Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Exam prep-EDI’s Paul Bress gives top tips for teaching exam techniques

Helping learners to understand vocabulary
Give learners a hand-out containing a list of words/phrases (about one topic area). Tell the learners to tick the ones they already know. Then ask them to ask other learners the meanings of the words. After that, give students another hand-out, containing the same words in context. Tell them they have to do the same thingsas before. Finally ask the class concept questions about the same words. It’s a good idea to use yes/no questions so that learners feel they have a genuine choice and aren’t just jumping through hoops. Don’t forget to review the vocabulary later on in the course (otherwise it will slowly be forgotten).

Using a listening text
First, arouse interest in the topic of the listening text and get learners
to predict the content. Next, set an authentic task (either a gist task or a specific information task depending on why we would listen to such a text in real life). Then check the answers in class. After that, play the text bit by bit. Stop after each extract containing the answers to the questions. Then get the learners to say the language verbatim. Play each extract three times if they are having difficulty understanding the language. If the learners still can't say
it, then say the language yourself, more and more slowly, until they can understand (and say) it. Finally, play the text all the way through again, this time giving them the tapescript to read at the same time.

Helping learners to understand newspaper articles
Buy a newspaper on the day of your lesson, find a good article and photocopy it. Pre-teach any difficult lexis in the headline. Then put the words in the headline on the board, but jumbled up. Ask the learners to unjumble the headline. Then, when it’s unjumbled, ask them to predict what they are going to read about. Now hand out
the photocopies. Ask each learner, individually, to take notes of
the main points on a separate piece of paper. Set a time limit (this
can be negotiated). Then collect the photocopies and arrange the
class into groups of three. Ask each group to write down a (specified)number of questions which test the understanding of the main points of the text. Ask the groups to exchange the questions, answer them, and then hand the answers back. Finally, ask your own questions about the text – and give the photocopies back.
(source:ELGAZETTE-MAY 2009)