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Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Some thorny issues around DA?

As before somewhere else, after the presentation at BALEAP PIM, there were questions regarding the difference between DA and formative assessment, and DA and what a good EAP teacher does in his/ her classroom. I do agree that DA is a form of formative assessment as it is strongly linked with learning and development of a learner. The main point of DA is that it has a strong learning theory (i.e., sociocultural theory) underpinning it and sees assessment as a part of learning rather than it being separate.
On the other hand, it was difficult to convince people how it was different from those EAP tutors who do do certain things that are promoted in DA. Yet, my own view is that the EAp tutors do not follow a particular theory of learning per se; rather they use their discretion as to how to scaffold the learner. Often such support is ad hoc or provided in a 'hit or miss' fashion. To me, in order for DA to happen, there should be INTENTIONALITY from the part of the tutor and the learner, RECIPROCITY (learner responding to the tutor), TRANSCENDENCE (transfer of skills and knowledge to a more challenging task) and MEDIATION of MEANING (conveying the meaning to the learner in a learning-friendly environment that promotes better relationship with the learner through emotional support (affect) and positive outcomes). I do not think these are considered in a general EAP teaching session all the time.

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