Anda di halaman 1dari 31

Authentic materials

Old Mother Hubbard


Went to the cupboard,
To give the poor dog a bone;
When she came there
The cupboard was bare,
And so the poor dog had none.
She went to the baker's
To buy him some bread;
When she came back
The dog was dead.
She went to the undertaker's
To buy him a coffin;
When she came back
The dog was laughing.
She took a clean dish
To get him some tripe;
When she came back
He was smoking a pipe.
She went to the fruiterer's
To buy him some fruit;
When she came back
He was playing the flute.
She went to the tailor's
To buy him a coat;
When she came back
He was riding a goat.

She went to the hatter's


To buy him a hat;
When she came back
He was feeding the cat.
She went to the barber's
To buy him a wig;
When she came back
He was dancing a jig.
She went to the cobbler's
To buy him some shoes;
When she came back
He was reading the news.
She went to the seamstress
To buy him some linen;
When she came back
The dog was spinning.
She went to the hosier's
To buy him some hose;
When she came back
He was dressed in his clothes.
The dame made a curtsy,
The dog made made a bow;
The dame said, "Your servant,"
The dog said, "Bow-wow."

(The Comic Adventures of Old Mother Hubbard and Her Dog by Sarah Catherine Merine)

Type of reading lesson:

Poem

Target group :

Year 5

Stage of the reading lesson:

While Reading

Theme :

World of Knowledge

Topic:

People

Activities involving the material :

Any other relevant information :

In a field one summer's day a Grasshopper was hopping


about, chirping and singing to its heart's content. An
Ant passed by, bearing along with great effort an ear of corn he was taking to the nest.
"Why not come and chat with me," said the Grasshopper, "instead of toiling and moiling away?" "I
am helping to lay up food for the winter," said the Ant, "and recommend you to do the same."
"Why bother about winter?" said the Grasshopper; "we have got plenty of food at present."
But the Ant went on its way and continued its toil. When the winter came the Grasshopper found
itself dying of hunger, while it saw the ants distributing, every day, corn and grain from the stores
they
had
collected
in
the
summer.
Then the Grasshopper knew..
MORAL: WORK TODAY AND YOU CAN REAP THE BENEFITS
TOMORROW!

Type of reading lesson:

Story

Target group :

Stage of the reading lesson:

Theme :

Topic:

Activities involving the material :

Any other relevant information :

Pre-reading,

Type of reading lesson:

Target group :

Stage of the reading lesson:

Theme :

Topic:

Activities involving the material :

Any other relevant information :

Type of reading lesson:

Target group :

Stage of the reading lesson:

Theme :

Topic:

Activities involving the material :

Any other relevant information :

From

Ubin

Date

2 April 2011

To

Kavita

Subject :

trekking in the jungle.

Dear Kavita,
Hope you are well. Aiman and I went to jungle trekking last week. Let
me tell you about our trip in the jungle.
During our trip, I thought I heard a witch laughing! It was only a hornbill.
A hornbill has a long tail and a big beak. It uses its beak to collect fruits and crack
nuts.
Later, we walked quietly by a river. We saw a big crocodile. The crocodile was
gliding through the river, using its long tail.
Crocodiles have flaps over their ears to stop water from entering their ears. We
quickly walked away from the river.
During lunch, Aiman started laughing when he saw a proboscis Monkey. It had
reddish fur, a huge nose and a large port of belly. When it angry, its nose gets bigger
and redder! I started laughing too
At night, we saw pangolin. It has a long thin snout but it does not have teeth. It used
its long claws to break open an ants nest. After that, it licked the ants with its long
tongue. Yuck! Unfortunately, the pangolin rolled up into a ball to protect itself when it
heard us.
I will tell you more when we meet. See you then!

