Posts Tagged ‘Exam Format Pack 2013’

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Writing Tests

June 8, 2013

In Writing Tests, like the ones that are given at Spanish EOI’s (standardized in Europe — A2, B1 and B2 CEFR certificates), you are required to respect the TOPIC you are given and the KIND of text (e.g. a letter or email, an article, etc.) and the WORD LIMIT (non-complying pieces cannot be checked by examiners). About the three points you need to mention, whenever required to do so, if you don’t mention one, for instance, that lowers your mark, but examiners can proceed to check your work. In any case, ALWAYS mention the three points, even if you don’t know how to develop one properly.

All EFL textbooks from Britain have wonderful explanations and exercises on how to write each kind of text, and with Useful Language for formal and semiformal letters, for instance. So browse through your textbooks, just to consolidate a few ideas about what you are expected to write for each kind.

Here are some of the notes I give my students, especially at the Upper Intermediate (B2) and Advanced levels (C1). http://www.talkingpeople.net/tp/skills/writing.htm

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Speaking Tests (B2): Brainstorming on Topics and Language Functions

June 8, 2013

When you have to speak about a topic, it is generally expected you fulfill certain communicative aims and you perform certain language functions, too. Have a look at this and see what I mean: http://www.talkingpeople.net/tp/skills/speaking/brainstormingexample.htm

You will find more ideas for working on your Speaking here: http://www.talkingpeople.net/tp/skills/speaking.htm

But remember: listening to English is key. When you listen to English, you learn to speak, you consequently learn “grammar”, and you get used to understanding people, while developing comprehension strategies unconsciously too! http://www.talkingpeople.net/tp/skills/listening.htm

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Protect your intelligence & your learning: don’t buy exams!

April 30, 2013

Do them, there’s no way out. Survive them, you can! But don’t give them credit! Don’t let them tell you anything about how much you know or you can.

In my view, exams, the kind we’ve always had to bear, are useless in terms of informing about people’s knowledge or skills because they’re not about that – they’re about selecting people. That is why they’re so badly every-thing.

The thing is, we could easily develop ways of assesing our learning if we could simply trash exams as anachronic methods of evaluation.

This is why we should not buy exams, believe in them, I mean, give them credit. If we pass them, sure, we can celebrate. But we should also know this: they do not preserve anything, nor prove anything. We should be aware of what it is we’ve learned, what it is we know, what skills we’ve developed, how much passion or enjoyment or interest in fitting learning into our daily lives we’ve developed… all throughout the learning year. You should have assessed this before taking your exams.

A learning year is a journey of exploration and should never leave us untouched.

Exams represent a drop in that sea.

Except in the sense that they become huge obstacles and constraints in the learning year.

When we fail, exams should not make us doubt what we know.

If we pass, we’ve certainly overcome a troublesome obstacle – that’s all.

We should never allow exams to ruin our relationship with knowledge, with learning, and when you don’t develop the right attitude towards exams, it’s that you’re doing just that – ruining your (potencial) love for knowledge and learning.

Intelligent ideas are less popular on the planet, but they build kinder, more knowledgable and enjoyable worlds!

Which side are you on, then?

Get down to using your English like mad! Because of all it gives you! Train, learn, use your intelligence and your body in learning all you can.

Trash the Exam Slave Mind.

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About May 9 – for Avanzado 2

April 30, 2013

Last week I found out in class that trade unions are calling for a strike on May 9. For the past 15 years I’ve supported them all, but the other day in class, because we had scheduled taking a C1 Practice Test on that day and it’s my last strike in Madrid, I thought I might just forget about it.

But I can’t. It’s my last chance to formally protest, and I should stick to that! I wish I could take it differently. I did try. But I can’t.

🙂

Tomorrow I’ll tell the people coming to class. The good news: I’ve found a way for Avanzado 2 Martes students to take the test on that day anyway! Can you guess?!

