We second or foreign language teachers must help our students reach communicative competences. In that target language. We don’t confine our work to teaching language facts but we target our students’ communicative skills. We target our energies toward our students would get those abilities to communicate with other people.
So we do not just assess and test and evaluate our students’ concepts about that target language. Thus our exams and tests will be predominately practical, although we might also wish to assess their language knowledge.
If we assess our students’ communication skills we should plan and prepare tests that should have similar, very similar, activities as the ones we have carried out along lessons: our students shouldn’t find activities they have never done, as it happened to me at the beginning of my career as a teacher: I then expected the students could abstract their knowledge to carry out activities they had never done, because I thought they would be able to solve those exercises: I had recently finished my college degree and I was used to doing college exams, which exacted an demanded abstract operations.
I’m referring to the very first exam I carried out, close to twenty-five years ago. Even my best students failed at that test.
As I was saying at the beginning of this article we teachers have to help, show, teach, and train our students to gain the capability of talking with another person out of the school in English – if that’s the target language, as it is my case. Can our students communicate, orally or by writing, with a person out of the school, with any person out of the school? And that’s our target. And not other: we teach using and employing a language.
And we have to accomplish that goal by creating immersion in that target tongue, but this can be explained on another post, and I’ve written about it: you can click on the “immersion” label, on the right column of this blog. / Photo from: woman-talking-to-friends Mother's Circle. On the picture you can see people naturally communicating with one another.