Ubin

Type of reading lesson:

E-mail

Target group :

Year 5

Stage of the reading lesson:

While reading

Theme :

World of Knowledge

Topic:

Animals and Us

Activities involving the material :

Reading aloud , silent reading, puzzle


and rearranging the sentences

Any other relevant information :

Discussion on endangered animals

Lesson Plan ( READING )


Date

Time

30 minutes

Class

Year 5

Nos. Of students

39

Level

Intermediate

Theme

World of Knowledge

Topic

Animals and us

Learning Outcomes

: 3.3 Read and understand phrases,


sentences,paragraphs and whole texts.

Curriculum Specification : 3.3.3 Read and understand simple paragraphs


Objectives

By the end of the lesson, students should be able to:


i)
ii)

Prior Knowledge

Read the e-mail expressively and fluently


Read silently and rearrange the sentences
according to their sequence.

Students have learnt the names of wild animals

Teaching-learning resources : pictures of animals, an-example of e-mail, Ppt of


Trekking in the jungle
Moral Value
Stage /
Time

Set
Inductio
n
(2min)

Content

Name the
animals

: Protect and care for the endangered animals.


Teacher activity

1. Teacher calls a few


students and asks
them to name the
animals in the jungle.

Student Activity

Resources

1. Students name the


Picture of a
animals that they saw jungle.
in the jungle.

PreReading
(3min)

A
Sample of
E-mail

1. Teacher shows an
example of e-mail.
2. She asks about writing
an e-mail.

1. Students answer
the teachers
questions.

An
example of
e-mail.

WhileReading
(12min)

E-mail
Trekking
in the
jungle

1. Teacher asks the


students to read the email aloud.
2. Teacher corrects their
pronunciation and
explains the meaning
of the words such as
witch, hornbill, flaps
and snout.
3. Then, she asks the
pupils to read silently
and label the part of
the body.

1. Students read the


story together.
2. They repeat certain
words after teacher.
3. Students read
silently and label the
parts of the animals.

E-mail
Trekking
in the
jungle on
powerpoint
.

1. Teacher asks the


students to sit in
groups.
2. She asks the students
to select a group
leader.
3. She distributes an
envelope to each of
the groups.
4. Teacher explains the
rules of the game.
The envelope
consists of picture
puzzles and
sentence strips.
The students have
to arrange the

1. The students sit in


groups.
2. They take out
pictures and
sentence strips
and play the
game.
3. The first group to
complete the
game correctly is
the winner.

PostReading
(10min)

Game

Pictures of
hornbill,
crocodile,
Proboscis
monkey
and
pangolin.

envelopes,
picture
puzzles
and
sentence
strips.

puzzle into pictures


of animals.
Then, they arrange
the sentence strips
according to the
pictures.
The group which
complete the game
quickly and
correctly is the
winner.

Closure
(3min)

Discussio
n on the
animals
that are
facing
extinction.

1. Teacher asks the


students to name
the animals that
are endangered.
2. She also asks why
these animals
should be
protected.

1. Students answer
teachers
questions.

Teaching & learning strategy


Assessment :
1. Silent reading

Remedial:

Teacher tests students comprehension


by asking what they have learnt through
Ubins experience trekking the jungle

Teacher drills on pronunciations of words


and phrases in the e-mail for example: a
witch laughing, gliding through a river, a
proboscis monkey and a large pot of

Notes

belly.

Enrichment:

Students role play the experience of Ubin


and Aiman trekking the jungle.

1. Abbott, G. & P. Wingard. (1985). The Teaching of English as an


International Language: A Practical Guide. Great Britain.
2. Austin S. . (1970). Speaking & Listening:A Contemporary Approach.
Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc. USA
3. Carroll E. R. (1969). The Learning of Language. National Council of
Teachers of English Publication. New York.
4. Celce \Murcia, M. & L. mcIntosh. (1979). Teaching English as a Second or
Foreign Language. Newbury House Publishers, Inc. Massachusetts.