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Timed Scanning Reading Activity – London Digs & Transport

April 29, 2013

At EOI Certificate Exams there is a 10-15 minute scanning activity similar to this one, but just with 6 questions. You should read the instructions and the questions carefully, but then just kind of skip to find the answers to the questions.

I designed it really fast, so if you find mistakes or if you have any feedback, please feel free to post or send me an email (with “feedback” on the subject line). I’m very much interested in knowing how long it took you, so time yourself!

Reading Test Practice – Timed Scanning (4 pages) – Lodging and Transport in London

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About EOI & Cambridge language exams in Madrid (Autonomous Community)

April 27, 2013

The EOI Intermedio exam is equivalent to the Cambridge PET exam. They’re both testing a B1 (CEFR) level exam. Scenario in June: If you failed your exams at EOI after having followed the school learning year and after having used a B2 level textbook, the problem is obviously the EOI exam, so you might want to try taking the equivalent Cambridge exam if you NEED the certificate. Some people in class have taken it recently and passed it! 🙂
The EOI Avanzado exam is equivalent to the Cambridge FCE exam. They’re both testing a B2 (CEFR) level. Scenario in June: If you failed your exams at EOI after having followed the school learning year and after having used a C1!! level textbook, the problem is obviously the EOI exam, so you might want to try taking the equivalent Cambridge exam if you NEED the certificate. I mean, don’t quit!

Why am I saying this? Because since 2009 EOI legislation and rules are upsetting all the system, presumably because the political intention is to close down EOI schools, to profit private language teaching schools. Certificate Exams have been targeted, of course: the four tests used to be evaluated individually and you had to get a 60% of correct answers to pass each. If you did pass the four, you got your certificate. If you failed one, or two… you could take the test of that part again in September. Considering the complete tests in June last two days, this was a relief, and fair. Nowadays failing one part in June involves having to take the four parts again in September. However, the new regulations impose, against all informed criteria, a very negative thing: The percentage of correct answers you need to have in each individual part is the same, a 60%, not less (not a 30 or 40%, which would be understandable, to make sure the person had a mininum skill in each of the 4 skills), which means examinees are subject to a DOUBLE evaluation system which no educational body ever requires or imposes. Let me illustrate with a typical case: Say you have a total of 78/100, a 78%. Well, if you have a 14/25 in one of the four parts, instead of a 15/25 (the 60%), which is the pass mark, you will fail even if your total is between 60 and 99/100!! Consequently, you’ll have to take the complete exam in September!!! Does that 1 point out of 100 mean the person has not achieved the tested level? No way. We could even consider a 10 point margin. Some schools do not publish the marks people get in their Written Part (Reading, Listening, Writing Tests) just in case they can avoid these cases: the case where the person has one 14/25 or two, or one 13/25, and could get a good mark in the Speaking Test, provided, of course the total is above the 60%. Because flunking people in this case would pose an ethical problem, and in terms of respecting the law, this measure can be defended, for very obviously they wouldn’t be giving a certificate to someone who does not deserve it.

The question is, How can a student feel when after learning he or she can’t pass an exam which is even under his or her actual level considering Intermedio 2, Avanzado 2 students use higher level textbooks because a B2 can be achieved in 4 years and 6 is far too many? Why don’t the authorities improve this situation? It’d be enough to ask for a min. 30% in each one of the four parts and a 60% in the four together. Well, informed analyses point to the fact that free adult language education in Spain is bound to extinction. Spain is the only EC country offering this amazing service, so for the past 10 years, politicians have been meddling with the law to prepare things for future privatization. A clear event hinting as this is that EOI language teachers are not called EOI language teachers anymore in recent legislation, but just “language teachers”. The idea is that when EOI close, if the authorities manage it, they’ll transfer these civil servants in secondary schools.

EOI = Escuela Oficial de Idiomas, State-run Adult Language Education in Spain

CAMBRIDGE EXAMINATION CENTRES IN COMUNIDAD DE MADRID

*ECUS Educational Development
*International House Madrid
British Council Madrid
Cambridge Schools Centre Madrid
Centro de Idiomas Universidad Carlos III  sólo estudiantes
Centro Superior de Idiomas Modernos Universidad Complutense sólo estudiantes
CESMA Business School

2013 DATES for EXAMS given by the BRITISH COUNCIL in MADRID: For PET (B1), for FCE (B2), for CAE (C1). Remember other places above also give them, and that you can also take online exams.

