Certainly, one of the most a-social times for our students is when they are taking tests. Traditionally, they are not permitted to talk to others, exchange ideas, collaborate, help others, laugh out loud, or make a new friend … they must do it all alone! However, in normal, everyday life when we do not know something, we can ask people for help, we can be social, and not feel alone and alienated—a direction that our societies are going more and more (aka “III,” Increasing Isolation and Individualization, the reason the UK now has a Minister for Loneliness). Thus, because tests are so isolating, they are also stressful, alienating, depressing, and basically one of the lowest-ranked learning events in places that advertise themselves as learning institutions!
This article is about classroom talk. The most fascinating aspect of English Language Teaching! We all do it, and we do it in different ways. Some for the good of our students, and, unfortunately, some to the detriment of our students’ learning. But that can be fixed.