http://iteslj.org/Articles/Saricoban-Listening.html

The Teaching of Listening


Arif

Saricoban

Hacettepe

University

(Beytepe-Ankara,

Turkey)

arifs [at] hun. edu. tr

Listening is the ability to identify and understand what others are saying. This
involves understanding a speaker's accent or pronunciation, his grammar and his
vocabulary, and grasping his meaning (Howatt and Dakin). An able listener is
capable of doing these four things simultaneously. Willis (1981:134) lists a series of
micro-skills of listening, which she calls enabling skills. They are:

predicting what people are going to talk about

guessing at unknown words or phrases without panic

using one's own knowledge of the subject to help one understand

identifying relevant points; rejecting irrelevant information

retaining relevant points (note-taking, summarizing)

recognizing discourse markers, e. g. , Well; Oh, another thing is; Now, finally; etc.
recognizing cohesive devices, e. g. , such as and which, including linking words,
pronouns, references, etc.

understanding different intonation patterns and uses of stress, etc. , which give clues
to meaning and social setting

understanding inferred information, e. g. , speakers' attitude or intentions.

According to Bulletin (1952), listening is one of the fundamental language skills. It's a
medium through which children, young people and adults gain a large portion of their
education--their information, their understanding of the world and of human affairs, their
ideals, sense of values, and their appreciation. In this day of mass communication (much of
it oral), it is of vital importance that our pupils be taught to listen effectively and critically, he
says.

Listening to and understanding speech involves a number of basic processes, some


depending upon linguistic competence, some depending upon previous knowledge
that is not necessarily of a purely linguistic nature, and some depending upon
psychological variables that affect the mobilization of these competence and
knowledge in the particular task situation. The listener must have a continuous set to
listen and understand, and as he hears the utterance, he may be helped by some
kind of set to process and remember the information transmitted. His linguistic
competence enables him, presumably, to recognize the formatives of the heard
utterance, i. e. , to dissect out of the wave form of the morphemes, words, and other
meaning-bearing elements of the utterance.
Listening is a receptive skill, and receptive skills give way to productive skills. If we
have our students produce something, the teaching will be more communicative.
This brings us to the must of integrating language skills. There are two reasons for
using integrating activities in language classrooms:

1. To practice and extend the learners' use of a certain language structure or function
2. To develop the learners' ability in the use of two or more of the skills within real
contexts and communicative frame work.

Integrated activities, on the other hand, provide a variety in the classroom and thus
maintain motivation and allow the recycling and revision of language which has
already been taught separately in each skill.
How can we be certain that listening experiences will become more productive?
Wittich tells us to distinguish the four levels existing in listening to radio or
recordings:

Level 1. This mood is listening. Here, the sound remains in the background - there is
usually limited comprehension, and, indeed, limited attention. One becomes directly
aware of sounds only when they stop. Nevertheless, a certain amount of learning may
take place.

Level 2. Here the purpose is relaxation, escape, getting your mind off something
rather than on it. The material is comprehended but usually not analyzed for its value.
This listening may result in useful ideas, but they are usually peripheral and/or
accidental.

Level 3. On this level, answers are sought as a key to action. One listens to weather
reports, traffic information from a plane-temporarily useful but what we might call
forgettable transient information. This form of listening does not require long, sustained
concentration.

Level 4. This is the stage of analytical and critical listening. The listener not only
seeks a serious answer to a serious question but evaluates the quality of the answer.
Round-table discussions, serious listening to talks, spirited conversation, symphonic
music are at the fourth level. At this stage, listening to music is in the foreground of
attention not in the background as on previous levels (Wittich and Schuller, 1962).

It is listening on the fourth level that primarily concerns us in our teaching. Such listening
may add an emotional and dramatic quality. Radio and recordings highlight the importance
of listening. Listening is as active as speaking (the other receptive skill), and in some ways
even more difficult. It well requires attention, thought, interpretation, and imagination. To
improve our learners' listening skills we should let them (Austin Shrope, 1970):
1. Adopt a positive attitude.

2. Be responsive.
3. Shut out distractions.
4. Listen for the speaker's purpose.
5. Look for the signals of what is to come.
6. Look for summaries of what has gone before.
7. Evaluate the supporting materials.
8. Look for non-verbal clues.
We can call listening a decoding -making sense of the message process. Each short stretch
of meaningful material which is read or heard has to be;

(I) recognised as meaningful and understood on perception

(II) held in the short term memory long enough to be decoded

(III) related to what has gone before and /or what follows.

Out of this process come pieces of information which can be stored in the long term memory
for recall later. We can show the whole process in the form of a model (Abbott and Wingard,
1985).
1. Perception of sounds, letter shapes, etc.
2. Initial recognition of meaning of short stretches
3. Material held in short term memory
4. Related to material already held in short term memory
5. Related to material arriving in short-term memory
6. Meaning extracted from message and retained in long-term memory
7. Gist recalled later
We can divide the listening process into 3 stages;
1. Pre-listening (purpose must be given at this stage),
2. During (in-while) listening,
3. Post -listening (speaking).
There is an association between expectation, purpose, and comprehension, therefore a
purpose should be given to our learners. We should train students to understand what is
being said in conversations to get them to disregard redundancy, hesitation, and
ungrammaticality. The major problem is the actual way listening material is presented to the
students. We should give a clear lead in what they are going to hear; use some kind of visual
back up for them to understand; give questions and tasks in order to clarify the things in their
minds; and be sure that these tasks help in learning, not confusing. Students should learn
how use the environmental clues; the speaker's facial expression, posture, eye direction,
proximity, gesture, tone of voice, and that general surroundings contribute information.

In listening activities, we listen for a purpose. We make an immediate response to


what we hear. There are some visual or environmental clues as to the meaning of
what is heard. Stretches of heard discourse come in short chunks, and most heard
discourse is spontaneous, therefore differs from formal spoken prose in the amount
of redundancy 'noise' and colloquialisms, and its auditory character.
In listening to English as a foreign language, the most important features can be
defined as:
1. Coping with the sounds,
2. Understanding intonation and stress,
3. Coping with redundancy and noise,
4. Predicting,
5. Understanding colloquial vocabulary,
6. Fatigue,
7. Understanding different accents,
8. Using visual and environmental clues.
This brings us to the thought that, while planning exercises, listening materials, task and
visual materials should be taken into consideration. The teacher should produce a suitable
discourse while using recordings. A preset purpose, ongoing learner response, motivation,
success, simplicity, and feedback should be the things considered while preparing the task.
Visual materials are useful for contextualization. We can also categorize the goals of
listening as listening for enjoyment, for information, for persuasion, for perception and lastly
for comprehension and lastly to solve problems.

We can divide listening for comprehension into three stages;


1. Listening and making no response (following a written text, informal teacher talk)
2. Listening and making short responses (obeying instructions - physical movement,
building models, picture dictation. etc.), true- false exercises, noting specific
information, etc.
3. Listening and making longer response (repetition and dictation, paraphrasing,
answering questions, answering comprehension questions on texts, predictions,
filling gaps, summarizing, etc)
The purposes that should be in a listening activity are giving/providing:
1. General information (understanding of the main points)

2. Specific information (understanding of the particular items)


3. Cultural interest (generally informing about the target language culture)
4. Information about people's attitudes and opinions
5. The organization of ideas
6. Sequence of events
7. Lexical items (words expressing noise / movement)
8. Structural items (their use and meaning)
9. Functional items (their form and use)
Lack of sociocultural, factual, and contextual knowledge of the target language can present
an obstacle to listening comprehension. In his Language and Language Learning (1960),
Brooks discusses vital points for the student to be aware of, such as contradictions and
omissions -aspects of sandhi-variation (the changes occur in natural speech as a result of
environment, stress, intonation, rate of speed and so forth). Though Brook does not specially
refer to the term " sandhi-variation ", he does refer to the phenomenon of sadhi in his
examples: Jeet jet? (Did you eat yet?) (p. 50) . According to Brooks, native speakers in an
informal situation "habitually reduce the clarity of speech signals to the minimum required for
comprehension. "Brooks believes that it is necessary to give consideration also to the
interdependence of language and culture; for example, register, expletives, verbal taboos,
culture-bound vocabulary. He also mentions that there is a need to clarify and point out the
differences between written and spoken English.

In order to teach listening skills, a teacher should firstly state the difficulties. For a
student of a foreign language, accurate and intelligent listening is a necessity, and
the teacher is responsible to help his / her learners to acquire this skill which
provides the very foundation for learning and functioning in a language. That the
teacher can observe and isolate the errors in speaking, but could not in listening is a
difficulty. In listening, the learner can exercise no controls over the structural and
lexical range of the speaker to whom he is listening. Nevertheless, any listener can
learn to focus on significant content items, to explain in another way he can learn to
listen selectively.
Helping the learners to distinguish sounds, teaching to isolate significant content and
informational items for concentration may be provided by controlled listening
exercises. One exercise is to give him certain performance objectives -to give him
general informational questions that he should be able to answer after he listens the
material for the first time. These questions should require only the isolation of facts

clearly revealed in the material. Questions that require application or inference from
the information contained in the listening exercise are best used at later stages or
more advanced students.
More controls are necessary at less advanced levels. Sheets containing sequentially
organized and significant questions on context and content -questions that call for
one-word answers -serve as useful guides for the student. Such questions help him
filter out and listen for significant information. The questions themselves suggest the
content and provide the student with an organizational frame for selective listening.
For listening comprehension exercises, we tend to read passages, record news or
broadcasts, or prepare lectures. All of them have value, but they are extremely
difficult sources for early practice in selective listening. This type of listening
exercises does not present the redundancies, the colloquialisms, the hesitations, the
gestures and the facial expressions that are an inseparable part of the spoken
language. They emphasize informational content and fail to provide the signals used
to communicate information and meaning.
Since most of the actual listening the student will be exposed to outside of the class
is likely to be real-life conversation, it seems wisest to use materials cast in real-life
situations for listening comprehension exercises -at least at the beginning level. If the
oral instruction of the course is contextualized -set into a " situation " - it should be
easy enough to contextualize the aural practice as well. The teacher can easily
adapt to listening exercises those situations through which the text presents oral
drills and communicative activities, just by giving them a slightly different twist.
Listening exercises should be as natural as the situations from which they grow. In
other words, an exercise in listening comprehension must be as close as possible to
a "slice of life" -neither a contrived situation nor an artificially delivered discourse. By
means of this, a teacher has a great work to do, and has to be a very creative person
in order to teach listening communicatively.

Lesson Plan
Topic: Beauty Contest

Duration: 20 minutes

Level: Upper Intermediate


Materials: Pictures, blackboard, tape, tape-recorder
Goals: Students are asked to understand when they listen to a speech. This lesson
will at least make the students take one step to get accustomed to hearing and
understanding what they hear. Objectives: By the end of the lesson the students will
understand the significance of listening.
ACTIVITIES
Pre-listening Activities: The teacher asks the students what they are going to listen
to. A discussion atmosphere is tried to be created. At this stage pictures are used
effectively.
During Listening Activities: While students are listening to the tape the teacher
asks them to take some notes.
Post-listening Activities: The teacher writes some questions on the board and asks
them to answer the questions. They are also stimulated to talk and participate in the
activity dominantly.
I. PRE-LISTENIG ACTIVITIES
The teacher hangs the pictures on the board and tries to make the students talk
about the subjects.
T: Do you think that they are beautiful?
S:. . .
T: Can you guess the name of the first competitor?
S:. . .
T: Can you guess the height of the second competitor?
S:. . .
T: What nationality does the third girl belong to? What is your opinion?
S:. . .
II. DURING LISTENING ACTIVITIES

The teacher asks the students to listen to the tape very carefully. And he gives
information lists to the students. While they are listening to the tape they try to fill the
blanks with appropriate information. If no information appears for any blank on the
list, students are asked to put a cross on the blank provided for the required
information.
III. POST-LISTENING ACTIVITY
The teacher writes on the board some questions. Students answer these questions
to test whether they understood what they have listened or not.
1. Whose name is the best? Why do you think so?
2. Who is the tallest one of all?
3. Who is the oldest one of all?
4. Who is the heaviest one of all?
5. What nationality does the first one belong to?
6. What nationality does the second one belong to?
7. What nationality does the third one belong to?
8. Who can speak two languages?
9. What are those languages?
10. Whose favorite film star is Leonardo Di Caprio?
11. What does Suzanne Kerrigan mean by saying" I hope the political situation of my
country will not effect this kind of a contest?"
IV. ASSIGNMENT

At home listen to the information about the people whose names are in the chart
below and copmlete the missing information.
Elizabeth
Mccornick

Alexandra
Bellomonti

Suzanne Kerrigan

Nationality:
Canadian

Nationality:
Italian

Nationality:

Weight: 53

Weight: 51

Weight: 56

Age: 21

Age: 20 years
old

Age: 22

Languages:

Languages:

Languages:

Hobbies:

Hobbies:

Hobbies:

Profession:

Profession:

Profession:

Height::

Height:

Height:1. 73
Her mother's name:

TRANSCRIPT

I'm Elizabeth Mccornick. I'm participating from Canada. I'm 21 years old and I weigh
53 kilos. I am a girl of 90-60-90. I am a bilingual person; that means I can speak two
languages fluently and accurately: English and French. I prefer going to movies than
enjoying theatrical acts. My favorite film star is Leonardo Di Caprio. My friends say that I
am a good cook as well. I admit I like cooking traditional dishes in my spare time. I wish
my best wishes to the other contestants. Thanks.
Good evening! I would like to greet all the people watchin watching and participating
this contest. My name is Alexandra Bellomonti and I'm from Italy. I am 20 years old and
51 kilos I weigh. I like going out with my friends at the weekends. I can also say that I'm
studying really hard and I am expecting to be accepted to the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology. I really have a great desire for being a genetic engineer in the future. Thank
you!
Hello everybody! I am Suzanne Kerrigan from the USA. I was born in 1976, in LA,
California. I confess I weigh 56 kilos but I'm 1. 73 cm tall and that subdues my weight I
think. I like skating on ice and I'm an amateur figure skater. I also like foreign and
strange meals if they prove to be delicious, of course. Finally, I hope the political
situation of my country will not effect this kind of a contest

Recording Speaking Tests for Oral Assessment


Iain Lambert
iain [at] cck.dendai.ac.jp
Tokyo Denki University (Tokyo, Japan)
Oral Communication courses are a common feature of English Programmes at Japanese Universities;
however it can be difficult to provide a record of how they were assessed. In my workplace this has become
an issue as the Japan Accreditation Board for Engineering Education (JABEE) now require records to be
kept of all academic results throughout a student's university career. In this article I describe how I prepared
my students for oral examinations that were recorded on mini disc and discuss some of the positive and
negative aspects of the process.

Introduction
Class Profile
The tests were given at the end of term to nine classes of between 26-31 First year
Japanese university students majoring in electrical and mechanical engineering,
predominantly male, upper elementary to pre-intermediate level. Students were streamed at
the start of the academic year into seven bands according to the results of a combined
reading/listening placement test. The students described here were in the first (intermediate
level) and fifth (beginner/elementary) bands.

Aims

To gauge students' ability to initiate and develop a conversation and check uptake of
lexis presented during the course.
To provide evidence of standards of pronunciation and communicative ability.
To provide practice in a test format that students may encounter in the future e.g.
Cambridge Main Suite exams.

Approach to Assessment
Students received a final course grade out of 100, of which the speaking test counted for 35
marks. Given the disparate levels of the students I decided to adopt a criterion-referenced as
opposed to a norm-referenced approach. Criterion-referenced testing is defined as, "a test
which measures a test-taker's performance according to a particular standard or criterion
that has been agreed on. The test-taker must reach this level of performance to pass the
test, and a test-taker's score is interpreted with reference to the criterion score, rather than to
the scores of other test-takers, which is the case with a norm-referenced test." (Longman
Dictionary of Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics 3 rd Ed, Richards & Schmidt,
Longman 2002). Thus, it was necessary to have a clear set of statements describing what
the learners can and cannot do at each level. These, together with recordings of the studentstudent interviews, would provide a clear justification for the marks awarded. I chose to use
the descriptors for the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) examination.
These give a mark in bands from 0 to a maximum of 9 for the following four categories:
Fluency & Coherence, Pronunciation, Lexical resource and Grammar. I decided to add a fifth

category based on the Scoring Rubric given for Conversation tests (see appendix below) on
p50 of the Teacher's Book for the set text, J-Talk by Linda Lee, Kensaku Yoshida & Steve
Ziolkowski (OUP 2000). My reasoning was that a mark in this category would specifically
reflect their uptake and use of language and conversational strategies presented in the text. I
was not interested in comparing individual students or classes (as in a norm-referenced test)
as I specifically wanted to concentrate on measuring what they had absorbed from the
term's lessons. Thus, students were assessed on five well-defined criteria, each of which
was marked out of 7 (based on an assumption that 7 would be the maximum likely score for
my students in each category, were they to actually do the Speaking section of the IELTS
exam).

Procedure
The lack of available space and constraints on time meant that interviews had to be carried
out in class in the penultimate lesson of term while students were doing a written test. As this
was the first time both the students and I had attempted anything like this on such a scale, I
decided to give the students as much support as possible without compromising the validity
of the test. Thus, in the lesson before the test each class was given a series of revision tasks
covering each unit they were to be tested on (see Lesson plan 1) and then went around the
classroom in pairs, using (unknown to them) the actual cue cards from the test, which I had
stuck on the wall around the room, to have conversations. Finally, following a general
feedback session, I announced that the final test role cards would be similar to those they
had just looked at and that I would be putting them on the Departmental intranet a week
before the test. Students would thus have a chance of getting a good mark if they prepared
for each of the roles, knowing that they had a one in five chance.

On the day of the test, after taking the register I explained the procedure to students
before handing out the written test papers and an end-of-term questionnaire to be
completed if they finished the test early. I went through the written paper section by
section and pointed out the area set aside at the back of the class for the speaking
tests, telling the class that once they had started the written test I would be calling
them out in random pairs and giving them a role card. They would have a minute to
read through the card together and then two or three minutes to have a
conversation, which would be recorded. Students were not permitted to leave the
room until all the speaking tests were finished and the time allotted for the written
test (one hour) had elapsed. I used the back of the ID cards I'd had the students
make at the start of term (with a photo and short biographical notes) to note down
their performance based on the IELTS and J-Talk assessment criteria.
The main problems arising from the rather cramped conditions were twofold. Firstly,
despite having had time to prepare and rehearse, the students naturally felt some
pressure being forced to speak in front of their peers and, as a result, some chose to
speak in a low voice, which made it difficult for their partners to respond and also
meant that they were not recorded properly. Secondly, I was worried that students
who were called later in the session might have had an advantage in that they could
hear what other students had said and use some of that language in their own

interview. This didn't actually end up being much of a problem due to having five
different role cards and drawing them at random. Also, as noted above, some
students tended to speak in quite a low voice owing to the pressure of the situation
which meant they couldn't be heard by others.
Giving students the actual role cards in advance raised the possibility that they might
simply memorise large "parts" of the text and end up using them inappropriately.
From my point of view this was not necessarily a bad thing, given that the idea of the
test was to see if they could use and respond appropriately to such language.

Conclusions
While I felt that the format of the speaking tests was fundamentally good, the actual test
conditions proved more detrimental to the process than anticipated, and there was some
negative feedback to this effect in end of term questionnaires. Students were put under
pressure by the lack of space and the recording process, which wasn't entirely successful
anyway due to problems with equipment, including the microphone being too sensitive to
outside noises. There were some unanticipated problems with another class having a
listening test in a neighbouring classroom. This certainly distracted my class and sound
leaking into our room turned up on the student recordings. On the positive side, however, the
use of role cards provided a good way to initiate interaction (in fact the Cambridge main suite
exams use this method) and it was a good idea to give the students a chance to not only
simulate test conditions (to a certain extent) in the previous lesson, but also to think about
what they would say by putting the actual test roles on the Intranet. I think that the problems
mentioned above concerning the test conditions could be significantly reduced by having a
mock test simulating actual conditions as a follow up to the activities given below in lesson
plan 1.

Appendix
Materials/Aids:

Mini disc player with main cord and extension cable


External microphone. Important to check settings for the recording level.
Spare batteries for microphone
Descriptors (IELTS & J-Talk)
Student role cards (set of 5)
Student ID cards

Lesson Plan 1 (for review/preview session) 90 minute lesson


Stage 1

Passive

After taking the roll and going through a board


plan of the day's lesson, the teacher assigns
students to five groups and explains that they
will work together to review the course in
preparation for the speaking test.

5
minutes

15
minute

Review

The teacher assigns each group one Unit


from the material covered from the course
book.

s
(20)

Students work together and write down


questions based on the language/topics of
their respective units.
The teacher monitors and helps where
necessary.
Stage 2

Active

The teacher now assigns students to new


groups, each containing at least one student
from those in stage 1.

25
minutes

(45)
Review

Students ask and answer each others'


questions using Answer Plus strategies.
The teacher monitors and notes
difficulties.
During this stage, the teacher puts two
sets of the role cards (below) on the wall
around the classroom.

Stage 3

Practice
for
Speakin
g Test

The teacher gives feedback on the activity,


especially referring to groups which used the
Answer Plus strategy effectively.

The teacher points out the role cards on


the wall and explains the new activity. The
students will work in pairs in a nonthreatening environment (i.e.
"protected&quo; by the surrounding
conversations of other students) in
simulation of the speaking test.

5
minutes

5
minute
s
20
minute
s
(75)

(The teacher and a student can


demonstrate the activity if necessary.)
The teacher assigns the students to pairs.
The students go around the room having

short conversations. There is no writing.


The teacher monitors, providing assistance
and noting problem areas for students or
difficulties with the wording of the role
cards.
(The teacher nominates some pairs if
appropriate.)
Stage 4

Give general feedback and administrative


information for next week's test.

10
minutes

(85)

Final Test Role Cards


Names
Ask each other about your own names, and your relatives' names.

Try to give as much information as you can.


Drinks
Ask each other about a drink that you like.

Try to give as much information as you can.


Food
Ask each other about your favourite foods.

Describe the ingredients and the recipe if you can.


Try to give as much information as you can.
Fashion
Ask each other about the clothes you are wearing now.

Try to give as much information as you can.

First Dates
Ask each other about your idea of a perfect date.

Try to give as much information as you can.

Scoring Rubric for Conversation Tests


Excellent

(For the
purposes of
the speaking
test I graded
Students in this
category 7-6)
Good

Graded 5

Satisfactory

Graded 4

Needs
Improvement

Graded 3-1

Presents ideas clearly. Is able to fluently


express ideas and ask and answer
questions from classmates with ease. Is
willing to take risks and test out new
language presented in a unit.

Presents ideas well enough to be


understood. Is able to give brief answers
to questions from classmates. Takes
some risks.
Speaks with some hesitation, but can
communicate basic ideas. Shows
hesitation in understanding and
responding to classmates' questions
and comments. Occasionally uses new
vocabulary, but generally does not take
risks.
Attempts to speak, but has difficulty
communicating basic ideas to
classmates. Has difficulty understanding
classmates' questions and comments.