关键词：有效教学； 中学英语； 作业设计
This research attempts to modify the ways of designing and assessing English assignment for junior high school students in light of effective teaching theory, as well as English Curriculum Standards of China (2001). In particular, junior high school students are more likely to be stimulated and to develop their English levels by doing assignments that fit their personalities. The author makes an investigation about the current situation of English assignments and assessments in junior high school with two questionnaires for students and teachers respectively. Some typical problems of current English assignments and assessments emerge as the data illustrate, for instance, too much written assignment related to examinations, lack of oral assignment or other types of assignment, and simple ways of assessment, etc.
In an effort to foster students’ ability of applying English in practice and meet the needs of the five curriculum goals, the author designs three types of English assignment based on other researches and students’ characteristics: realistic assignment, recreational assignment and creative assignment. Many examples are presented in each type as well. Subsequently, a series of strategies of assessing these assignments are suggested. Subsequently, a series of strategies of assessing these assignments are suggested.
This thesis, therefore, will be able to provide English teachers in junior high school with various suggestive types of English assignment and corresponding strategies of assessment so that they will be able to improve their teaching levels as well as stimulating students’ enthusiasm of learning English in the future.
Keywords：effective teaching; English in junior school; design of English assignment
1. Introduction 1
1.1 Definitions of effective teaching 1
1.2 Definitions of assignment 2
1.3 Significance of the research 2
2. Design of Junior Middle School English Assignment 4
2.1 Junior middle school English assignment under the new English curriculum criterion 4
2.2 Investigation of current English assignment 4
2.3 Data analyses 5
2.3.1 In the view of students 5
2.3.2 In the view of teachers 7
3. Strategies of Designing English Assignment in Junior Middle School 10
3.1 Strategies of assessing English assignments 10
3.2 Realistic assignment 12
3.3 Recreational assignment 14
3.4 Creative assignment 16
3.5 Summary 17
The junior middle school English assignment is an important step and way to complete English learning task for the senior middle school students. It is some activities in which the students use the knowledge purposely and repeatedly and deepen comprehension under the teacher's instruction. It is one of the basic means to evaluate the learning of English for a junior middle school student. It is also one of the methods of teaching adjustment for English teachers.
The thesis finds some problems in the design of English assignment. For example, too much assignment, the assignment without goals, the assignment in the same level. The assignment is different from the exercise in English book. When the teachers are preparing for teaching, they should design the assignment carefully. According to the effective teaching theory, the thesis studies the design on English assignment. The aim of the thesis is to create a happy environment for students do their assignment. It can excavate students' potency fully; it can amplify the assignment’s effects, including the using of the knowledge, the training of abilities and the form of the quality. It can make students make full use of time. Students will learn how to study and think.
1.1 Definitions of effective teaching
There hasn't been a uniform point of the definition of effective teaching. Generally, there are two categories for defining effective teaching. One is from the perspective of the relation between teaching investment and teaching output，while the other is from the perspective of students learning motivation1.
Some researchers describe effective teaching as a teaching that produces higher-than-predicted gains on standardized tests which emphasizes elements of teaching gains by means of standardized tests as a way to evaluate student learning and teacher’s teaching effect. Some researchers argue that effective teaching should guarantee the interest; self-inspiring motivation and initiative of students, thus the brains of students are busy dealing with teaching materials and leaning tasks until they are satisfied with their learning effect. In their opinions, the following three situations can be regarded as effective teaching 5
(1)Students not only can absorb most expertise introduced by their teachers，but they also can learn some other knowledge:
(2)After teacher’ lectures, students are still working over and discussing the content;
(3)Students are learning not because they are compelled to learn, but because of their own eager expectations of learning.
To sum up, we suppose that the meaning of effective teaching should incorporate students’ requirements for special knowledge and intelligence development，reach teaching objectives and promote effective learning.
1.2 Definitions of assignment
Assignment is the supplement of classroom teaching. It is used to help students consolidate language knowledge and to improve students’ ability of using the language synthetically. It is also an important means for teachers to reconsider their teaching activities. Assignment refers to the learning task of a subject which is assigned by teachers and completed by students independently after class 5. It is also called homework because most students usually complete it at home.
As seen in the definitions above, the word assignment can be used in different fields. However, in the process of English curriculum reform of China, it should be mainly focused on the educational meaning about English teaching, as the researchers in the field of English education have defined above .Therefore, what the author of the thesis expects to study is English assignment for junior middle school students. It is a try to apply knowledge into practice. It is one part of teaching. It is the extension and continuation of classroom teaching. It can be finished by one, in pairs or by groups, either in oral or in written forms. It can be assigned by the teacher or by the whole class. It can be assessed by the teacher, the students themselves or the peers.
1.3 Significance of the research
Assignment is the supplement of classroom teaching. It should be used to help students consolidate language knowledge and to improve students’ ability of using the language synthetically. It is also important for teachers to improve their own teaching. English Curriculum Standards is calling for fostering students’ self-learning habits and practical skills. Their learning process and learning result are also highly appreciated. This research aims to arouse the attention of teachers in junior high school to reconsider the importance of English assignment and to redesign more practical types of assignment for students with different cognitive levels. In addition, teachers should try to assess assignments in different ways so that students can be encouraged and motivated in their future learning.
2. Design of Junior Middle School English Assignment
2.1 Junior middle school English assignment under the new English curriculum criterion
The new English Curriculum Criterion emphasizes that it proceeds from the students' interests of studying, experience of life and cognitive level. It advocates learning methods of experience, practice, participation, cooperation and exchanging and the task-based teaching way. 6
In English Curriculum Standards 2-3, junior high school teachers should take three fundamental concepts into deep consideration while thinking about proper assignments and assessments. These three concepts are: (1) to highlight the learner-centered concept and respect personal differences;(2)to adopt the ways of taking activities, to advocate experience and participation; and(3)to value the process assessment and facilitate students’ development.
In relation to the first concept mentioned above, students have become the center of learning and their personal differences should be respected as much as possible. Although they may have something in common with their fellow students, they still have their own characteristics or individualities in the process of doing assignments.
In the light of the second concept, teachers should think of more creative and practical assignments that can greatly arouse students’ interest, stimulate them to experience and participate in various activities.
English Curriculum Standards 37 emphasizes that assessment is an important part in English curriculum. It should be used to supervise the whole teaching process and result effectively according to the curriculum goals. The system of assessment needs to show the variety of its subjects and forms. It should also pay attention to students’ learning process and product by combining formative assessment with summative assessment.
2.2 Investigation of current English assignment
In China, a "good teacher" is traditionally considered as an authoritative truth-giver who lectures to students, controlling the information students receive and expecting that information to be given back on tests. This is usually called "duck-feeding": like the Peking duck, students are force-fed to make them more knowledgeable. After "being fed" in class, students are usually given such assignments as copying new words and sentences, reciting new texts, and doing relative grammar exercises. They have to keep doing these assignments in order to be capable of "mastering knowledge" and getting high marks in examinations because examinations or tests are still dominant in assessing students' learning. However, these mechanical assignments and current assessments are not helpful enough for students to accomplish the goals of English Curriculum Standards. In this circumstance, it is really necessary to do an investigation before taking measures to redesign various assignments and corresponding assessments.
The investigation aims to find out the problems of current English assignment in junior high school, as well as to get more advice about solving them. The results of the investigation are expected to be helpful for teachers to design more practical assignments which will be able to make students adapt to the development of the society in the future.