This post is about students using vocabulary booklets in the Spanish classroom. The purpose of these booklets is to create a resource of vocabulary and useful phrases which are easily accessible, and which can be added on to at any time or place. The book is completely personalised, which allows for differentiation and individual student needs.
The Language Department at OC agreed to supply these booklets to each student after I had done a practice run in Semester 2 in 2015. The booklets are cheap and very portable as they are small. Most students have them permanently in their backpack or pencil case, ready for use at any time.
Here is the link to the questionnaire and online results:
Analysis of data and implications for the classroom:
I decided to ask the students for their opinion about using Education Perfect as a learning tool in their Year 9 Spanish course. Below are the following:
- A link to the questionnaire and the results
- My analysis of the results
- My reflection
The questionnaire and results (you must be logged into your OC account)
2. Analysis of questionnaire about using Education Perfect in year 9 Semester 2 class.
Q1. Students have a variety of points gained during the whole semester ranging from 180 to 1557. Some students who started well last term, did less work this term as it got more difficult. This was clearly shown on the EP summary data emails provided for me by EP after each deadline. There is a separate blog post about Education Perfect and the tasks I set for this class.
Q2. Seems to average out at about an hour a week. I give them half an hour in class every Wednesday (independent learning lesson).
Q3. 8 out of 22 students would rather use another app or website. This is just over a third. I believe the reason for this is that the EP homework has been more difficult this term, and has challenged some students beyond what they are prepared to do. However, two thirds are still happy to use EP, which I consider a good sign.
Q4. A total of 15 students gave EP 3 or higher, showing they like – love it! This corresponds with Q3 answers and accounts for the class dynamic during the independent learning lesson which was a pleasant, calm, workable environment.
Q5. 7 students thought they had too much homework. The rest were happy with the amount. Students knew from the start that they would get an Independent Learning class once a week, and also would have to complete coursework as well as working on EP. This arrangement clearly suited the other 15 students as they did complete most of their coursework in class, most of the time.
Q6. All students know more or less what the educational purpose of EP is and I noticed some students could explain this effectively and succinctly eg “to learn not only at school but at home so you can increase your knowledge ….” and “to learn how to understand Spanish when it is being spoken or has been written”.
Q7. There is a variety of answers here, however most students agree that EP has helped their learning in some way. Only two students wrote “nothing”. Other wrote answers such as “I am able to learn the words I should use very easily….” and “I would have got a not achieved for my assessment if I did not use EP”.
Q8. It is interesting to see that the majority of students believe that someone else should pay for EP, either the school or the government. A few agreed that they should pay as they are the ones using it.
Q9. The answers here correspond with the answers I got from the students themselves during talks in class. They liked to revise words they knew already, and also work on easy and short lists, but they did not like long lists or difficult phrases or sentences.
Q10. 9 students considered EP fun and or educational which is quite positive since they were also complaining about the long lists and the increasing difficultly of the vocabulary they had to learn.
3. Reflection and Implications for next year
- Giving students more time in class to start on their EP homework this semester has proved a positive adjustment. It has meant they have less homework and therefore see the amount of homework they get, on average, manageable. I will continue this next year.
- Most students like using EP and see a point to it and a positive outcome if they do their homework regularly on EP. These answers were pleasing to read and showed that students have clear opinions about their own learning, and how and what they learn. This is very interesting considering we are starting to incorporate learner agency into our classroom. I will have to think about how to motivate the students who are less keen, and are not so prepared to work independently outside the classroom.
- On the other blog post about the Priority Learners, I listed in detail each task and what I did as related classroom tasks. I am wondering if I did enough scaffolding of the vocabulary for coursework. I will examine the programme in this respect.
- Clearly as the homework on EP got more difficult, students were more and more challenged and some found it difficult to keep up. I got some valuable feedback here about the tasks in term 4 such as the animal parts, and the school subjects. I had created wordlists myself on EP, and saw these tasks should take about an hour, but I had not reckoned with a completely new area of language. I will go back into these tasks and shorten them. I will also make more, shorter tasks and give the students a choice of tasks to do. If they feel they have a choice, they may feel more motivated to keep working on EP. I should also make sure they are regularly revising the words they know already, in order to give them a feeling of success each week.
- The priority learners eg Jade, Simon and Trae all scored low points on EP, despite my encouragement and active help in the class. Feedback I have been given by other teachers has been that I should make sure I spend my time evenly among my learners, and I have realized that I should also spend time with the excellence students and students who are quiet, yet achieving, to check what their next steps are. To me this is interesting, because I do tend to give priority learners and those struggling with either the material, or self-management, more attention during lesson time. I have taken this advice on board.
- A side note is that from the beginning I told the students they would get certificates on completing 500, 1000, 1500 points (and so on). This motivated them in the first few weeks to get started and find out what EP was all about. So we had a good start here, the same as the previous class in semester 1. The difference was that I kept up the homework tasks all semester, and did not give them a choice of tasks – although they could do extra work if they wanted to. And I also consistently gave them class time to start their EP homework every week.
- Finally: this class was a small (22) group and there were few classroom management issues. This made it easy for me to concentrate on the coursework itself, and the students’ learning. I gave myself extra time this semester to more actively incorporate EP into the course and kept it up. This class was the 4th year 9 class I had ever taught Spanish to, and I felt the experiences of teaching the other 3 had brought me to this point that I could use my knowledge and experience to work on this department TAI in a more active way.
Note 1: 3 students completed this survey on paper and these results have also been included in the analysis.
Note 2: 1 student had to be taken off EP for non payment. Nevertheless he still filled in the survey sheet.
Note 3: The Language Department TAI in 2016 is to examine the acquisition of vocabulary, and how this is taught/learnt, in my case, in a year 9 classroom.
Acting Teacher in Charge of Level 1 English in 2015.
I was asked to take charge in 2015 because Thalia Henry was on a year’s leave. I was very happy to be given this responsibility as I felt I knew the programme well, the teachers well, and was ready to upscale my general leadership qualities at Orewa College.
I was responsible for the following:
- Timely organisation and distribution of materials for each internal assessment for the L1 English programme.
- Updating materials and resources when and if necessary. For instance I continued to ‘ako-ise’ my Level 1 resources and shared these with other L1 English teachers, and they shared their work as well.
- Contact with the relevant teachers about the materials, deadlines, organisation of moderation evenings and post meeting organisation of the student results. For instance, picking 8 pieces of student work to be moderated before each meeting, and ensuring these marks were available and discussed at the meeting, before we marked the other students’ work.
- Leading each moderation meeting.
- Checking that all relevant administration was available on the English Department Google Drive, in the correct folder as instructed by Meryl Howell (Head of Department).
- At the end of the year, double checking that all moderated work was available, all students’ work was correct, and the links to their work were correct.
I admit there were a few moments where I was not sure what to do, so I checked with Meryl to make sure I was doing the right thing, at the right time. We contacted each other mainly by email.
I was happy with my contribution to the English Department, and asked to be considered for TIC in 2016. After discussions with Thalia as well, it was agreed that Thalia and I would share the role in 2016.
We have drawn up a list of responsibilities for 2016 and I will be posting this list, and a reflection again, at a later date in 2016.