Gladys Garcia –

One thing that I used to hear from my students was that they could not feel their progress. “Am I making progress?” “I can not notice whether I am making progress or not.” I used to get that a lot.

If you are a teacher and you are having problems with that, do not worry. You are not alone. There are some strategies that can be used. If you use tests, marks can help tell them about their progress. However, you can make it even more visual, turning it into graphs or charts. You can compare results and show it to the students. I mean, comparing their individual results with  previous tests, for instance.

Another good strategy I use is keeping track of their mistakes as well as their good use of language, and then, during the lessons or even at the end of them, I give the students some pieces of paper with the good use of language (praising them) and with some mistakes they have to think about. Sometimes I collect more information and I only give them these “reports” once a week. I use the traditional correction techniques, such as correcting them on the spot (if the focus of the activity is on accuracy) and the delayed correction strategy (if the focus of the activity is on fluency), which help too, but I find this strategy of handing in small reports pretty good as it gives them the chance to see their improvement every class/week. I mostly write these pieces of information down while I am monitoring.

A possible version of this idea of collecting information is the jar. You can have a jar on your desk with some expressions the students learn and put in the jar. Encourage them to write a piece of paper with some expressions, or anything else they learned that day and put it in the jar. By the end of the month the jar will be full and you can take some minutes to read through the pieces of paper they wrote. It is a very effective way to keep track of the students’ progress. They could also have an individual jar, and make this process even more autonomous.

Once again, as in my previous post, I emphasize the importance of setting short and long term goals. Let’s start by the lesson itself, all the lessons should have goals and these objectives should be made clear to the students. Write them down on the board or have a slide with them. At the end of the lessons you go back to them and show the students what they have accomplished. Another good practice I have seen in some of my peers’ lessons is when you build the goals at the end of the lesson together with the students, by asking them what they have learned. Tell the students to set goals and break them into smaller goals. Having smaller goals can give them a better sense of achievement as they reach these goals, and therefore, it motivates them to keep on studying hard.

How about you? What other strategies would you recommend?