Prepare students for an exam? What are you teaching to?

 

Model 1:

exam preparation, teach to the test

Teacher presents the exam tasks to the students. Then they drill tasks one by one. Teacher gives them the correct answers. They do it again and again, until the students have got used to the tasks and are well prepared to pass the exam. Outcome: students learn a set of skills or just tactics to use on the exam day and then forget.

Alternative teacher training seminar: seminar leader has the participating teachers try out the exam task (rationale: to give them a “feel” of what the exam looks like), then provides the answer key and moves on. Outcome: the teachers get the feel, but not much awareness and understanding of what exam preparation they will need to provide to their students.

 

 

Model 2:

exam preparation, teach to learn

Teacher presents the exam tasks to the students. Then they drill a task. Teacher elicits from them the answers, which differ among the class. Teacher leaves students to disagree among each other and justify their choices. Teacher then collects from them their reasons for choosing their answers. Teacher then provides the answer key. Teacher asks students why the wrong answers were wrong, how they approached the task and what their reasoning was, then agrees with them an optimal procedure for the task in question. Outcome: students will learn how to learn, will learn how to manage cognitive resources, how to improve performance and minimize errors – which they can transfer to other exams or to the performance in the subject that they are being tested on.

Alternative teacher training seminar: seminar leader has the participating teachers not just try out the exam task, but discusses it with them: what is being tested here, what was difficult, what might be the pitfalls for the candidates, how to best prepare our students for the task. Rationale: to familiarise teachers with the exam and the difficulties it may pose to their students, so that the teachers are in a position to provide the suitable preparation. Outcome: rationale fulfilled.

 

Now you choose your model!

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