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01 April 2013

Good-Old-Fashioned Exercise Check

I found a great article that provides tips for the old fashioned exercise check. I was so excited when I came across it because it's exactly what I do! Nothing like reading some validation of your teaching strategies! This is one of those activities that I find students continually ask for, so it's important to make them time effective.

1. Have the students check their answers together before class.

This saves time because we're only checking the answers they're unsure of or confused about.

2. Go exercise by exercise.

Start with the first and ask what questions there are. Then move on. Homework check can take the whole class period if you let it, so it's essential not to have too much "dead time."

3. Call on all studenets.

I like to go around the room so that everybody gets called on and the students know when it's going to be their turn. There aren't any surprises, which takes away the surprise and minimizes the "I don't know" response.

I have gotten a hard time from students in the past about not going over all of the answers to the homework everyday. They feel uncomfortable when they aren't given the answer from the teacher. My rationale is two-fold: (1) When students check their answers with each other, they are using the target langauge to negotiate and jusitfy their answers, and (2) I am teaching students how to be independent learners. Their academic teachers aren't going to provide all of the answers for all of their homework, so it's not realisitic for them to get all of the answers from their language teachers. It's more important that they work as a group/pair to figure out their problems and then bring those problems to the teacher. It took about 6-7 weeks this semester, but students have finally started feeling comfortable checking answers with each other before they check with me. Victory! 

You can find the Cambridge article by Alice Savage here:

I'd love to hear what you do and any tips that you may have!