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Advice for Teachers

Here teachers can find useful advice and information to help them prepare their candidates for this paper. Developing General Reading Skills There are many ways of helping students to develop their reading skills in English. A few ideas are listed below:

Some students are convinced that only test practice will really help them, and want to do test after test. This can be discouraging, as they do not see the rapid progress they would like. Encourage students to read widely, e.g. newspapers, journals, magazines and books, and regularly use materials from these sources in your classroom activities.

Train students in different reading skills including skim-reading, scanning to locate specific information, understanding detail, opinion, implication and attitude, and also encourage them to read faster by timing them. Discourage them from trying to understand every word and from focusing on unknown words, and also give them plenty of practice in guessing meaning from context. Discourage them from looking up every unknown word in the dictionary.

Give students practice in recognizing synonyms, key words, etc. to help them locate information. Encourage them to underline key words and phrases when they read, as well as paying attention to key words in the questions. Encourage students to scan for key words, or paraphrases of key words, in the extracts or the reading passage that match the items.

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Give students practice in suggesting different ways of expressing the same ideas or information in a question or in a text. Give plenty of practice in looking at coherence and cohesion of texts. Help students to recognize a wide range of linguistic devices which mark the logical and cohesive development of a text – for example, words and phrases indicating time periods, cause and effect, exemplification, contrasting arguments, repetition, concordance of tenses, pronouns, etc. Preparing Students for IELTS Reading In addition to helping students with their reading skills in general, make sure they are ready for taking the IELTS Academic or General Training Reading paper. A few specific tips are listed below:

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Make sure that you and your students are familiar with the format of the Reading paper and know how to fill in the answer sheet. Give students practice in filling in the answer sheet under timed conditions. Set time limits for tasks, both in class and when setting homework. Give plenty of practice in the full range of task types. Take time in class to discuss the differences between task types and the skills that are being tested. Encourage your students to try out different approaches to tasks, and to discuss the different approaches together. Such discussions may help students to find out which approach suits them best. Train students to read the instructions carefully, as each task type can have variations, so the instructions may be different from what they have practiced. Encourage them also to pick out key words in questions and to predict the type of information they are looking for.

You may want to focus on any of the following areas at different times: fluency in writing. For example. introductions and conclusions. encourage your students to notice new vocabulary. 2) paragraph building and 3) producing whole texts. when looking at a reading passage. accuracy in writing. For multiple-choice questions. . In the task types where the information is located in order in the text. train students to avoid returning to the beginning of the text for each question. When you are working on listening and speaking skills. organizing your ideas. While accuracy is important. cohesion or referencing or how the text or argument has been organized. Point out what they can gain from practicing a particular activity. paragraphing. and give them regular spelling tests. Developing General Writing Skills There are many ways of helping students to develop their writing skills in English. When checking answers in class.  It also helps to vary the focus of your writing lessons. This will also ensure that your lessons are more balanced. For matching tasks.  Encourage students to adopt new language learning strategies. ask your students to discuss why they have selected a particular word or heading. Train your students to actively participate in their own learning by telling them which areas they will be working on and why. organizational skills and fluency and coherence in writing.     Remind students which task types have questions that follow the order of information in the reading passage. you can draw your students’ attention to the difference in style between the spoken and the written form of the language. Advise students to take care when copying a word or words from the text onto their Answer Sheets. This will help them to check their choices carefully.  Another way to vary the focus of your lessons is to achieve a balance between 1) writing at the sentence level. Lower level students will not be able to complete these writing tasks in which case you may want to develop their general writing skills. Make sure students learn the correct spelling of words. using new vocabulary. This will help to make your course a truly integrated one. This encourages them to refer to the text to locate the answers and discourages them from choosing an answer which might reflect their own opinion or on the basis of similar vocabulary alone. planning an essay. For example. ask them to consider each distracter/option and to say why they eliminated the distracters as well as why they selected the correct answer. you can encourage them to take an active approach to learning vocabulary by recording new words and ensuring that they attempt to actively use them as often as possible. You can help to improve your students’ writing skills by focusing on writing when you are working on other skill areas. Copying incorrectly will lead to loss of marks. checking and correcting your own work.   Make sure that you focus in the writing process as well as on the testing process. it is equally important to develop planning skills. ask students to justify why they have chosen a particular answer.  Try to provide a balance of activities so that you do not always focus on grammatical accuracy. A few ideas are listed below:  Make sure that your students are at the right level before they attempt the academic writing tasks. using the correct style.

