On last week’s coaching call Beatriz wrote in to ask:
Final tests ! How to do them with songs and games ??
Great question, thank you for writing it up Beatriz!
OK, this is going to be long, it’s probably worth a read, but you can skip to the end part if you like!
First of all, the best teaching system of all has no tests. 🙂
Why, well make sure you read up on all the negative aspects of testing.
As a teacher we should know what levels the kids are at throughout the course and work during the term time to make sure every kid gets up to the level we want them to be at. If there are problems, in an ideal Genki world, we should fix them as they come up.
If any of them do “fail” any tests at the end then obviously it demotivates them (in most cases) and for us it really means we have a hole (or holes) in our teaching system.
And of course on the other side a “test” where everyone passes, even if they don’t have the skill, is equally useless
Having said all that…..
Testing can be a useful too in certain circumstances.
For example for recruiters or for entry to a higher level class or, like we do with interventions, to make sure the teaching system is working and finding where to improve it.
Traditionally we’ve had to be academically rigorous when measuring the kids so we’ve gone for more traditional (and labour intensive) testing.
Here’s an example we used, it’s a little old but it should give you some ideas:
(And for phonics we did the Burt Reading test)
These tests stand up to academic scrutiny and are great for making sure your program is really working for you.
They are really labour intensive though (every child has to be interviewed individually by an impartial examiner) and aren’t used to evaluate the students themselves but the teaching system (teacher, materials, training, resources etc.)
And now for your question….
If you want to do test with songs, then I would suggest getting the kids to make videos of them singing the songs.
The challenge here is that it’s going to be very subjective marking, and will have issues with motivation and morale! So really doing this works best as part of regular homework where the act of doing it is what causes the improvement in the students rather than being used for evaluation.
Or for games you can try things like the video on this page.
The key though is to test frequently throughout the year (this is one reason why the Genki Warm Ups are so powerful as you pick up problems straight away and can fix them straight away) and then just graduate the kids at the end, knowing they have all reached their goals.
And that way you don’t need any final tests at all!
Does that help?