This is a report that documents my procedures and findings when testing my grammar prototype. This prototype seeks to address my problem of practice, “My students are not retaining and using proper grammar.” To see the rationale for this prototype design, please visit this previous blog post.
Users: Since I currently cannot test my protocol with my students, I will run a mock-lesson with several of my friends on Zoom.
What I am testing: I am testing the usability of the materials/routi, and how easily the concept was acquired by the end of the lesson.
My protocol: I will push out the lesson to a focus group via Google Docs and have them work during the live Zoom instruction I am giving. During the lesson, I will mostly be observing to see how well the “students” use the material and go through the lessons. At the end, I will conduct a short interview about what worked, what didn’t, what they wished they had, etc.
Planning and preparation: I filled out my prototype lesson sheet with an intermediate-level grammar concept and created an associated PowerPoint presentation that will be used to guide each portion of the practice sheet. I then sent a copy of these materials out to my participants as well as an invitation to a Zoom conference. Once all participants are in Zoom, I will give brief instructions on the purpose of this activity and inform them all that the session would be recorded.
What happened: Everything went according to plan! It took a little bit longer than usual since this was their first time seeing a lesson like this, and I went through a week’s worth of grammar warm-ups in one sitting.
My Findings: I was surprised during our Q&A session that several people were voicing similar concerns I had heard from my students when I interviewed them. The only difference was that since my friends are adults, they were able to articulate their concerns in a much more precise and succinct manner. When my students simply told me “I want a worksheet,” they were probably trying to communicate something more nuanced such as “It’s going too slow at first. We want to see the worksheet earlier in the week so we see the bigger context and where our learning is headed.”
We were then able to bounce ideas back and forth of how I could possibly change the order and combine some of the exercises to make it a bit more rigorous and thought-provoking for the students. I now have a rough outline of how I can change the weekly grammar procedure and plan to pitch my new prototype to the same testing group. One of my test members even wants to use the finished product in her classroom next year!
Overall, testing my prototype was a great experience, and I’m actually glad I got to do it with a group of adults who can brainstorm and troubleshoot with me.