Helping Students with the IELTS Oral Exam

Part 1 1. On the first day do a ‘find someone who’ whole class mingle related to what students do and where they live e.g. ‘Find someone who has worked for the same company for 10 years.’ Or ‘Find someone who lives in the center of the city’. 2. In pairs one student writes 5 questions related to work and the other student writes 5 questions related to home. Then they ask each other. 3. Have a bunch of topics written on slips of paper in a box. Each student picks a topic and quickly writes four questions abut the topic. The students do a whole class mingling activity asking and answering questions. Part 2 1. Draw a spider gram on the board and brainstorm ideas for a topic e.g. “holidays”. After you get lots of ideas on the board have one student talk on the subject for a minute. The other student listens and gives feedback. 2. Give students short oral practice sessions between longer activities i.e. students finish working on a writing skills activity and the teacher instructs them to discuss the weather and seasons in Kazakhstan for two minutes. Do this throughout the course to give students spontaneous practice speaking on a variety of subjects. 3. Sometimes students don’t know much about a particular subject, even if it’s about their own culture e.g. festivals. In this case get students to do research on the internet for homework and report back to the class. Part 3 1. Use debates to give students practice agreeing and disagreeing. One group prepares ideas agreeing with and the other group prepares ideas disagreeing with a particular subject or point, then they debate. 2. Give students practice comparing. 3. Give students practice thinking about and discussing topics beyond their immediate experience. Bring in short news articles about the environment, trade, etc. for discussion. Here you could give practice of both the writing and speaking sections of the exam. For all parts: do a mock exam with the student and record it. Have the student transcribe it and discuss strengths and weakness.

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