Teaching Esl Essay Research Paper OPTIONS IN — страница 2
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teacher is no longer the student’s property. It becomes the teacher’s. How can we assess and respond effectively to student writing considering the negative effects of certain traditional beliefs and practices? Objective My paper main objective therefore is to present new directions in assessing and responding to student writing. Wiser & Dorsey (1991) claim that what we are doing now is not much; what we are going to be doing is a lot more. Some of us want assessment to play a role that is totally different from the role it now plays. Others may want to do away with traditional assessment altogether and to explore writing assessment through the use of alternative forms of assessment. Options in Writing Assessment The term assessment, based on the context of my paper, involves the means of obtaining information about students, abilities, knowledge, understanding attainments or attitudes. An assignment in writing, for instance, will be helpful in assessing a student’s ability in and understanding of the assigned activity. Sommer (1989) defines assessment as the process of finding out who the students are, what their abilities are, what they need to know, and how they perceive the learning will affect them. Sommer further distinguishes assessment from evaluation when he says that assessment takes place at the outset of the writing course, whereas evaluation describes ongoing activities that eventually provide closure in the writing course. Assessment places the need of the students at the center of the teacher’s planning. At this point, let me go back to the question raised earlier on – “How do we assess and respond to student writing considering the negative effects of certain traditional beliefs and practices?” My answer is, we have to explore new directions and perspectives along this line. In the light of pedagogical concerns, I should like now to discuss options in writing assessment through alternative and non-traditional forms of assessing classroom-based writing. They are : 1. Portfolio assessment 2. Protocol analysis 3. Learning logs 4. Journal entries 5. Dialogue journals Some of these forms of assessment are familiar to you but they will be discussed in the light of new trends and approaches relevant to the teaching of writing. It will dwell more lengthily an in greater detail than the rest the issues of portfolio assessment. 1. Portfolio – assessment How can portfolios be used as an alternative method of assessment? New ideas in the teaching of English do come along. Some of them become quickly established in practice because they are “so right, so timely, so useful.” The portfolio in writing classes is a case of point. Disenchantment with the traditional modes of assessment has probably contributed to portfolio approach to assessment of writing. What then are portfolios? Applebee and Langer (1992) define portfolios as a cumulative collection of the work students has done. Some of the most popular forms include : a. A traditional “writing folder” in which students keep their work. b. A bound notebook with separate sections kept for work in progress and final drafts c. A loose-leaf notebook in which students keep their drafts and revisions d. A combination folder and big brown envelope where students’ writings – exercises, tests, compositions, drafts, etc. – are kept. (Incidentally, this form of portfolio is my own creation.) e. A notebook divided into two sections : one for drafts and the other for final copies (traditionally called original and rewritten compositions way back in the late 50s’ and the60s’ where I used to be a public school teacher in the Division of City Schools, Manila.) A typical writing portfolio contains the student’s total writing output to represent his/her overall performance, but it may also contain only a selection of works which the student has chosen for the teacher to evaluate. In other words, portfolios show a student’s work from the beginning of the term to the end giving both teacher and student a chance to assess how much the latter’s writing has progressed. Let me give a specific example. In April 1995, I personally handled 15 hours of a 30-hour writing class (a special CELL writing program.) which I team-taught with another teacher. The class was composed of 20 college bound students who wanted to improve their writing skills in preparation for university studies. I exploited portfolio approach, which I found effective despite the fact that the writing class was a non-degree program. Instead of taking their portfolios home, the students kept them in a writing desk which I appropriated in one corner of the room (we had a permanent room for the entire course).
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