Box-ticking or mind-mapping?

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April 18, 2014 by Willy Cardoso

Thinking Change

This is a joint post between Willy Cardoso and Divya Madhavan on questions about ELT professionalism.


We worry about the current box-ticking culture in ELT teacher training and development. We think this impacts how professional knowledge is valued and how it should be valued. And we’re really not sure this is a good thing. In the words of Gert Biesta “are we valuing what we measure? or measuring what we value?”

What is box-ticking culture? It…

-focuses on visible behaviour as the main form of evidence of professional knowledge

-assumes that a change in behaviour means change in cognition

-focuses on teachers’ techniques, classroom management and control, repertoire of activities, rationales for activities, etc; all of which should match externally constructed knowledge and their translation into assessment criteria (i.e. boxes to tick)

So, boxes are ticked based on demonstrable classroom behaviours. The artistry of teaching inevitably falls into the ‘additional comments’…

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