NOTICE that TAKING those EXAMS COSTS between 200-300 euros, approx., and that nowadays, what used to be free language course at EOIs cost 300 euros.

REMEMBER SOMETHING IMPORTANT FOR ANY TEST TAKEN ANYWHERE: You cannot bring your phone or any other electronic devices to your desk in the exam. Your centre will tell you where to put them during the exam.

At the end of each paper (e.g. the Writing paper, the Reading paper, etc.), the invigilator will tell you to stop writing. You must stop immediately.

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Assessment Templates for Avanzado 2

April 17, 2013

Dear students (Javier’s and Michelle’s), here is a copy of the Assessment Templates that examiners use when evaluating the Avanzado 2 Writing and Speaking Tests. (Intermedio 2 Templates are very similar.) A minimum of two teachers fill in/out their own Template, and then they have to agree on the final mark. When they do so, they fill in/out the Exam Results Booklet. This Booklet is the only document you have the right to see on the day of “Revisión” if you have failed — not the individual Assessment Templates by each teacher. But here is a copy of those because you should know what they look like, what it is we consider to give you a mark.

These templates should be published on the Educamadrid EOI site, but so far they haven’t done so… Let’s hope they do so soon!!

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Dictations: improving in gap-filling activities

February 19, 2013

If you wish to improve in gap-filling listening comprehension exercises you could follow my advice:

  • Choose a podcast episode you enjoyed, or any other audio recording you like. Make sure you have the transcript, so that you can check your dictation later on.
  • Play it once, just listening to it. Then start pressing pause after each chunk of language that makes sense as a chunk of language! (like I do in class — well, I think I just did this once, with the Avanzado 2 groups.) It’s hard to be good at this at the beginning (that is why it is also good you listen once or twice to the complete piece), but you improve at knowing when to pause with practice.
  • If you can’t get the complete chunk down, leave a blank and continue! Just go on, leave blanks. You will fill them up in subsequent listenings. Once you’ve filled in/out your own gaps, play the complete piece again, to check you got everything down. And then play it again to check punctuation and spelling.
  • Finally, check your work with the transcript — use a red pen for mistakes. (And keep a record of your work, so you notice how, in a couple of months, you’ll have improved! including in reducing your fear of this activity!)

love-bubbles-vectorThis exercise will make you better at this kinds of listenings, but it will also make you a better speller!! But there’s much more!!!: it will help you learn vocabulary and most importantly, ways to say things, so remember to use this exercise also to collect Useful Language for your conversations! (you can also Listen & Repeat those bits). AND… it will make sure you listen to different kinds of audios, because you will be looking for one for your dictation! which means it will help you develop the habit of listening to English every day!!

Here is a link to a slightly different activity: dictations online. The teacher says “period/full stop,” “comma,” all that! It’s great and it’s sorted out by levels! But I still recommend you use news, interviews, “authentic” texts, I mean, not only texts designed as dictations. So plan your learning week! You could do one of these, and one with authentic news and interviews (from podcasts or textbook audios every week!

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Whoa! What a day today!

February 19, 2013

Life is a rollercoaster! 😀 One minute you’re sad and blue, the next you’re rising, like a wave, and having an orgasm in class! 😀

Today students remembered to bring their paper copies! 😀 So all my work preparing for Exam Format Practice Month seemed to be useful in some way! 😛 And the people who forgot were really sorry, I could feel it across the room! Anyway, results were also great. This means, this final test practice has hopefully shown you that it is possible to pass the Certificate tests, that , and also, most importantly, that if you learn to speak English, passing your finals will be but a logical consequence! So now let’s see how the other two groups do tomorrow! 🙂

I NEED EVERYBODY’S RESULTS OF THE READING AND LISTENING TESTS, OK? Please, if you’re following my course and you didn’t do this when the rest did, do them at home and come to me so I can jot them down. I need those results for two reasons: 1. as your teacher I collect information about group levels and individual levels, and this makes it easier for me to assist you all, 2. the February statistics the School issues (for all teachers): I have to type in the total number of people who passed, of those who failed and of those who did not take the exam. For me, it would feel really bad to have been working for two weeks with you all in class to train in Exam Format and then to have “No Presentadxs” corresponding to people who actually follow this course.

