Newsletter No 3

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June 2016

Dear Teachers, Lecturers, Instructors, Educationalists and Examiners,

We are happy to get back to you with the updates on the „FAB – Formative Asssesment Benchmarking for Foreign Language Learning & Teaching” project led by the Foreign Language Teaching Centre at the University of Warsaw. Well, the news is that this spring we have been busy paying each other visits.

In the first place, we were honoured to have Dr Małgorzata Molska as our guest who ran a series of workshops on how to put into practice the methodological tools Formative Assessment offers. This is how we got to know how an ishikawa, pyramid or portrait can all be utilized by a resourceful teacher. For a few weeks afterwards, we had enough time to freely put these techniques to the test, so that we could discuss our experiences and share comments at the next workshop. We even went as far as reflecting on the student and teacher survey results in this context.

April and May were also devoted to peer-observation.

We had been looking forward to this phase of the project with a bit of anxiety. Because we realized that all of us had a different set of techniques, we decided to observe each other within the group of teachers who were involved in the project, so that they could carry out the visits with an informed view on how the visited teacher made use of the Formative Assessment (or Formative Methodology) tools when focusing on speaking skills. We were on the lookout for  good forms of practice, interesting techniques, original and innovative ideas and, in short: any teaching methods worth using and recommending.

In total, we observed 28 lessons at the University of Warsaw. This included 14 lessons observed by a teacher of the same language and the remaining 14 – by teachers of different languages, because we did not shy away from English teachers visiting Russian teachers, or the German ones observing the Spanish classes.

Our observations were written down in the form of observation reports, which you can view here. We recommend using the forms in your own institutions and we hope that the good forms of practice and strengths displayed in the way the classes were run contribute to the preparation of the guide for learners and teachers, which we intend to become the brainchild of the project. We are going to use it to present the innovative and effective techniques that belong to the field of Formative Assessment, such as the above mentioned ishikawa, pyramid, portrait and many other methods.

That is not the end of the visits! In June, the Vytautas Magnus University (Vytauto Didžiojo Universitetas) in Kaunas, Lithuania will host guests from the partner institutions at the next international FAB meeting. It will give us an opportunity to look back at and re-examine what has been done for the project so far, and we will discuss what happens next and get to know each other better too!

Please take a look at our website and Facebook profile. The next newsletter will be available in autumn.

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We wish you formative classes in the future and have a lovely summer holiday with trips that are equally as formative!

The FAB Team – University of Warsaw