Yesterday, I watched a webinar called ‘I don’t know what to say’.
It was on Cambridge English Teaching’s Facebook page (a new discovery for me – I’m subscribed to the Facebook page for students I guess, but hadn’t signed up to this one.)
In the webinar, Tony Clark (Senior Research Manager, Cambridge English) and Niall Curry (Senior ELT Research Manager, Cambridge University Press) shared their thoughts and research on test preparation and the challenges it can have in the classroom where students are preparing to take an exam.
I found a couple of points particularly interesting, and took note of them.
‘State anxiety’ Tony Clark mentioned that how students feel about an exam has a direct influence on their performance. One suggestion was to ask another learner, who’s recently taken the same exam, to talk about their experience. This ‘near-peer’ can really help because they can relate to what the student is going through and can reassure them that you can come out of the experience with a positive result and how preparation for a test or exam can be very useful
Another area I took notes on was how we can get students to engage with feedback. Tony’s research shows that students might perceive feedback as being too long or irrelevant, or that they might not know what to do with it.
Different types of feedback, such as evaluative, descriptive, verbal, symbolic, procedural and cognitive were mentioned.
I typed into the chatbox that I’d like a webinar on these different types of feedback!
And going back to anxiety, I loved the idea of a student preparing to take an exam approaching it like an athlete, using sports psychology.
Visualising themselves running (ie in the exam room, reading the rubric, answering the questions) and crossing the finishing line (or putting down your pen/pencil and leaving the exam room with a smile on your face because you’ve finished and you did it well!)