Now for the Speaking Test, English peacelings! Come on!!! And please, remember: practice SPEAKING (saying your mon. once and again till you can “improvise” it), DON’T WRITE THEM DOWN, that’d be READING! Nothing good for learning to speak! And as you speak, practice/practise listening to yourself, so you are quick to fix the mistakes you may make!

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What happened today, Monday?

February 18, 2013

In spite of the fact that I explained our plans in the Exam Format Pack and in the February agenda, today, in both Intermedio and Avanzado groups, far too many people had not printed the Sample Exam from the Educamadrid site. So it was kind of frustrating for the people who had, and certainly for myself. Please, read the Bulletin Board, read the whiteboard, or read the blog. Why am I doing all this work if it’s as if I hadn’t done it?

If you can’t find the information, PLEASE LOOK ON YOUR RIGHT here: THERE ARE TWO PAGES: INTERMEDIO 2, AND AVANZADO 2, with links to everything.

Constructively, patiently, we decided to move to next Wednesday the plan we had for today.

Again, please, print the Sample exam, do the timed Reading Test at home, check it, and work out your mistakes. Then come to class with all your paper copies. I’ll jot down your Reading Test results, and your questions about this, we’ll do the Listening (we agreed on a time, so that people usually coming late can also make it to this test). And then we’ll move on to questions and/or speaking practice.

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Weeks 3 & 4 February: moving on in Exam Format Practice Month

February 18, 2013

The agenda of weeks 1, 2 and 3 that is on the Bulletin Board in class is also here.

The new items are that today and tomorrow I’m explaining how we will proceed with the Speaking and Writing tests on the Educamadrid site.

Week 3 – Update

AT THE END OF THIS WEEK, you should have consolidated a knowledge of the kinds of Reading & Listening tasks (and Writing tasks, for the groups getting feedback in class about Politeness et al.) and you should have reduced your fears, developed your confidence in terms of Exam Format. Hopefully, you will have been using the underlining technique, notetaking including skeleton of meaning, some phonemic transcription, skimming and scanning, proofreading your work…

SPEAKING

Get your copies of the sample tasks on the Educamadrid site. You will have time in class to prepare them with your classmates: practice/practise speaking about those topics freely, brainstorm on language, and then practice timed speaking at home. Meanwhile I’ll be calling out people’s names to come to Exam Area. YOU SHOULD NOT WRITE DOWN YOUR MONOLOGUES OR DIALOGUES. You should practice SPEAKING on the same topic over and over again, till you feel confident, using your detailed outline and your jottings from brainstorming on language.

Then, after you have done it again in Exam Area, when I call your name (I’ll use your list numbers), you can record your sample monologues, so that you can listen to them again throughout the rest of this course.

So now you have two areas of Speaking activities to work on in class and at home: the ones based on units 1-5, so that you use the language learned/learnt from using your textbook audios and other exercises; and the timed tasks covering all of the sample cards you have (work on one a week, for instance).

WRITING

Once I’ve given you back your Practice Writing (Intermedio 2’s), work on your List of Mistakes, and start working on Task 1 of the Sample Writing test on Educamadrid. You should be handing it in in the second week in March. Once you get it back, work on your LoM and then do Task 2.

As unit 5 depends on your work at home, remember that you can also hand in your Writing corresponding to unit 5, but only once you have learned to do that kind of writing from your textbook. Considering dates, both Task 2 of the Sample Writing Test and Writing 5 will probably have their deadline just after the spring holidays, perhaps just before them! We’ll see.

