BRIDGE the Gap Between Authentic Materials and Exams: Using Bridge Magazine to Prepare Students for International Exams and Maturita BRNO TROY WITT March 22th 2013 OVERVIEW OF THE SEMINAR • • • • • PART A: Theory & Practice (25 mins) PART B: Reading (45 mins) PART C: Speaking (45 mins) PART D: Writing (45 mins) PART E: Conclusions (20 mins) WHY B2? Today we’ll focus on the CEFR B2 level. • • • While B1 is the common level of achievement expected of students leaving secondary school, B2 is often required for university entrance. It is the most widely taught and tested level. Most employers use this level (with a corresponding certificate) as the benchmark for potential job candidates. PART A: Theory & Practice This part of the seminar will… • Examine the pros and cons of ‘international’ or ‘standardized’ exam systems as a language proficiency assessment tool • Explore the challenges we face as teachers in preparing our students for success in these exams • Consider the value of using authentic materials in the classroom STANDARIZED EXAMS PROS CONS • There is value in having a standard against which students can be measured. • An official ‘qualification’ is an asset in both the higher-educational and professional spheres. • Can be a motivator: some students are driven best by tangible goals and achievements, such as an exam certificate. • The ‘one size fits all’ format does not account for different types of students and their individual learning approaches. • The best students can be the worst test takers; so what does an exam result actually tell us in practical terms? • Can be a demotivator: some students aren’t able to relate a certificate to actual progress in their learning, or become threatened by the prospect of sitting an exam. EXAM PREPARATION? “If students who are preparing for an exam only ever look at test types, discuss exam technique, and take practice tests, lessons may become monotonous. There is also the possibility that general English improvement will be compromised at the expense of exam preparation.” Jeremy Harmer The Practice of English Language Teaching “A common problem with exam preparation classes arises when too much time is spent on exam technique and not enough on other areas.” Jim Scrivener Learning Teaching AS TEACHERS To me, exam preparation is… worth the effort a challenge a necessary evil a waste of time a mystery AUTHENTIC MATERIAL Why use authentic material in your class? • • • • Standarized exams aim to test a candidate’s proficiency in ‘real-world’ situations, which authentic resources are derived from. The ‘contrived’ construction of TEFL materials means that many natural aspects of communication are lost. Authentic materials reinforce the relationship between the classroom and the outside world, where proficiency will truly be tested. Whereas TEFL materials are tend to restrict focus to a particular linguistic point, authentic materials combine a variety of relevant linguistic elements. BRIDGE magazine provides a source of authentic materials that can be used to practice the skills tested in standardized exams as well as Maturita. PART B: READING This part of the seminar will… • • Review the different reading tasks of the City & Guilds B2 Communicator paper, and the skills required of a candidate in each Provide practical ideas and exercises for using authentic material from Bridge magazine to develop these skills CITY & GUILDS: Reading Parts 1 – 4 COMMUNICATOR LEVEL B2 DESCRIPTION SKILL Reading Part 1: Multiple Choice One long text Six four-option multiple choice questions understand in detail information, ideas and opinions Reading Part 2: Sentence Insertion One text with six sentences removed Choice of eight sentences to choose from to complete the six gaps understand how meaning is built up in a text Reading Part 3: Multiple Matching Four short texts with a linked theme, but with a different purpose Nine multiple matching questions to identify information from the texts understand the purpose of text and to locate specific information and awareness of writers’ stance and attitude Reading Part 4: Short Answers One long text Nine open-ended ‘wh’ questions requiring short answers understand specific information through detailed reading READING: CITY & GUILDS vs. MATURITA TASK CITY & GUILDS MATURITA Multiple Choice 1 3/1 Sentence Insertion 2 n/a Multiple Matching 3 4 Short Answers 4 n/a READING PART 1: Multiple Choice READING PART 1: Multiple Choice A candidate needs to… • • • Locate and extract detailed information, ideas & opinions (scanning) Understand overall meaning, context or genre (often required in the final question) Avoid distractors that lead to incorrect options BRIDGE: How I Didn’t Make It To The NHL December 2012, pgs 12-13 READING PART 1: A BRIDGE to Multiple Choice • In pairs, read the first section