My perspective on how learning should take place is skewed. On one end, I love the passion that erupts and overflows when you have student-centered classrooms. On the other end, I see how much drilling encourages and molds students to become better at certain (almost) rigidly ruled areas of English; namely, grammar – which ofcourse helps them with their writing structure. And so, I am at war.
I am at war with myself.
I am torn.
Do I give my students a writing exercise that mimics exam papers every week? Or do I allow for creative writing and give them writing they will most likely enjoy?
Do I hand out reading comprehension passages with questions in examination format or do I open book clubs to discuss books we enjoy?
Do I drill them on grammar structures through multiple choice questions (MCQs) and grammar cloze exercises? Or do I let them learn these free range as they write stories they want to write?
Even as I write the above, my mind nudges me a bit and interrupts and asks: why can’t they have both?
I am inspired.
I suppose I must ask these questions instead:
How can I make these writing exercises exciting? How do they learn to take that examination whilst having fun doing so?
How can I incorporate examination format into book clubs discussions without taking away the fun from sharing books we love?
What is wrong with having spot checks on grammar and vocabulary using MCQ? And what app can I use to make this fun for students who are into technology?
Basically, I need to answer the big question: How do I make sure my students are up to testing standards without sacrificing their unique learning journeys?
I am revitalised.
This will be one of my considerations every single time I create lessons for my students this year. This is yet another resolution. I am determined to help my students in all ways I can.
Here is a bit more (serious and more factual) reading about testing and teaching by the GreatSchools staff:
(If you have any suggestions on how to make this a better experience for my learners, please do share them in your comments. I’d love to explore this direction.)