Friday, June 11, 2010

Gaps in Language Learning

One of the greatest challenges as a language teacher is to help students recognize their true levels and the gaps in their learning. In other words, language programs which provide different levels of skills often require students to "pass" the class to move on to a higher-level class. The potential problem with such a system is that unless students really master the concepts at their current level, then the gaps in their learning will follow them. This problem can also result for the lack of good assessment techniques. In other words, if I award students points for simple participation (not ability), then this score can inflate a students grade and the appearance that they have mastered the language skills being taught.

Students need to realize that gaps in their learning can and do occur and that they must review and study the areas they still haven't mastered to really perfect their skills.

What are your thoughts on this topic?



  1. I think you are absolutely right about gaps. The questions would be:
    How can learners detect such gaps and work on them?
    How can we help learners when we have so little time for personal feedback?
    Patricia, Mexico City

  2. Hello Randall

    You can recommend students take exams like Toefl.Seeing the result,you and your students realize what they should do right now.If the scores are low,they should be faliriar with basic grammar and learn more words,ideoms.These will be good for them.


  3. I think so.any subjects apply to your ideal.Especially,as for language needs review over and over.In addicition,we must accept score or result in front of tests.whatever result of tests,we mustn't miss the reality.


  4. I agree with bu-ti because we need review over and over

  5. Hope this is the right place - I'm particularly concerned to discover the gaps students may have in their listening comprehension skills. For this it would be nice to have a well-designed Diagnostic listening test that covers a wide range of topics accents and levels. Does anyone know if this already exists somewhere even if it is a paying service? It would need to be a test which gives you an assessment in different areas so students would then know where they need to do more work and be able to have a general idea of if they are weak or strong in listening so perhaps related to an existing scale of levels like the European CEFR levels.
    Thanks for your ideas...
    (from an EFL teacher in France, Rupert Salmon -


Thanks for posting a comment. I appreciate your interesting in sharing your ideas.



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