Week 4 – Finishing Exam Format Practice Month

We’ll continue doing orals in class, I’ll comment on people’s mistakes, so we can learn to put grammar into use. And we’ll pay special attention to pronunciation, too.

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NI2M – Example 8 – Making suggestions

February 13, 2013

B1 Writing Task: 150 words sending suggestions to language teacher, mentioning three points: more speaking activities, some individual feedback, congratulating on a previous activity. Based on Student 8‘s work, with corrections and suggested alternative wording. This letter is in a semiformal style. In your Certificate Exams… (read more on this in Example 1) British English.

  • The words in bold are more of a B2 level
  • The underlined words are language items you can include to make your range richer
  • The pink words indicate good vocabulary range

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Dear teacher,

FOLLOWING YOUR REQUEST, I would like to suggest ways that might improve the lessons and make them more participatory and interesting.

Firstly, it would be great to practise more speaking activities, especially dialogues with different classmates. It would also be good to hold discussions in small groups, for instance after watching a film, and then at Plenary, TOO.

Secondly, we might find more ways so that you can* give individual feedback if we hold a plenary on this. WE REALLY NEED TO TALK ABOUT THIS IN CLASS.

Finally, I would like to congratulate you for the oral activity we did last week. It was a great idea to speak in groups about the recording we had heard before.

I really enjoy your lessons because I feel I am learning a lot.

Take care and see you in class!

(127 words, too short, so I’ve included 13 words in block letters)

* “so that you are able to give” sounds as if the problem were the teacher’s Skull. “Can” indicates here possibility.

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NI2M – Example 7 – Making suggestions

February 13, 2013

B1 Writing Task: 150 words sending suggestions to language teacher, mentioning three points: more speaking activities, some individual feedback, congratulating on a previous activity. Based on Student 7‘s work, with corrections and suggested alternative wording. This letter is in a formal style. Formal style in a letter to a teacher nowadays is rare, but it is a safe option (it shouldn’t be so, but… In your Certificate Exams… (read more on this in Example 1) British English

  • The words in bold are more of a B2 level
  • The underlined words are language items you can include to make your range richer
  • The pink words indicate good vocabulary range

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Dear Ms Ford,

I am writing to you to make some suggestions for our lessons. I hope they are useful.

Firstly, I think that we should do more speaking activities because we need to use our grammar knowledge in communicative practice. In my view, we spend too much time doing grammar exercises in class.

In addition, it would be important that we could have some time for individual feedback. You might find time for that while we are working in small groups. There are some students who have great difficulties and this would be great support for their learning.

Finally, I would like to congratulate you for the activity we did last week. It was very interesting and I enjoyed it. We could do more activities like that because, in my view, we learn more and better.

Yours sincerely,

V.

(141 words)

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NI2M – Example 6 – Making suggestions

February 13, 2013

B1 Writing Task: 150 words sending suggestions to language teacher, mentioning three points: more speaking activities, some individual feedback, congratulating on a previous activity. Based on Student 6‘s work, with corrections and suggested alternative wording. This is a good letter, written informally, and using International English. In your Certificate Exams… (read more on this in Example 1)

  • The words in bold are more of a B2 level
  • The underlined words are language items you can include to make your range richer
  • The pink words indicate good vocabulary range

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Hi teacher!

This year I’m really happy about my English classes because English is easier than I’d thought! In any case, I’d like to make some suggestions to improve a little next term.

First, we could do more speaking activities with different students in class, and we could set up a rota to book a date for our oral performances. The idea of an Exam Area for our timed speaking practice is wonderful, becauseit helps us psychologically for our finals! It’s very intimidating to speak in front of an Examining Board!

I would also like to suggest you have some time for individual feedback. You might do this while students are working in small groups checking their homework.

Last, I would like to tell you that this course is surprising because you are giving us a lot of tools to enjoy our learning! Congratulations for your work!

As you know, I’m the student rep, so please count on me for anything. We are a team!