Tell them when they will be due. One way to deal with this is to highlight the mistakes which are often repeated in a particular color. Cohesion can be taught through highlighting.  To do well in an exam situation. You may choose to produce one whole essay as a class onto an OHT. and checking understanding of cohesive devices such as conjunctions. Giving Feedback  Explain exactly what will happen to the writing they produce. your students should count up how many of these mistakes there are and keep a record.  Make it clear from the start of your course how many pieces of writing you expect your students to produce. You could ask them to write ideas onto large sheets of paper. Make sure that you encourage your students to actively participate in their own learning process. Give students practice in varying the content and style of their writing using a range of audiences. Increase your students’ motivation to write by making their writing more important. students need to perform independently of their teacher.  Make sure students understand and are familiar with the terms coherence and cohesion. in a poster format. ask your students to swap with a partner and ask them to check for common mistakes. though you will need to make sure you explain this to your students. Point out to your students that these mistakes are the careless mistakes that they should be checking for in the last few minutes of the exam.  Vary the class organization. Train your students to be aware of the benefits of using a clear structure when they write. If your classes are usually teacher-centered then you may need to train your students by organizing more student-centered activities. the conventions of essay writing and letter writing. .e. you could make written comments and give general feedback to the class. a beginning or introduction is followed by the body then the ending or conclusion. they will develop an expectation to be writing at a particular time. lexical sets.  Students often make the same mistakes. articles and possessive adjectives. the structure of a paragraph. i. Do not correct them. or they could write onto OHTs so that the ideas may be discussed as a class. in pairs. If you have a large class. They may write individually. it may help to adopt a marking scheme. or as a group.   Encourage your students to build up a portfolio of their writing and to look back at their progress from time to time. When the essays are handed back. correction and feedback and let your students know what to expect. Will they be given feedback one or two days later or will this take longer? Will they be expected to re-write their essays? Decide where. You can also get each student to commit to this at the start of the course. They should aim to reduce this number as much as possible throughout your course. Coherence in IELTS is shown through: logical organization. or showing them to a different teacher. and make sure they are aware of how to do this by teaching the typical layout of letters and essays. Think about where. to put around the classroom. when and how you will give feedback on accuracy to your students. when and how you will handle marking. topic sentences and signaling phrases. pronouns. It is often easier to spot mistakes in someone else’s writing.   Explain the importance of considering the audience and purpose of a piece of writing.  When they have completed an essay in class. You can also vary the reader of their work by swapping essays with a different class or with their classmates. If you set this into their weekly timetable. If you cannot discuss their mistakes individually. You can do this by ‘publishing’ their work around the classroom or in a class journal. Any means you can use to get your students writing will help.

