Students find that the tasks where they are able to review and go through without consequence are more effective to learning even if they need to learn and recall particular language elements to do well in the assessment.
Assessment has an impact on learning which can be positive or negative. A good assessment practice should be positively evaluated by students, and should positively influence their learning. It must be consistent with the entire school assessment framework.
1. Difficulties in Modern Foreign Language teaching
Before arriving at AfL in MFL, the teacher has to manage several sources of difficulties. The first is to maintain classroom behavior, the second is to motivate students with effective use of a variety of methods, and materials. Of course, students’ motivation can be distinguished. The least self-determined form of motivation is the external motivation, which comes from external rewards or threats. Some students assent as norms to follow the lessons in order not to feel remorseful. Some students engage in an activity because they see its usefulness. Furthermore, the indispensable part of the learning process is to establish a good relationship with learners. If the teacher shows enthusiasm towards students’ learning, probably students will meet his/her expectations. According to Dörnyei’s study,1 the more enthusiast teacher is, the more enthusiast learners become. Dörnyei established ten commandments for motivating language learners: 1. Set a personal example for your own behavior, 2. Create a pleasant, relaxed atmosphere in the classroom, 3. Present the task properly, 4. Develop a good relationship with the learners, 5. Increase the learners’ linguistic self-confidence, 6. Make the language classes interesting, 7. Promote learners’ autonomy, 8.Personalize the learning process, 9. Increase the learners’ goals, 10. Familiarize learners with the target language culture.2
As a PGCE MFL trainee in the UK, I have often heard that e.g. French is not popular with students, they find it less useful than English. They have told me that it’s a crap, rubbish; I don’t like it, it is pointless, I hate French, I don’t see the point, c’est ennuyeux. A lot of students think that there is no point in studying French unless the student wants to go and live there.
I think, in an ordinary class, certain students do not really know or accept that they are involved in learning process. The MFL teacher must identify target features in order to improve students’ performance and s(he) must create activities to pursuit the learning process. Students are more interested in the learning process if they feel important and they can take part actively in classroom activities. Involving students in the assessment practice can help them become independent learners.
In addition, primary school teachers often consider that assessment may destroy the enjoyable atmosphere in the classroom. However, AfL should be a advance in learning and should play a key role to form the quality and persistent MFL knowledge. Pedagogically, it is
1 (Dornyei, 2001)
2 (Dörnyei and Csizér, 1998)