Kind regards,

C.

(175 words, far too long, so I crossed out 14)

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NI2L – Example 5 – Making suggestions

February 12, 2013

B1 Writing Task: 150 words sending suggestions to language teacher, mentioning three points: more speaking activities, some individual feedback, congratulating on a previous activity.

Based on Student 5‘s work, with corrections and suggested alternative wording. The student was HAVING A BAD DAY, and on top of that, she doesn’t feel she can write. So here is what you can do to survive a Writing Test with the task mentioned above. Based on her own writing, which was incomplete and that would have made her flunk, but which could have been enough to pass if she had done something like this with that material…. (Find more examples on the Intermedio 2 page)

The student is using British English

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Dear teacher,

[How are you?]

I’m having a bad day. But here is the letter I promised last week, with suggestions on how to improve our lessons. I shouldn’t delay this more.

Firstly, [I think we have become silent as a group.] I suppose we’re all very tired. In spite of this, I would like to speak more in class. I think this would wake us up, so to say! 🙂 One idea for this could be to establish a routine: every Monday we could speak in pairs after preparing a speaking card. Then, in every lesson, we could speak with a different classmate.

About individual feedback, I’ve been trying to think about it, but I’m blank. I hope other students can help you more than me* in this!

But what I can do just now is tell you I loved last week’s lesson! It was fun and we had a laugh watching that TV episode!

Well, see you tomorrow!

S.

(168 words, a bit long, so I’ve crossed out a few words, but I can’t cross out words here, so they are in square brackets)

Can this letter pass the Writing Test? Yes. It’s true it doesn’t develop the second point, but structure, communicative target, tone/register (informal), and its English are perfectly OK.

Notice the tenses (present continuous, past simple, present simple, polite “would like”, conditional (hypothetical) “would”, present perfect continuous, imperative.
Notice the modals (“would” can also be considered a modal in some of its uses, anyway): shouldn’t (moral obligation), could (suggestions/proposals), can (ability).
Other stuff: “hope” + present (modal or ordinary verb), “how to” + verb, “after” + -ing verbal form, good use of “other”, a comparative “more than me*”, a Saxon Genitive in a time expression! (wow!)…

——————————————————-

* than I or than me? Well, when the word is a Subject Pronoun, it’d be I, and if it’s not, if it’s an Object Pronoun, then it’d be “me”. In this case, the issue is kind of tricky. It should probably be: “I hope other students can help you more than I [can help you] in this.” The fact that we omit the clause, doesn’t erase the fact that “I” would be or IS its subject. However, at a B1 level we cannot consider this ambiguous case a mistake!

TO SURVIVE THE WRITING TEST YOU NEED TO WRITE THE AMOUNT OF WORDS YOU ARE ASKED TO WRITE, WRITE ON THE TOPIC, WITH THE COMMUNICATIVE TARGET YOU ARE REQUIRED, AND MENTION THE THREE POINTS YOU’RE GIVEN.

IF YOU CAN’T WRITE ABOUT A POINT, FUCKING MENTION IT!!! :D, FOR GOODNESS SAKE! SEE EXAMPLE BELOW! (POINT 2)

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NI2L – Example 4 – Making suggestions

February 12, 2013

B1 Writing Task: 150 words sending suggestions to language teacher, mentioning three points: more speaking activities, some individual feedback, congratulating on a previous activity.

Based on Student 4‘s work, with corrections and suggested alternative wording. This is a very good letter, in the semiformal style (no contractions, but not formal). In your Certificate Exams … (rest of text in Examples 1-3)

The words in bold are more of a B2 level: see Example 1. Can you do the same? Identify the language items?
The underlined words are language items you can include to make your range richer.

The pink words indicate good vocabulary range
The student is using British English

——————————————————-

Dear teacher,

I am writing to you because I think it is a good idea that students suggest different ways to improve our lessons.

