Presentation, evaluation, and feedback in EFL classroom AMMA Kazuo Tamagawa University [Slide Show: title] 0. Introduction Research has indicated that peer feedback, combined with presentation activities, is significantly effective (Lindquist, 1991; Johnson, 1997; Xia, 1997). Of particular importance is the immediacy of feedback (Koberl, 1997). This presentation is aimed at reporting (1) a model of EFL/ESP class for non-English major students, (2) how the accelerated feedback is made possible, and (3) the student evaluation of this procedure. Presentation activities have recently been cast light on in EFL classrooms as an innovative means of developing students’ skills in public speaking and hence promoting their motivation in English. The Association of Private Universities for Information Education (Shijo^kyo^) is in process of publicising an advisory report for promoting CALL in the next decade. In this report it is emphasised that attempts to encourage students to express themselves should be introduced as part of the English curriculum in higher education. There is an increasing number of practices of presentation activities in EFL classrooms, as you may witness in various journal articles and conference papers. However, the success of this new enterprise seems limited for two reasons. Firstly, the coherence of the curriculum is almost nonexistent, and virtually any innovative activity is bound to end up with a private affair in the class. Secondly, the teachers are not well aware of the mechanisms and effectiveness of the procedure; not infrequently, class is over, the students have spoken, and the teacher is fed up with self-satisfaction. It is this second aspect that I shall focus on in today’s presentation. The key idea is the immediacy of feedback. Using a classroom LAN and relevant software you can provide an immediate feedback of the audience evaluation at the moment when his/her presentation is over. 1. Procedure Students are 1st year at a private university in Tokyo area, studying life science and environmental science. There are 86 students in total, in 4 classes. They are taught reading, conversation, and CALL, which I am responsible for. The CALL class is taught 45 seconds at a time a week, some 30 weeks a year. The students are told to use English as a sole means of communication throughout the class. They are supposed to bring their laptop computer, Apple’s iBook, which they bought on admission to the university. The classroom is equipped with ethernet jacks under the table for all students. This local area network is controlled by Apple’s Macintosh WorkServer in a distant room. [Slide Show: photo of classroom] The purpose of this class is to promote literacy in basic information technology with the aid of Macintosh’s ingeneous educational capabilities. After groping for possibilities for three years I have come to the conclusion that the best activity by which this objective is achieved is making presentations. This implies a mixture of skills and channels, reception and production, classroom involvement and learner autonomy. Since the total time is limited they are asked to make approximately three presentations a year, starting with self-introduction and ending with a group project on mini research. The presentations are made in English individually or by groups on a topic given by the teacher or chosen by the students. [Video: class] [Slide Show: slide show samples (3)]The presenter uses Claris Works’ slide shows that the student has created. The rest of the students, as audience, can watch the slide shows projected on the screen and made visible by each iBook laptop. The audience’s job is not just to watch the presentation; but they are asked to evaluate it on a HyperCard sheet on the same laptop screen. Each time the marking is complete the evaluation scores are sent to the server and processed automatically after having collected all the data. The result of the evaluation is shown by the graphs which the presenter can obtain from the server. [Show an example graph] At the moment this part of data accumulation is made manually, but in the next session of presentation in October I plan to run an AppleScript which automatise it so that the result can be obtained in less than a minute. [Handout p.2: peer evaluation format] The evaluation sheet contains eight items, each at a four-point scale: 1. Clear voice? 2. Enough eye contact? 3. Agreeable greetings? 4. Understandable or plain enough? 5. Originality? 6. Helpful slide shows? 7. Good preparation and enthusiasm? 8. Interesting? The first three items concern the formal clarity. The second three, items 4 to 6, question the content, and the last two items the overall impression. Additionally, the audience write a free comment on a piece of paper. This will be collected and redistributed to the speaker. Occasionally the teacher makes some comments on a small collection of video recordings as to what particular action is to be evaluated and how to improve it (cf. Katchen, 1995). For example, students are at first hesitant and nervous in front of the audience and cannot make themselves comprehensible. But the video showing of other performers along with my instruction and modelling of what constitutes a clear speech seems to encourage them, if not immediately, and the next performance is always much better than before. [Slide Show: process chart] The mechanism of drawing bar graphs is summarised as follows. 1. Collect information from the audience. This is sent manually by each of the audience students to the server. For each presentation feedback data are posted in a single folder. 2. Make a table of feedback data. An AppleScript helps create a tab separated document with the same number of lines as the number of received feedback documents. Then it sends the data set to a spreadsheet in a ClarisWorks prototype document. 3. Draw the graphs. Once a data set has been received in a spreadsheet it is reflected by the two kinds of bar graphs. 4. Save the file. The new document is saved as a PICT document in the server with the name of the presenter’s ID so that she/he can pick it up with AppleShare at any time. [Demonstration of sample processing] [Slide Show: sample feedback (4)] At the end of the previous semester students were asked to write their open- ended comments. 