make sure students are aware of the appropriate level of formality and style for essays and the patterns of order of organization for the various types of discursive writing (e.Task Completion . It is important to develop their writing skills as well as to give them exam practice.Good use of.  Timed writing practice is essential for your students to be able to do their best in the exam. it is important that students become familiar with letter writing conventions: appropriate style and level of formality of language. Emphasize that they should describe some of the more significant information in detail but it may be difficult or impossible to describe every detail given the time limitation.  For Academic Writing Task 2.  For Academic Writing Task 1.  Train your students to use a checklist for content. They need to develop a feel for how to plan. make sure they are ready for taking the appropriate IELTS Writing paper.) and that they can quickly understand and extract the key trends and features of them.. discussing advantages and disadvantages. Give your students writing tasks appropriate to their level. task completion.Areas to improve next time. discuss with them which part takes longer to complete. . In your feedback. write and check their answers within the time allowed. you should make sure to include comments on: the use of arguments. process. giving their own opinion). and a clear purpose.. When students are familiar with each task. appropriate order of information.  Make sure that you focus on the positive aspects of their writing as well as areas that need to be improved. . communicative quality. Preparing Students for IELTS Writing In addition to helping students with their writing skills in general. etc. it may be helpful to get your students to write on paper which is pre-printed with a feedback section at the end.g. Break down the tasks and focus on developing their skills. evaluating evidence. Vary the focus of your correction to teach your students that factors other than grammatical accuracy are important. Lower level students will not gain anything from tackling the full writing tasks before they are ready. pie chart. Timed writing practice can be done in class and also for homework so that your students become less dependent on you telling them to stop one task and begin the next. coherence and cohesion.  Make sure that you focus on the writing process as well as on the testing process. and 3) their writing communicates well. graph. Give plenty of practice in this. 2) their ideas are well-organized with sufficient supporting evidence. it is important that students become familiar with a wide range of types of data (table. bar chart. such as the following: . appropriate openings and closings. You can do this by giving students essays to write in their own time at home as well as timed essays in class under exam conditions. You can then work out possible timings with them. A few specific tips are listed below:    Make sure that your students are familiar with the format of the Writing paper and the answer sheet. planning and organization.  For General Training Writing Task 1. ideas and evidence. diagram. appropriate layout. When checking their answer at the end they should be sure to carefully re-read their answer to check that 1) they have addressed the task fully and no important details are missing.  If your class size is very large.

number of speakers and topics. and the type of listening required. etc.g. Encourage students to work on their listening outside the classroom. Give students practice at the different task types – e. real-life speakers – with tasks aimed at developing confidence and motivation. so they can activate their existing knowledge. multiple choice. Give students plenty of practice with a variety of texts – e. videos. Use a variety of media to develop students’ listening skills more formally through listening to recorded materials. make sure you have a range of accents. Give plenty of practice in this. lectures. labeling a diagram. For General Training Task 2. news broadcasts. recording lengths. Select listening tasks on topics related to the students' knowledge and interests to increase motivation and accustom students to using their real-world knowledge. monologues. for example:            Give students plenty of opportunity to develop their listening skills in the classroom through listening to and interacting with the teacher and other students. This could be done by playing the first few seconds of a recording. evaluating evidence. giving their own opinion). to develop the ability to handle two skills at once. There is an increasing number of opportunities for students of English to listen to different varieties of English through leisure and educational activities on video and TV. sentence completion. make sure students are aware of the appropriate level of formality and style for essays and the patterns of order of organization for the various types of discursive writing (e. as well as through interaction with other speakers of English. through songs or computer and internet activities.g. . conversations. songs.g. When using recorded materials. writing and speaking as much as possible so that students become accustomed to using more than one skill in English at the same time. Don’t neglect using opportunities for listening in a range of non-exam formats – e.g. Developing General Listening Skills There are many ways of helping students to develop their listening skills in English. etc. Integrate listening with reading. discussing advantages and disadvantages. Preparing Students for IELTS Listening  Always allow students time to read the instructions and questions before starting the recording so that they can focus on the relevant parts. Make sure that students are quite clear about what they have to do for each task type. Always provide students with sufficient information about the context and purpose before they listen.  Give students plenty of practice in writing information while they are listening. Use pre-listening activities to remind students of what they already know about the topic and the related language before they listen.

