Are you an ESL/EFL teacher in a situation where no one is evaluating your teaching techniques? Or are your scared what your boss might say when evaluation time arrives?
You cannot depend on student performance or student evaluations as measurement tools as many factors other than your teaching go into class outcomes and foreign students might not understand evaluating. Though you probably are fantastic, know for sure by following this auto-evaluation technique!
6 Steps to Self-Evaluate Your Teaching Performance
Prepare a Class
You want to evaluate yourself on a day when you are:
- Actively engaging your students in an activity for at least a third of the class, and
- Lecturing for at least a third of the class.
Set up a camera or your webcam in the back or side of the classroom, or enlist a volunteer to tape you. Make sure you can see both your face and the students’ faces.
Check Your Engagement
This should be a third of your evaluation points; make it 10 out of 30.
- Watch the video and count how many minutes you look at the class and make eye contact. How many of them are looking at you? Subtract a point for each student that is not paying attention.
- Also note how quickly you respond to confused faces or raised hands. Do you respond all of the time? Subtract a point each time you miss something.
- Are your students taking notes when you discuss important details? Subtract a point for each distracted student.
Check for Learning?
This is the second third of your evaluation. Are you appropriately checking for learning after you discuss each learning objective? If your lesson is past tense, for example, do you pause, practice, and ask for examples of verbs to be used in sentences by each student? It is critical in EFL learning to always check for learning and practice extensively. You might forget sometimes; be honest! Subtract a point each time you do not check for learning after you discuss a point during your lecture. Asking “do you understand” is not enough; make them demonstrate learning. You should have made each student turn a verb into the past tense after explaining the “ed” ending. If they could not do so easily, you needed to explain better and check again!
This is the final third of your points. You should try to always plan an experiential activity to 1) check for learning a second time, 2) reinforce learning and prior concepts, and 3) bring forward any clarification points. How appropriately though are you matching activities to your learning objectives?
- 3 points: The activity covers all of that day’s lecture/learning objectives and integrates prior concepts. You need to constantly build in EFL learning – add the new to the old to reinforce and synthesize.
- 4 points: All students have equal or near equal participation time and use more than one sense (hearing and speaking, reading and listening, etc.) to complete the activity. Are some students texting on their cell phones? Are some speaking a lot more than others?
- 3 points: You take adequate time to debrief after the exercise to answer questions and clarify any points that were apparently confusing. Again, asking “everyone understands?” is not enough. You should have picked out the points that were more challenging during the activity and made students practice them again. For the past tense lesson, if they were confusing “sat” with “said”, you should have made them all write a sentence with both on the board before they could leave for the day! Take off points if you did not adequately reinforce all of the difficult topics noted while watching the activity on the video.
Be Honest and Plan to Be Better
You probably did not score a 30, and this was a planned performance! Hence, you have areas in which you can improve to be a more effective teacher. Note those areas and plan to practice improvement measures and re-evaluate in six months. Ask yourself for all three categories, especially for the one in which you scored the lowest, how you might be able to improve and set at least one goal. If you scored a 7 in engagement because you were not noting when students had confused faces, set a goal: “I will pause more and watch the individuals in my class after each learning objective is discussed.”
You might think you are great, but it is always better to know you are great!
If you are not regularly evaluated, or, if you are and want to self-improve before your boss comes to class, try this simple tool to self-evaluate your teaching effectiveness in the EFL classroom.