of the article. Partner A should summarize section 1 for Partner B in his/her own words, and finish doing so by completing the following sentence: “The main idea of this section is…” • Alternate roles with your partner and repeat the process for the remaining sections. • Focus on the section of the article assigned to you by the teacher. With your partner, create two multiple choice questions: Question 1 – focus on the ‘main idea’ that you have already talked about. Question 2 – focus on a ‘specific detail’ (hint: you can use the phrases in bold). • Write out the correct answer first, and then add three distractors. • Test your classmates with your questions! READING PART 3: Multiple Matching READING PART 3: Multiple Matching A candidate needs to… • Locate and extract specific information • Demonstrate extended comprehension skills, by recognizing parallel structures and rephrasing of content • Understand the purpose of a text, or the authors position or attitude • Recognize different text structures such as an email, brochure, advert etc. BRIDGE: Strange But True September 2012, pg 19, October 2012 pg 23 READING PART 3: A BRIDGE to Multiple Matching • On a piece of paper, write the following (with a little space in between): A. Which text… ? B. Which text answers the following questions? • Read the first text. Working with a partner, choose 2 facts that you both found interesting. State the facts using you own words—don’t just repeat the words from the text. • Using your first fact, finish A above (again using your own words!). For B, write a full question that uses your second fact as the answer. • Repeat the process for the other two texts (hint: You can make this more interesting by looking for a similar element in two or more texts, and base you question on that). • Test your classmates who've read the other texts with your questions! READING PART 4: Short Answers READING PART 4: Short Answers A candidate needs to… • • • • Locate and extract specific information, and determine which is key Comprehend the overall purpose or intent of a text Rephrase information (being concise, word formation) Be familiar with different text types such as narratives, instructions, biographies, articles, descriptions etc. BRIDGE: Radio Elegance October 2012, pgs 4-5 READING PART 4: A BRIDGE to Short Answers • • • • • • In pairs, read the first section of the article. Partner A should summarize section 1 for Partner B in his/her own words. Working together, choose two interesting sentences that are factual and underline them. Alternate roles with your partner and repeat the process for the remaining sections (you should have underlined eight sentences in total). Read the factual sentences you underlined again. For each, write a ‘WH’ question that uses your sentence as the answer. Test your classmates with your questions! PART C: SPEAKING This part of the seminar will… • • Review the different speaking tasks of the City & Guilds B2 Communicator paper, and the skills required of a candidate in each Provide practical ideas and exercises for using authentic material from Bridge magazine to develop these skills CITY & GUILDS: Speaking Parts 1 – 4 COMMUNICATOR LEVEL B2 DESCRIPTION TIME Speaking Part 1: Personal Information The candidate is asked questions on various topics and must answer by drawing on his/her own experiences and opinions. 2 mins Speaking Part 2: Situational Roleplays Two or three situations are presented by the interlocutor and candidates are required to respond to or initiate interactions. 2 mins Speaking Part 3: Interactive Task Using differing sets of input information, the candidate and interlocutor hold a discussion to make a plan, arrange or decided something 3 mins Speaking Part 4: Long Turn After 30 seconds of preparation time talk (2-3 minutes) about a topic provided by the interlocutor and answer follow-up questions. 3 mins http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6IslWVtZ3g SPEAKING: CITY & GUILDS vs. MATURITA TASK CITY & GUILDS MATURITA Personal Information 1 1 Situational Roleplays 2 n/a Interactive Task 3 4 Long Turn 4 3 BRIDGE: Looking For A Family December 2012, pgs 6-7 Start by doing a ‘paired’ reading! SPEAKING PART 1: Personal Information SPEAKING PART 1:Personal Information A candidate needs to… • Employ level-appropriate lexis for a wide range of subject areas • Communicate personal information and experiences • Express opinions and ideas SPEAKING PART 1: A BRIDGE to Personal Information • • • With a partner, answer the following questions: The main topic of the article is…. The subtopics the article talks about are… Think about the topics and subtopics you’ve mentioned: Choose two, and create a related question that asks about someone’s personal experience with each. With the other two, create a related question that asks