Assessing in-service training on teaching and learning formulaic sequences


Zinkgräf, Magdalena; Fernández, Gabriela;


This presentation describes an in-service training course offered to EFL teachers in primary and secondary schools on the teaching and learning of formulaic sequences (Wray, 2002) and its evaluation process. Whereas the formative assessment of participants’ intake of the course’s contents pointed to the successful incorporation of concepts and pedagogical proposals, the analysis of participants’ practical assignments (formal sum ative assessment) underlined some difficulties as to the implementation of these contents in the tasks.


In-service training contributes to graduated teachers’ further development in aspects related to their everyday practice. This presentation describes the formative and summative assessment (Brown, 2004) in a free yearly course taught by research team J033 at Comahue University during 2019 for primary- and secondary-school teachers of English. The course aimed to equip participants with theoretical-practical knowledge on how to teach contextualised formulaic sequences (Wray, 2002) (FSs) through authentic songs, legends and myths, and motivate them to engage in a future pilot experience teaching formulaic language in their own EFL settings. Eleven school teachers from Río Negro and Neuquén participated in the two-module course consisting of 70 hours’ work in meetings and online participation through the university’s Moodle platform. As instances of formative assessment (Brown, 2004), group discussions in class and through virtual forums engaged teachers in the discussion of key concepts in the bibliography on FS instruction. Participants also delivered oral presentations of tasks designed for the introduction of FSs.
The formal summative assessment of this course consisted of two real-life tasks involving the implementation of central contents of the course: a) designing classroom activities to teach pre-selected formulaic sequences in their contexts and b) teaching a simulated lesson on FSs as outlined in the corresponding lesson plan. These tasks provided an insight into teachers’ grasp of the underlying principles of FS teaching (Lindstromberg and Boers, 2008) and of their application in EFL classrooms and, by extension, into the extent to which the workshops’ objectives may have been accomplished.
The analysis of the practical assignments submitted pointed to some difficulties participants encountered in complying with the tasks. Summarising the theory to justify decisions on the sequences to teach and relating this to the aims of the tasks designed were frequently found obstacles. Constructive feedback and a process-oriented approach in subsequent resubmissions contributed to a profitable evaluation process.



Universidad Nacional del Comahue. Facultad de Lenguas


Presentado en XLV FAAPI Conference 2021. First Latin American Conference on Language Testing and Assessment. Virtual edition.








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Zinkgräf, Magdalena and Fernández, Gabriela. “Assessing in-service training on teaching and learning formulaic sequences.” Biblioteca Digital de la Facultad de Lenguas. Universidad Nacional del Comahue. Accessed 11 Aug. 2022.


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