Firstly, from my point of view, it would be a very good idea to do more speaking activities like pronunciation exercises, monologues, or dialogues. As you know well, the more we practise, the more we learn. Besides, BECAUSE WE SHOULD ALSO PRACTISE AT HOME, it would also be a good idea to use programmes like Skype to try to speak with foreign people. I am improving my German in this way because I have two German friends.

Secondly, I agree with you about recording our monologues and sending them to you by e-mail. Your feedback could be very useful.

Finally, I would like to congratulate you for your work. You are one of the best teachers I have ever had.

See you tomorrow

A.

(140 words. It would be easy to include a few more, so I did, in block letters)

More…

HOW MANY TENSES AND DIFFERENT MODALS DID L. USE?

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NI2L – Example 3 – Making suggestions

February 12, 2013

B1 Writing Task: 150 words sending suggestions to language teacher, mentioning three points: more speaking activities, some individual feedback, congratulating on a previous activity.

Based on Student 3‘s work, with corrections and suggested alternative wording. This is a very good letter, in the semiformal style (no contractions, but not formal). In your Certificate Exams if the instructions do not mention whether you should use a formal or an informal register, teachers at EOI schools generally recommend you use a formal register. I disagree with this, because I believe examiners should include that information in the instructions, because people have all kinds of relationships to teachers and bosses, ranging from very informal to fairly formal.

The words in bold are more of a B2 level: see Example 1. Can you do the same? Identify the language items?
The underlined words are language items you can include to make your range richer.

The pink words indicate good vocabulary range

The student is using British English

——————————————————-

Dear teacher,

I am R.O., a student in the NI2L group. I am writing this email because I have some ideas for improving the next lessons in class.

Firstly, in my opinion, we need to perform more speaking activities, like dialogues between two or three students, and monologues. The most difficult skill to develop is Speaking, so I believe that we need to increase that practice.

Also,* it is important that you can** listen to all the students, individually, (in order) to make for corrections and give us feedback. One possibility is to listen to us individually in class, but I know that we are a lot of students and that is very difficult, so I suggest we (should) record a monologue and send it to you for feedback and corrections. With this method, we would be able to work on our own List of Mistakes.

Finally, I want to congratulate you about congratulations for the Exam Format Practice lessons. This is a very useful exercise for us to improve our exam techniques.

See you next day in class.

R.O.

(180+ words, cut down to 160+)

*Also, = Además,

I am also here = también
I am here, too = también

*can, not “are able to”, because it more about an actual possibility than about the person’s ability.

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NI2L – Example 2 – Making suggestions

February 11, 2013

B1 Writing Task: 150 words sending suggestions to language teacher, mentioning three points: more speaking activities, some individual feedback, congratulating on a previous activity.

Based on Student 2‘s work, with corrections and suggested alternative wording. This is a good letter, written informally. In your Certificate Exams if the instructions do not mention whether you should use a formal or an informal register, teachers at EOI schools generally recommend you use a formal register. I disagree with this, because I believe examiners should include that information in the instructions, because people have all kinds of relationships to teachers and bosses, ranging from very informal to fairly formal.

The words in bold are more of a B2 level: see Example 1. Can you do the same? Identify the language items? HOW MANY TENSES AND DIFFERENT MODALS DID L. USE?
The underlined words are language items you can include to make your range richer.

The pink words indicate good vocabulary range

The student is using British English

——————————————————-

Dear teacher!

I’m writing to you because the other day, after the lesson, some of us talked a bit about our learning. We came up with a few good ideas and decided to send them to you in case they’re helpful!

Firstly, we think it would be good if we practised more speaking activities in class instead of doing so many reading activities.

Another good idea we had is this: when we are speaking in small groups, you could come for a visit and stay a few minutes listening to us. Then at Plenary, you could tell us about all the positive things you had heard* /herd/ and also comment on students’ mistakes.

Apart from this, we wanted to say that the speaking activity we did last week was fantastic! We have learnt a lot of new vocabulary and expressions. Thanks you so much!!

See you next Monday

L.

(151 words)

* you would say (hypothetical, more tentative; with “could” it’s a proposal) the things we did well and comment on our mistakes

CHALLENGE: HOW MANY “THAT” (= 0, meaning “conjunction”) DID I OMIT?

