Giving Students a Choice

Giving students choice and a variety of assignments is useful in helping them to shine in different areas.  But as a teacher, it is also useful to pinpoint student weaknesses, so that those areas can be improved.  While teaching in Guatemala, my students were not what I would consider traditional ESL students, because they had been attending a bilingual school since PreK.  Their English skills were significantly above those of a new learner.  Still, they had weaknesses in certain areas.  Areas that varied from student to student.  Giving students assignments that were varied in type and length allowed me to pinpoint these strengths and weaknesses, and better prepare to fill the gaps in their learning.  Because my class was not only intended for teaching students Geography, but also to improve their English skills (as it was one of a number of courses given 100% in English), it was helpful to give students assignments that tested their reading comprehension, essay writing, and critical thinking skills.  Could they articulate main ideas?  Could they understand articles in English that addressed deeper issues within the content area?  Were they able to illustrate these concepts?  Could they write full essays that were well constructed and argued?  Each assignment type allowed me to see a fuller picture of each student’s abilities and weaknesses and better guided my professional practice.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s