2. Results and discussion questionnaire format [Handout p.3: questionnaire format] [Handout p.3: result of questionnaire] summary table for the questionnaire Although the emphasis of my questionnaire was on the graphical feedback system, a majority of students wrote about the classroom activity. Overall, however, students are in favour of the class including the graphical feedback. Positive reactions totalled 69, negative 8. Note that due to overlapping of answer categories the total sum of these numbers does not match the number of response sheets. Most of the students find the activity useful for their future improvement in the particular items of evaluation criteria, eg., eye-contact and clear voice. As to the graphical feedback, there were more positive reactions than negative: positive, 28, negative, 8. Students find the feedback graphs useful and interesting. But no mention was made about the immediacy of feedback. An interesting point about their responses is their awareness of the audience observation. Here are some examples: • “It is interesting to see other people react to me this way.” • “I was rated low in the part where I didn’t work hard. The audience were listening more objectively than I thought.” • “I had realised I didn’t have an enough eye-contact. It was made clear from the audience feedback.” Because the peer evaluation is available immediately after the presentation, the procedure is expected to raise their self-awareness as well as peer-awareness, which in turn will contribute to a better presentation at the next opportunity. One important concern about the peer feedback is the deployment of judging criteria. With my practice here all the criterion items except for those of general impression had been iteratively emphasised and applied in the previous practice presentations. In terms of learner autonomy the choice and phrasing of these items might be negotiated between the teacher and students (Harris, 1997; Xia 1997). However, since no previous knowledge and value judgement about these items is provided at the outset, the negotiation, if any, should be carried out at some point before the final evaluation. Giving judgements itself is educational, apart from being a source of the peer feedback. The students will learn by which criteria they are evaluated, and accordingly they behave in order to comply with these criteria. One teacher’s judgement may not be reliable and trustworthy and therefore not taken seriously by the students, but the judgement by the entire audience can be either encouraging or detrimental. The students are quite aware of this reality. As a result, some coward ones tend, unawares, to give neutral judgements in order to avoid the commitment. This would enhance the so-called error of central tendency to choose neutral answers in multiple-point judgements (Oppenheim, 1992: 233). One of the students remarked: “I was quite happy to find the audience were generous in their judgement.” And so he was. There are two means to solve this problem. One is the number of scale points, another is the phrasing of criteria. First, we should use an even-number scale instead of an odd-number one. Considering the cognitive difficulty that multiply as the number of points increase, 4-point scale is a safe magnitude for untrained learners. It will result in a smaller size of error of miscategorisation than when using a 6-point scale. Second, phrasing of criterion points does affect the distrubution of responses. In order to scatter the distrubution, “Almost yes/no” should be included in the extreme categories. The qualitative variety, apart from quantitative, of the information in the feedback that the presenters receive is basically the same as the original format that she fills in as audience. What she receives in the current framework is the numeric information added to each criterion. However, it is our hope and future task to generate some new comments based on the analysis of the collected data (Nagata & Swisher, 1995), so the presenter will receive such comments as “Relax and be confident” or “Practice before you perform.” To sum, if feedback is provided effectively, it has a positive influence on learner motivation (Xia, 1997). From the teacher’s point of view, peer evaluation keeps the audience busy, attentive to the activity, and makes them learn what is demanded of them. Since motivation is almost exclusively the only factor of continuous L2 development (Yoshida, 2000), we should realise the significance of this learner-centred approach and apply it more often in our classes. References Harris, Michael. 1997. “Self-assessment of language learning in formal settings.” ELT Journal, 51(1), 12- 20 Johnson, Orin G. 1997. “Enhancing basic public speaking skills through the use of creative in-class activities that require thorough audience analysis & adaptation as a part of general speech preparation.” Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Southern States Communication Association (Savannah, GA, April 2-6, 1997). Katchen, Johanna E. 1995. “Speaking skills for the sciences.” Paper presented at the Annual International Conference of the Institute of Language in Education (Hong Kong, December 13-15, 1995). Koberl, Rachel. 1997. “Presentable Presentations.” ESP-Spectrum, (Slovakia), 13, 12-17. Lindquist, Judy. 1991. “‘No, Mother, I Don’t Speak Japanese’: learning to teach in an ESL classroom.” Insights into Open Education, 24(4), 9. Nagata, Noriko & M. Virginia Swisher. 1995. “The effect of metalinguistic feedback on second language learning.” Foreign Language Annals, 28(3), 337-347. Oppenheim, A. N. 1992. Questionnaire Design, Interviewing and Attitude Measurement, new ed. London: Pinter. Xia, LiLi. 1997. “Design your own evaluation sheets.” Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Communication Association (83rd, Chicago, IL, November 19-23, 1997). Yoshida Kensaku. 2000. “Korekara no Nihon no Eigo kyo^iku wa do^ kawaru” (Where will the English language teachin in Japan go?). ASTE Newsletter, 43, 1-5.
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