My weeks are settling into a pattern. Monday to Friday are intense, with classes, testing-related activities and the inevitable administrative chores. Weekends are peaceful and dedicated to reading for assignments, and skyping friends and family.
My learning curve, in all senses, is perpendicular. I am taking three classes on testing and assessment and the amount of reading assigned is huge. I remember Yeats’s comment that education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire. I enjoy the reading but wonder if I will remember who said what. My advantage on this course is that I have I have got the 10,000 hours of practical teaching and testing that constitute expertise under my belt and can make links between theory and practice. The presentation with Heidi on Tuesday prompted a good discussion. We analysed two articles written by Carroll in 1961 and 1968, and found that most of the testing theory and principles today (communicative competence. integrative testing, the importance of reducing variables affecting performance) can be traced back to what he wrote, in less sophisticated language, 40 years ago. The other strand of my learning curve is technological. In the US everyone is taught to touch type at school and as a hunter and pecker, I need to build up speed in keyboard skills. Another co-requisite for research in this field is a knowledge of statistics, both handling the programmes and interpreting the figures.This is actually more interesting than it sounds, but takes time to become familiar with. But I will get there, hopefully sooner rather than later.
My major achievement this week is overcoming my fear of travelling underground and taking the subway down to the Financial district and back. It is as if the other new things I am doing in my new life have made that particular phobia recede. Or as Carly Simon sang ” I haven’t got time for the pain” . This is definitely a positive outcome.