3 Easy Steps To Make Marking Easier In The EFL Classroom
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We all know that as a teacher our work doesn’t end in the classroom – and it doesn’t begin in the classroom either! Before we even step into the classroom we need to spend time lesson planning and finding appropriate resources to make our lessons lively and engaging. After the lesson we then need to spend time doing the relevant paperwork for record-keeping and also tackle the seemingly endless pile of marking – be it writing assignments, homework exercises or tests.
Marking can take up a lot of valuable time, but thankfully there are a few ways to make marking more manageable.
Get the students involved
Marking can be exhausting and incredibly time-consuming and most of us teachers don’t have the luxury of the extra time needed to mark everything from all of our students in all of our classes. (If you imagine you can have 30 students in a class and possibly 20 classes a week, that’s a possible 600 students’ work to mark!) So the first step is to realise that we don’t need to mark everything. Certain things can be marked by the students themselves. Homework exercises and even tests can be exchanged between partners and marked as a class. Even though this can seem like a waste of valuable class time, it can be done quickly and efficiently and it has the added advantage of allowing the teacher the opportunity to address problems that more than one student has at the same time.
Use a correction code
There are numerous correction codes available that you can use to mark your students’ work. Decide which one you are going to use and be consistent with it so your students can become familiar with it. Using a correction code will help you cut your marking time down substantially. Remember that you don’t need to provide corrections for your students’ mistakes, but rather point out where the error is and the nature of the error – your students should be able to do the correction themselves.
Do live marking
Of course, feedback is necessary for certain things and it needs to be done properly in order for it to be effective. Live marking is a technique which can be utilised in the classroom which can provide the students with the feedback they need and save you time. While your students are busy with a task (usually an extended writing task) the teacher speaks to each student individually and gives that student verbal feedback.
Providing feedback in this way is immediate and personalised. The teacher is not tempted to simply provide the correct answer to the student but instead can take some time to talk the student through their work. The student can then correct their piece of writing while they are writing it, rather than submitting a piece of work and receiving delayed feedback, which the teacher can never be sure the student has read anyway. In this way live marking has the benefit of allowing a dialogue between teacher and student and the teacher being able to pinpoint exact problems for each student.
Marking can be overwhelming for teachers and often schools will be insistent on certain marking practices which can feel aimless and frustrating. However, don’t let yourself forget that the majority of your time should be on teaching and not marking. Don’t waste all your energy on marking. Instead, use these three tips to make marking more manageable.
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