The shock of sudden realization…

I was having an imaginary conversation with my boss the other day (something that happens a bit too frequently, perhaps), and had just finished telling him what a ridiculous concept it was to judge the performance, impact, or value of a teacher by the amount of time they spent at work when I had a huge revelation.

That is precisely how I evaluate some of my students!

Particularly for extensive reading, vocabulary study (using online tools such as the Word Engine), and listening, I tend to look at how much time students spent doing an activity, rather than how effectively they did so. The student that spends twenty minutes intensely focused on the task will fare worse than the one who sits there daydreaming for an hour, even though they probably got much more out of it.

In my defense, the main reason for this is that it is fairly difficult to evaluate how effectively someone has, for instance, read something, but it is also down to laziness on my part. Just as it would be ridiculous for my boss to judge my performance solely by how long I spent sitting in my office, I need to start thinking about how to assess my students in a fairer and more accurate way.

Part of it, I suspect, is going to depend on me giving up on being a teacher (look out for a post on this next week!).

How about you? Do you evaluate students based on their presence rather than their engagement?

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