Manitoba's Adult EAL Learning Network
Teacher Exchange Network

Dear EAL Professionals,

Spring is finally here.  This is a busy time for most of us: writing reports, reflecting on what has been done and planning for future. Teacher Exchange Network wishes you a painless and timely completion of all your reports and a deserved relaxing spring break!

Past Events
March 3, 2012: OATMEAL12 with Valeria Palladino. Thank you all who participated in our webinar. It was a great, hands-on session with the techno guru from the Norquest College. If you missed this event, you can still watch the recording of the session and post your comments on our website.

With the ALT Brach conference in mind, this Newsletter is dedicated to alternative assessment, namely Self- assessment.

Self- assessment has been given much attention in recent years highlighting an increasing importance of fostering language learner autonomy/developing autonomous language learners. Learners’ involvement in assessments and needs analysis boosts their language learning, increases motivation and self-confidence.  They learn to set goals, monitor and reflect on their own learning and collaborate with others. Moreover, if self-assessment is used effectively, it could even decrease teachers’ workload.
Most educators agree that the best way to implement self-assessment in your classroom is by taking small steps and introducing one or two techniques at a time. The following tools and techniques have been successfully used by many EAL/ESL practitioners:

  1. Needs assessment a stepping stone  to  developing  individual learning plans and  effective self-assessment
  2. SMART goals to help learners plan their learning
  3. Personal Language Learning Environments (PLLE)/Personal Learning Networks (PLN) to raise learner awareness of learning opportunities outside the classroom
  4. “Can do” checklists, progress cards, rubrics and rating scales as self-assessment tools
  5. Pair or group work to introduce peer assessment
  6. individual work (individual projects; home assignments; online or paper self-assessment language activities) to ensure every learner involvement
  7. Portfolios to develop learners ability to reflect on their learning
  8. Learning Journal  to help students monitor their learning progress by reflecting on their learning experience, needs and achieved goals on a daily/weekly basis
  9. Video and audio files to promote self-assessment of learner’s language skills.

It is essential to prepare learners for the use of self-assessment techniques. Teaching them how to apply those strategies might take time. But look at it as a great time investment into your learners’ future. Start small but think big!
And as the spring break approaches, here are some ideas for your learners to practice self-evaluation:

  1. Ask your students to complete a particular activity or assignment.
    Some suggestions:
  2. Encourage your students to reflect on their self-directed learning experience and evaluate their outcomes whether by writing a journal entry or creating video/audio file for sharing it with the classmates after the spring break.

    For more ideas and links visit T.E.N.


March forward!
See you on TEN!

Further readings:

Self-Assessment, an Oxymoron?
This Power Point presentation was prepared by Iwona Gniadek and Stephanie Stetefeld (English Online) for the ALT branch conference 2012. The presenters explored different types of self-assessment and its benefits for EAL learners.


Practitioner Toolkit: Working with Adult English Language Learners
Great materials for EAL/ESL instructors. Include first day orientation guide, lesson plans, research papers on English language and literacy learning.


Time Effective Approach to Assessing ELL/ESL Students
This article describes practical assessment ideas to use in ESL classroom.


Supporting Chinese learners of English to implement self-assessment in L2 writing
This paper describes the techniques used to support ESL learners in assessing their own writing, as well as challenges that teachers and learners face during the self-assessment process and possible solutions to them.

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