09 SES 04 C, Exploring the Role of Teachers in Assessment Practices
Feedback is recognized as crucial for student learning (Hattie, 2009; Wiliam, 2011, 2013) and can be defined as information used to modify teaching and learning activities, and to adapt the teachers’ instruction to meet student needs (Black & Wiliam, 1998). Feedback should ideally include comments on the quality of student work as well as suggestions for how students can improve their work. Research has shown the importance of enabling teachers to provide consistent and supportive feedback to their students, and the importance of directing attention at the learning situation in which feedback operates should not be overlooked (Wiliam, 2011). Accurate knowledge of what characterises classroom feedback is however lacking, and in the present study, we investigate oral feedback practices in English as a second language (L2) classrooms in Norway, using video-recorded lessons.
English language teaching (ELT) in Norway is strongly characterised by the development of communicative competence (Canale & Swain, 1980; Chvala & Graedler, 2010; Hymes, 1972). The national English subject curriculum (KD, 2013) focuses on context-specific communication strategies, sociolinguistic competence and cultural awareness, stressing the need to be able to communicate with speakers all over the world. This emphasis on situational and purposeful use of language reflects the high level of proficiency among Norwegian learners of English, who are considered to “lead Europe and the world when it comes to practical competence in English” (Linn & Hadjidemetriou, 2014, p. 258), alongside Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and the Netherlands.
In practice, the proficiency level and curriculum focus on communicative competence leads to teachers and students using English as language of communication in their teaching and learning activities, including classroom talk about subject-specific topics. However, linguistic competence such as grammatical and pronunciation skills are essential to avoid communication breakdown, which calls for research into how such skills are dealt with in teachers’ feedback.
By comparing video observations from 35 recorded English lessons (45-70 minutes each) across seven secondary school classrooms in the 9th grade (14-15-year-old students), the study reported in this paper considers the quality of feedback given orally by teachers to students in whole-class teaching situations. The main aim of the study has been to measure the quality of oral feedback provided by teachers in response to students’ non-standard English grammar and pronunciation during classroom talk. Specifically, we have studied these three research questions:
- To identify how and when students’ oral production deviates from standard grammar and pronunciation
- To measure the quality of the oral feedback provided by teachers in response to student deviations from standard English grammar and pronunciation
- To examine what characterises high and low quality feedback dialogues between teachers and their students in these lessons
Assessment has traditionally focused on the effect of various teaching activities after these are over (Wiliam, 2011), but there is a need to observe and develop teachers’ ability to provide feedback to promote student learning during the learning process (Black & Wiliam, 1998; Hattie & Timperley, 2007; Wiliam, 2011).
Hawe, Dixon, and Watson (2008) state that oral feedback makes huge demands on the teacher’s competence and professional development within language arts education. It is very demanding to provide high quality feedback orally in the classroom, because it has to be spontaneous and yet targeted and aligned with the lesson. This is especially the case for corrective feedback, where teachers have to choose between correcting students immediately when they deviate from standard language – and risk disrupting the flow of communication, or wait until later – and risk decontextualizing their mistakes, resulting in explicit rather than implicit L2 knowledge (Ellis, 2009).
Black, P., & Wiliam, D. (1998). Assessment and classroom learning. Assessment in Education, 5(1), 7-74. Canale, M. & Swain, M. (1980). Theoretical bases of communicative approaches to second language teaching and testing. Applied Linguistics, 1, 1–47. Chvala, L. & Graedler, A. L. (2010). Assessment in English. In S. Dobson & R. Engh (Eds.), Vurdering for læring i alle fag (pp. 75–89). Kristiansand: Høyskoleforlaget. Ellis, R. (2009). Corrective feedback and teacher development. L2 Journal, 1(1), 1–17. Grossman, P. (2015). Protocol for Langauge Arts Teaching Observations (PLATO 5.0).Center to Support Excellence in Teaching (CSET), Stanford University, Palo Alto: Stanford Grossman, P., Loeb, S., Cohen, J., & Wyckoff, J. (2013). Measure for measure: The relationship between measures of instructional practice in middle school English language arts and teachers’ value-added scores. American Journal of Education. 119(3), 445-470. Hattie, J. (2009). Visible Learning; a synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. London: Routledge. Hattie, J., & Timperley, H. (2007). The power of feedback. Review of Educational Research, 77(1), 81-112. Hawe, E., Dixon, H., & Watson, E. (2008). Oral feedback in the context of written language. Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, The, 31(1), 43. Heath, C., Hindmarsh, J., & Luff, P. (2010). Video in qualitative research: analysing social interaction in everyday life. Los Angeles: Sage. Hymes, D. H. (1972). On Communicative Competence. In J. B. Pride & J. Holmes (Eds.), Sociolinguistics. Selected Readings (pp. 269–293). Harmondsworth: Penguin. Linn, A. & Hadjidemetriou, C. (2014). Introduction. In A. Linn & C. Hadjidemetriou (Eds.), English in the language ecology of “high proficiency” European countries [Special issue]. Multilingua, 33(3-4), 257–265. Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research [KD] (2013). National Curriculum for Knowledge Promotion in Primary and Secondary Education and Training. English subject curriculum. Oslo: Author. OECD (2005). P. McKenzie, P. Santiago, P. Sliwka, & H. Hiroyuki. Teachers matter: Attracting, Developing and Retaining Effective Teachers. Paris: OECD. Seidel T., & Shavelson R. J. (2007). Teaching Effectiveness Research in the Past Decade: The Role of Theory and Research Design in Disentangling Meta Analysis Results. Review of Educational Research, 77(4), 454-499. Snell, J. (2011). Interrogating video data: systematic quantitative analysis versus microethnographic analysis. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 14(3), 253-258. Timperley, H. & Alton-Lee, A. (2008). Reframing Teacher Professional learning. Review of Research in Education, 32(1), 328-369. Wiliam, D. (2011). Embedded formative assessment. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree.
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