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    Humanism in ESL language testing Essay

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    Although there turn to be some studies converge in whether all students could benefit from the soft background music while performing the task (Smith&Morris,1976,1977), but just as Zeidner(1998) observed in his experiment and research, most researchers agree that, the background music is necessary while students are preparing for their task: ” The students in the rooms where music was played as a background seemed more relaxed, less tense and nervous, than did those in the rooms characterized by silence”.

    Therefore, to create a user-friendly testing environment, we might as well use the soft and soothing music to make the anxiety-evoking test more humanistic. 2. 2. 3 in the stages of pretest and post-test 1) Offering supportive assurance Current research evidence (Lina & Fanling,2000; Pouwers,1986) suggest that being exposed to a supportive test environment should decrease evaluative stress and examinee anxiety. Thus, an examinee’s anxiety should significantly decrease when the examiner conveys a warm and supportive attitude and shows respect and high regard for those being tested.

    Furthermore, Sarason (1972) found that prior to the test and after the test, when students are provided with a supportive and assuring support from examiners, they will more readily observe and model useful cognitive strategies displayed by the examiner. Thus, in some high-anxiety-evoking test situations like oral test or listing test, the examiners should try to offer some support to the examinees to make the test more humanistic. For example, an encourageous smile or warm greetings or some implicit words like ” I believe you could make it”, prior to the test, would work well in alleviating the testees’ negative feelings towards tests.

    2) Happy-memory provoking Research evidence supports the claim that the students hold a negative attitude toward the test because they suffer from the memory of the past failures in the tests. Some test-anxious students are unable to retrieve the negative memory that before the test or in the test they will now and then remind themselves of the frustrated feeling they experienced when they attended that failing test. And unconsciously or consciously they would confirm themselves that they won’t do better than what they did in the present test.

    Therefore, when the students are faced with an important test or when they just finish with an unsuccessful test, the teachers could try some ways to provoke their happy or successful memories, so as to help students avoid the potential danger of the next test. Various forms of happy memory provoking could be tried including asking the students hold a discussion about their most proud experiences or asking them to write something about their experience alike.

    Some researchers find that the students would feel easier to build up their confidence when they deal with the items that are similar to the ones they had succeeded in the prior tests. Therefore, it is presumable suggested that the teachers could give the students some previously used items for a warming up quiz before the formal test as so to help the testees rebuild their confidence. 3. Summary This paper explores about the humanistic adaptation in test construction, operation and administration.

    The modification of the learning condition and teaching instruction could enhance the learners’ learning and acquisition; the modification of the assessment condition and stages in the humanistic way could reduce the debilitating emotions, increase the esthetic enjoyment and enhance the test performance. Since testing is an unavoidable teaching instrument, the education practitioners should contribute in a reasonable range to reject what makes people feel bad, or what destroys or forbids esthetic enjoyment and to make our testing a humanistic process for the users.

    However, the so-called humanized techniques in language testing may be optimal for a certain group while not so optimal for another group. As there are some students whose success may partly depend on the presence of some threatening emotions such as anxiety or distress, the teachers have to keep in mind about what type of students consists of the class under his control. Secondly, as formal test and test procedures are likely for us for some time to come, students’ need to learn how to cope effectively with the conventional aspects of test and test formats, including the time pressure etc.

    Reference Moskowitz, G. 1978. Caring and Sharing in the Foreign Language Class: A Sourcebook on Humanistic Techniques. Rowley, Mass. : Newbury House. Stemick (1990) Humanism in language teaching: a critical perspective: Oxford University Press 1990 Medgyes, P. 1986. ‘Queries from a communicative teacher. ‘ English Language Teaching Journal 40/2. Richards, J. and T. Rodgers. (eds. ) 1986. Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching: A Description and Analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Terrell, T. 1982. ‘The Natural Approach to language teaching: an update.

    ‘ Modern Language Journal 66/2. Li Na, 2001, postgraduate thesis paper Lina & Fanling,2000; unpublished paper Pouwers,(1986) Test anxiety and the GRE general test. Report No. 86-45. Princeton, NJ:Eductional Testing Service. Pennebaker, J. W. (1995). Emotion, disclosure, and health. Washington, DC: APA. Zeidner, (1998) Test Anxiety: The state of the art, Plenum Press at New York and London Sarason , I. G. (1972) Experimental approaches to test anxiety: Attention and the uses of information. In C. D. Spielberger (Ed), Anxiety: Current trends in theory and research (Vol,2). New York: Academic Press

    Hill&Wigfield, (1984) Test anxiety:A major educational problem and what can be done about it. Elementary School Journal,85. Smith&Morris, (1976) Effects of stimulative and sedative music on cognitive and emotional components of anxiety. Psychological Reports,38. Smith&Morris, (1977) Differential effects of stimulative and sedative music on anxiety, concentration, and performance. Psychological Reports, 19. 1 Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Teaching section.

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