business English correspondence classes I do ask learners to answer the question, “What did you learn here today?”

Learning journals: Hopefully integrating PBworks into homework assignments will provoke some journal approach to review of reading and writing by students in the courses I teach with it particularly in preparation for short mid and final written exams. While at lower levels I require a daily diary entry on routine events I do not often request or require a learning journal from second year students. It may perhaps be useful however I must plan carefully to avoid students’ worst complaint of too much homework.

How new media can help in monitoring progress (audio/video folios): At the moment video progress while perhaps desirable is still not within my reach in terms of practical application. However at my current rate of digital or blended learning applications enhancements integration of audio/video folios might be a part of the future of my smallest classes. However at the moment this would be inaccessible.

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