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NI2L – Example 1 – Making suggestions

February 11, 2013

B1 Writing Task: 150 words sending suggestions to language teacher, mentioning three points: more speaking activities, some individual feedback, congratulating on a previous activity.

Based on Student 1‘s work, with corrections and suggested alternative wording. This is a good letter, written informally. In your Certificate Exams if the instructions do not mention whether you should use a formal or an informal register, teachers at EOI schools generally recommend you use a formal register. I disagree with this, because I believe examiners should include that information in the instructions, because people have all kinds of relationships to teachers and bosses, ranging from very informal to fairly formal.

The words in bold are more of a B2 level: present perfect continuous, indirect questions, none of us = singular (that’s why “speak”, not “speaks”). So it’s very positive they are included, of course! 

The underlined words are language items you can include to make your range richer: purpose infinitive, comparative of superiority, comparative of inferiority, That’s the real problem, modal of obligation, conditional tense (hypothetical language), -ing adjective, modal for proposals/suggestions, correct place for “also”, “if you agree, we could” (mixed conditional sentence, with a modal), “hope” + present (for real things to happen), connectors (By the way,), polite “would like” (+ infinitive), “It” subject, correct use of “a lot” (without “of”).

The pink words indicate good vocabulary range

The student is using British English

——————————————————-

Hi, teacher!

How are you?

Recently, I’ve been thinking about how we can improve our oral skills to become more fluent and make less mistakes.

I realise that every day none of us really speak. That’s the real problem! We have to solve it!

I think we need more time to speak in small groups every day. It would be good to create our own speaking cards, with new topics and clear instructions. The textbook is good but this would be more exciting/engaging. We could also use the Listen & Repeat technique, to improve our fluency and accuracy!

Because we need your feedback personally, if you agree, we could record our monologues and send them to you by e-mail. Then, you could reply to us with your feedback or corrections.

I hope these ideas are useful!

By the way, I would like to say “Congratulations!” to you about our last lesson.* It was great and I learnt a lot.

Take care.

See you next Monday!

I.R.

*I would like to congratulate you about our last lesson.

Reminder: The days of the week, like months, and names of languages are always capitalized in English, and people keep forgetting about this, so please, include it in your Lists of Mistakes (LoM). By the way, do you have one? Do you use your mistakes are opportunities to learn more? 

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Speaking Tasks for B2 level students!

February 8, 2013

Femen_anorexic_models_3I have finally finished a two-page list of Speaking Tasks. It’s useful for people using the mentioned textbook, but it might be useful for more people, to get some sort of idea of topics dealt with at this level.

SPEAKING TASKS 1-5 NI2

For my Intermedio 2 students: these topics are B2 topics, and your exam will be a B1 exam, so this is kind of esquizo!!! Anyway, you will be picking one to do in March at Plenary. There are three types. Have a look. Please, spread the word, so students never checking this out and never looking at the Bulleting Board in class get the news! If you people don’t do this activity in March, I’ll quit. With this, I feel more like your mother!! EEK!!! (I’m a teacher in adult language education!!)

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Dear Intermedios! (A Writing Sample and a useful idea!)

February 8, 2013

springE-mailing your teacher with a proposal: Here is a 2-page document with what I would do if I were/was asked to write what you had to write! I tried to stick to grammar points learned at the B1 level, but some of you have a richer range that this. Anyway, this letter I wrote would be enough to pass!

writingsampleintermedio2 (2 pages)

Congratulations for those of you who did well! And for those of you who are disappointed or need to work a bit more, cheer up, come on, don’t waste time fretting! It’s February — you’ve still got plenty of time!!

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February Exam Format Pack for Intermedio and Avanzado

January 31, 2013

This is what I will be explaining in class in our first February Lesson. I have xeroxed some sample exercises but I will not be making copies of this — so that’s why I’m publishing it over here, in case you think you want a copy.

michelle_2013pack

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