Also give plenty of good models of correct pronunciation either yourself or from recordings.  Encourage students to practice speaking on their own. even .when checking answers . and give students access to scripts at this stage. or an imaginary situation? The tenses and verb forms they use in their answer should consistently reflect the requirements of the question. Allow students opportunity to practice their pronunciation alone.  Train your students in pronunciation both as part of a speaking activity and independently. Emphasize that students should try not to panic if they miss an answer.before and after class.outside the class . There are many short activities which focus on discrete sounds.  If your students are reluctant speakers. as well as give them practice in using their grammatical and lexical knowledge in context. train students to study the question carefully: does it relate to a past event. simply speaking gives them the opportunity to try different ways of saying things. Allow plenty of time for checking and discussion of answers. This will improve students' confidence and 'loosen their tongues'.      Give students practice in listening to recordings once only. a present habit. through drilling. Also remind students that they can expect that the information required to answer each question will be found in the same order as the questions themselves. Use English yourself at all times with your students: .  For Part 2. When they are used to doing this. They can use this information to activate their existing knowledge about the topic area by thinking about what the listening text might contain. Train them to pay attention to spelling and grammar in their answers.  Train students to use the time at the beginning and end of each section usefully (either to read through the questions or to check their answers). use topics and lexis from reading and listening texts to set up discussions or related tasks. Give students ample practice in transferring their answers to the answer sheet quickly and accurately within the 10-minute time limit. but should instead look ahead and carry on listening carefully for the following questions. e.when giving feedback . you can slowly introduce other longer and more directed speaking activities and tasks. for example:  Make sure your students always speak English in the classroom. Train students to pay careful attention right at the beginning of each section so that they hear all the useful information about the situation and the speakers. Even though there is no response or feedback. which can help to increase confidence. Describing what you see around you and what is happening in the street when you walk or drive somewhere.  Integrate speaking skills into other class work. predicting the events of the day in the morning and then remembering them at night. Developing General Speaking Skills There are many ways of helping students to develop their speaking skills in English. stress and intonation patterns. or by encouraging them to use a recording facility.g. get them involved in a 5-minute discussion in pairs or groups at the beginning or end of every lesson on a current event or issue. and as much as possible outside it.

all these give additional practice in expressing ideas in English and ‘loosening the tongue’. second. sometimes on a specific structure or lexical set they have recently studied. even when the main focus is on another skill. and why. give students ample opportunity to discuss ideas amongst themselves. give students plenty of practice in speaking about themselves. to small groups or pairs. finally. They know you are listening!  Focus your feedback on different things. Preparing Students for IELTS Speaking        Make sure students are aware of the different sections of the test and the assessment criteria.  Be aware yourself of how much and how often your students are speaking to each other in the classroom outside specific speaking activities. Where appropriate. To practice Part 3. reviewing and praising progress in subsequent weeks. as well as setting new targets. as you walk around the supermarket. .telling yourself what you need. so you can note things down. Sometimes this should be on the IELTS Speaking assessment criteria. Try not to write when your students are looking at you – it will put them off and they will start to focus more on your pen than on what they are talking about. or to individuals. get your students to correct themselves or each other too. where you can discuss strengths and weaknesses more discreetly. train students to respond quickly and fully to a variety of written tasks. Don’t always give all the corrections yourself. train students to think about and organize what they are going to say in 1 minute. give students practice in talking about a wide range of topics. For Part 2. For Part 2. Giving Feedback    Give feedback of some kind every time students do a speaking activity. and set objectives for the student to work on.   Don't overcorrect. For Parts 2 and 3. Always have paper and pen in hand when monitoring. give feedback or pick up on any good or weak aspects you notice. Make two columns.  Discourage students from giving one word answers unless it is appropriate. Organize weekly individual tutorials. Writing them on the board or on sheets of paper is effective.  Make sure the students are clear about the corrections. as well as what they are getting wrong. Feedback should be positive as well as negative – tell your students what they do well. one for things your students are doing well and the other for mistakes. etc.) and train them to keep their ideas going by asking themselves question words: Why? When? How? etc. they won't mind where you are in the room. and sometimes you can just focus in general on how they perform. Vary how you give feedback: to the whole class. For Parts 2 and 3. For Part 1. And don't feel you always have to be up close to monitor – once your students know that you are going to give feedback. encourage students to use discourse markers (first.