Want to keep learning?

This content is taken from the Cambridge Assessment English & Cambridge Assessment International Education's online course, Teaching Your Subject in English. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 11 seconds Since I teach geography and history, I think it’s quite important to get students to make connections with whatever they know about this subject in their lives, because it’s very much about life that they are studying. I mean, geography is not something abstract, something that some scientist made up. It’s very much about life, so I think at the beginning it’s very important to check what connections they can make with their own life and as they are going through the unit, to stop every now and then to see how they are doing with the aims that we have with that particular unit. So, yes, we do evaluate a lot.

Skip to 0 minutes and 44 seconds I might ask them to do self- or peer assessment, the evaluating which I think is also very, very important, and they get better at doing it. It helps their critical-thinking skills. But to begin with, I’d give them a frame. So I might say, OK, your photograph that you took of a portrait, the tone is good, quite good, unclear. So they might just circle something. And then they build in their own critical comment, constructive comment, as the year goes on. So peer and self- assessment, self-evaluation, is part of the learning cycle and, again, all related to learning objectives. So the monitoring, evaluation, I think, comes hand in hand.

Skip to 1 minute and 31 seconds Having a framework is quite good, enabling them, at least initially when you’re beginning to teach in this sort of way, to monitor their learning and what kinds of things they need to be looking at and talking about. I’ve seen this used quite often as well, where you use WWW, not being the world wide web, being What Went Well, and then EBI, Even Better If. And so if you simply put up those two columns, then people can write in those columns. You can get them to come up to the board, or get them to do it on a sheet of paper, perhaps in their groups. That really helps them begin to monitor each other.

Skip to 2 minutes and 0 seconds Also it gives a nice, kind of positive way of looking at things, exactly, praising to begin with what went well. Then saying, OK, develop mentally. What could you do to be better, be it in your subject content, in your language, be it in your behaviour within the group as well? That really helps them think for themselves. And it also actually helps you as a teacher because it makes you realise what they have reflected on. What they know about themselves, helps… you assess how far they’re getting on in the various stages and ideas of learning. That helps you then prepare for the next lesson. So I like to get learners evaluating their learning at the end of the lesson.

Skip to 2 minutes and 33 seconds Mainly, it’s what’s sometimes in the business is called AFL, Assessment For Learning. I need to know how well my objectives for my lesson have been achieved. I can’t assume, simply looking around the room and seeing smiling faces, that everybody has understood and gone along the way as far as I want. It cannot be assumed. There is a tendency to think learners learn what you teach, but that’s manifestly not the case. They learn what they are motivated to learn, and you need to check that they have actually got the principal concepts that will help you to achieve the objectives of the lesson.

Skip to 3 minutes and 14 seconds There’s an idea which I’ve seen a lot of teachers use which is an exit ticket, where you even get students to write down at the end of the lesson what they think they’ve learned. Then there may also be a question they could ask on there, saying, what else would I need to know to further my knowledge or ability or capability in this subject? You can take that in as a teacher. It helps you then to prepare for that next lesson. Critical at the end is also, as Paul mentioned, giving them time to ask a question. I love the idea of an exit ticket.

Skip to 3 minutes and 42 seconds And if you don’t have time for that, just summarising by giving them time to think, review, ask questions, and think about what the next part of the learning might be.

Getting learners to evaluate/reflect on learning

Involving learners in evaluating and reflecting on learning can include: going through the answers to a task, getting learners to think about the strategies they used to complete a task, getting learners to think about what they found difficult or easy about a task and getting learners to think about whether they did something well or less well. You’re going to watch our subject teachers talk about how they get learners talking about what they’ve done.

For example, Let’s go through your answers to the maths questions and think about them carefully.

Watch the video clip and take notes to complete the table below. What do the teachers say they do to get learners to evaluate their learning?

Teacher Things they do

Check your answers in the pdf in the downloads section below.


How do you involve your learners in evaluating/reflecting on subject learning in English? Join the discussion and tell us about how you do this.

Share this video:

This video is from the free online course:

Teaching Your Subject in English

Cambridge Assessment English

Get a taste of this course

Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join: