International English Language Testing System - Teaching Strategies

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IELTS teaching handbook for trainers

Transcript of International English Language Testing System - Teaching Strategies

Preparing students for the IELTS Academic Reading ModuleGuy Brook-HartCambridge University Press

Russia, April 2012

This talk will cover what the IELTS Academic Reading module involves what reading skills IELTS students need why we should be teaching reading skills to students in class suggestions for classroom reading activities for different IELTS reading tasks.

Examples are taken from Complete IELTS (CUP 2012).

Match these IELTS statistics Candidates per year Assessment bands Percentage going to higher education Institutions recognising IELTS Parts of the IELTS test Average reading score Average reading score for native speakers 4 9 68 6.6 6,000 1.5 million 6

What does the IELTS Academic Reading module involve? 3 reading passages (750 950 words each, max. 2750 words) 40 questions (mixed task types) 1 mark each 1 hour

How is the IELTS Academic Reading module different from Main Suite exams? All reading passages have an academic focus. 13/14 questions per passage. At least 13 different types of task 2/3 different task types per passage. Candidates may have to read the passage more than once Increasing level of difficulty.

The majority of IELTS candidates take the test as an entry requirement for further study.

CEF Levels C2 C1 B2 B1 A2 A1

IELTS band (approximate) 7.5+ 6.5 7 56 3.5 4.5 3 12

IELTS Academic Reading Passages The passages used in the test are designed to present the candidate with materials similar to those which they might need to read on a university course. The passages may be written in a variety of styles, for example narrative, descriptive, discursive or argumentative. They are not simplified.

Features of IELTS passages authentic discipline-related international but neutral demonstrate a number of writer techniques well written: argument, embedded clauses, formal language and structures, discourse markers

IELTS Reading Skills

The skills tested are intended to reflect the target language needs of undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Candidates may have to: identify the writers overall purpose, target audience, sources etc. identify and follow key arguments in a passage identify opinions and attitudes as opposed to facts locate specific information read for detailed information extract relevant information distinguish the main idea from supporting detail recognise key points for a summary group pieces of information in a passage in accordance with salient criteria extract information from a prose passage to put into a diagrammatic representation make inferences

What question types are there? Multiple Choice Short-answer Questions Sentence Completion Notes, Summary or Table/Flow-chart Completion Labelling a Diagram Choosing Headings for Paragraphs/Sections of a passage Locating Information Identification of Writers Views/Claims or of Information Classification Matching

What question types are there?Some tasks e.g. completion tasks tend to be easier than others e.g. Multiple choice, True False Not Given Its important to build up students skills at dealing with all tasks.

Student perceptionsCandidates often perceive the Reading module to be the hardest part of the IELTS Test.

Option A is obviously wrong and option B doesnt make sense! Now how many word spots can I find to decide whether its C or D?

Research observationMany candidates come out of the test with no idea what the passages were about.

Why do reading activities in class? To ensure that all students have read the passage(s) To teach and practise different reading techniques and strategies To explore passages on different levels To limit time.

Some general reading skills IELTS candidates need:Ability to skim the passage to get an overview of its contents This helps them to - see how the passage develops (its structure) - locate the specific information they require.

Some general reading skills IELTS candidates need:Ability to scan the passage - to find specific information - to locate the section of the passage that they need to read in detail.

Before they read the passage, students should be trained to read- the title - the sub-heading - look at any pictures, illustrations, or footnotes

Some frequent IELTS reading tasks:

Multiple choice True, False, Not Given / Yes, No, Not Given Matching Headings

Multiple choice tests ability to: scan the passage to find the relevant part read this part in detail to understand e.g. opinion, purpose, main idea, implication etc.

Multiple choice may involve selecting - one of four options, or - two of five options (Pick from a list)

Multiple choice:

Suggested approach: read stem of first question and underline the key idea scan to find where the question is dealt with in the passage. read this section of the passage carefully to find the answer to the question. read each of the 4 alternatives with the stem. match the correct one with the passage. underline the evidence in the passage supporting your choice

repeat procedure for question 2 etc. (answers appear in the same order)

Classroom activity 1: Give students the passage with a skimming task and a strict time limit. Give students the stems of the questions, but not the alternatives. Ask students to locate where the answers occur.

Objective: scanning. Ask students to note answers in their own words. Give them the alternatives. They choose. Objective: to encourage students to go from the passage to the alternatives, rather than vice versa, note-taking.

Classroom activity 2: Ask students to work in pairs. Give one pair questions 1, 3 and 5. Give the other pair questions 2, 4 and 6. Ask them to read the passage and answer their questions with their partner.

Students then change partners, show their new partners their questions and explain the answers, justifying their choice with evidence from the passage. Objective: to find and justify evidence in the passage / communicative activity

True, False, Not Given / Yes, No, Not Given tasks

True, False, Not Given / Yes, No, Not Given tasks test students ability to scan the passage to find the relevant part(s)

read in detail to understand factual information (TFNG) the writers views/claims (YNNG)

What problems do students have with TFNG/YNNG tasks? Finding the right part of the passage.

Distinguishing between False and Not Given.

Suggested approach Each question will contain a hook a word/phrase which is the same or nearly the same as one in the passage. Identify and underline the hook.(Questions paraphrase, but the hook does not) Scan to find where it is mentioned in the passage. Read carefully round it to find the answer.

Choose No when the passage contradicts the statement. Choose Not Given when it neither supports nor contradicts the statement.

Classroom activity 1 read to identify the hook (1 minute) scan the passage to locate where you should read carefully (2 minutes)

Classroom activity 2 give students 3 overlapping statements: ask students which one is true, which false, which not given.

Matching headings:

Matching headings test ability to read for: the main ideas or themes either in paragraphs or in sections.

What problems do students have with matching headings? Reading above phrase or sentence level.

Distinguishing the main idea from details Time and technique

Suggested approach: Read the headings carefully so as to partially memorise them, underlining the key ideas as you read. Read the paragraphs/sections one by one, matching each paragraph to a heading as you read. Aim to complete the task reading the whole passage just once.

Classroom activity 1: Students read the headings and underline the key ideas. They close their books and note down the headings they remember.

They compare and complete their list in pairs. Hand out the paragraphs which you have previously photocopied and cut up one by one and in order

Ask students to match each paragraph to a heading as you hand them out, or Round up after each matching by asking for evidence from the passage.

Classroom activity 2: Students work in groups of 3.

Give each student the complete passage and 2 of the headings First, students work alone, read the passage and place their 2 headings

They then explain their decisions to the rest of the group and resolve any conflicts.Objectives: dealing with task type, communicative activity, oral summarising, presenting information.

General considerations Use all the clues on the page Work on examples Raise interest Negotiate time limits Avoid vocabulary explanations Make students do the work (not you!) Discuss strategies

Complete IELTS Band 4 5 Bands 5 6.5 Bands 6.5 7.5

8 10 Units 60+ hours Complete coverage of all parts of the exam Grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation for the exam Speaking, writing and language reference Complete practice test

CD Rom Workbook with audio CD Audio CD

Teachers Book with detailed guidance, exam information, extra/alternative teaching ideas photocopiable activities photocopiable word lists and progress tests