Assessing EFL students in China

Teacher.Cameron

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Background

I'm teaching English in China currently teaching grades 7th,9th,10th, and 11th. Classroom sizes range from 50-61 students in a classroom, classes meet once a week for 40 minutes.


Question:

To my knowledge, there is no official standard for English learning in China and my classes focus on Oral English. With so many students in the classroom at one time, how do I go about giving assessments and monitoring progress for each student?
 

Tdol

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With classes that big meeting so little, progress is not likely to be massive, so monitoring improvements won't be that detailed. If logistics permit it, breaking the classes into smaller groups to work simultaneously would be more efficient in terms of production.
 

Teacher.Cameron

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With classes that big meeting so little, progress is not likely to be massive so that monitoring improvements won't be that detailed. If logistics permit it, breaking the classes into smaller groups to work simultaneously would be more efficient regarding production.


I completely agree with you the smaller groups working simultaneously would be the more efficient way to run the class. However I have the problem of students not finding value in the class, to begin with, they're not interested in working in groups or with each other. Since my classes are not graded, they prefer to do the work of a different course and expect my class to be movies and games. My workplace tells me that I should let those students do their other job and just work with the ones who are willing to pay attention, but with such a large class size and those individuals so spread out and far in between it is not something that works well.

When I taught at the university level where the max class sizes were around 40 students, I implemented PBL into the classroom, and it worked out tremendously.
 

Teacher.Cameron

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Are you obliged to give assessments? If not, don't even think about it. Given that you can, in ideal circumstances, devote less than one minute a week to each student as an individual, then you cannot realistically know anything significant about any but the outstandingly good and the outstandingly weak students.

If you are obliged to monitor progress and give assessments, be as positive as you can, even if you don't recall which student you are writing about. Whatever you write, be prepared for parents to ask you "Is my son/daughter the best in the class?" The safest answer is "Yes", preferably not in the hearing of the parents of other students - to whom you are going to say exactly the same thing.

I am sorry if this seems cynical/unhelpful, but this is what I learnt when I taught in China fifteen years ago. Things may have changed since then, but I doubt it.


I completely understand where you are coming from, thankfully I don't have to speak to parents and no I'm not obliged to monitor progress. I would simply like to know if there was a way to do so in such conditions.
 

Tdol

Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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Telling you to let them do other things in class just makes it sound worse to me. However, is there any discreet way of moving them so you can group the ones who want to learn together nearer you?
 
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Teacher.Cameron

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Telling you to let them do other things in class just makes it sound worse to me. However, is there any discreet way of moving them so you can group the ones who want to learn together nearer you?


Unfortunately no, they have assigned seating and there is a local teacher in the classroom during my time in the class.
 

emsr2d2

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Is the local teacher no help?
 

Tdol

Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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I have obviously had a sheltered background as I have never taught a class this big, much less one with assigned seating.
 
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