about someone’s opinion on each. Ask and answer the questions with your partner! Here’s something to start you off… SPEAKING PART 3: Interactive Task SPEAKING PART 3: Interactive Task A candidate needs to… • • • • Prepare and a deliver a cohesive discourse that moves through a series of points and concludes Utilize situation-appropriate functional language Exchange information (provision and reception) Co-operate in order to reach an agreement or decision SPEAKING PART 3: A BRIDGE to Interactive Task • • • • With your partner, answer the following: What is the main question/issue the article raises? OR What is the most important decision that needs to be made? Think about four factors/ideas that could influence this question/issue help make this decision. Fill in the ‘Decision Maker’ and then use it as basis to discuss which factors/ideas are the best or most important, how each would affect the decision, the consequences of each etc. Try to come to some consensus about the ‘best way forward!’ The Decision Maker SPEAKING PART 4: Long Turn SPEAKING PART 4: Long Turn A candidate needs to… • Construct a cohesive and coherent narrative, or organize an argument with support • Make use of appropriate lexis to support a theme or concept • Clearly communicate ideas and express opinions SPEAKING PART 4: A BRIDGE to Long Turn • • • • • With a partner, answer the following questions (remember Part 1?): The main topic of the article is…. The subtopics the article talks about are… For the main topic you’ve mentioned, write a ‘topic sentence’ that could be used as a basis for a talk. For the subtopic you’ve mentioned, write 3 related questions. Return to the topic sentence, and take 30 seconds to think about your talk or make some notes. Give your one-and-a-half minute talk to your partner, who will then ask you the follow-up questions PART D: WRITING This part of the seminar will… • Review the structure and format the City & Guilds B2 Communicator writing paper, and the skills is required of a candidate to successfully complete it • Provide practical ideas and exercises for using authentic material from Bridge magazine to develop these skills CITY & GUILDS: Writing Parts 1 – 4 COMMUNICATOR LEVEL B2 DESCRIPTION LENGTH Writing Part 1: Transactional Task Respond appropriately to a given text, graphic or visual input to produce a response for an intended public audience 100 – 150 words Writing Part 2: Personal Writing Produce a personal letter, a narrative or descriptive composition 150 – 200 words City & Guilds Part 1 corresponds directly to Maturita Part 1. ASSESSING WRITING CRITERIA DESCRIPTION task fulfillment A measure of how far the candidate has achieved/addressed the task. Has the candidate done what was asked (eg “Write four sentences” – are there four sentences?) grammar vocabulary structure A measure of the range, appropriacy and accuracy of grammar. A measure of the range, accuracy and appropriacy of vocabulary. This criterion also includes spelling accuracy. A measure of coherence and cohesion. How the text is put together. Is there an attempt to link the ideas and to organise them in a coherent manner? We also look at the accurate use of punctuation in this criterion. WRITING PART 1: Transactional Task WRITING PART 1: Transactional Task A candidate needs to… • • • Organize the piece of writing in a logical way, to include all four content points Understand and be familiar with the structural elements of the writing form required (in this case an article) Produce a coherent, cohesive final product that demonstrates the above BRIGE: Carnival and Jazz September 2012, pgs 14-15 Start by doing a ‘paired’ reading! WRITING PART 1: A BRIDGE to Transactional Task • • • • Review the article checklist, and try to identify the as many points as possible through examples. Identify the main theme of the article, by completing the following sentence: “This article is really about…” Use the ‘Article Creator’ to create a task based on the main theme. Write your article in 100 – 150 words. An ARTICLE Checklist Is intended for a public audience Needs an interesting title Uses a semi-formal register, and may include 1st person narrative Uses literary devices (rhetorical questions, exclamations, exaggeration or overstatement etc.) to engage the reader Provides an overview and other relevant information on the subject being written about Includes the author’s personal opinion or feelings Finishes by summarizing the main point and restating the author’s opinion The Article Creator PART E: Conclusions This part of the seminar will… • Provide and overview of both Bridge and City & Guilds and their work here in the Czech Republic • Review and summarize the main points of the seminar BRIDGE and GATE THE EASY WAY TO ENGLISH BRIDGE (B1 – B2) UPPER SECONDARY GYMNAZIUM International Tests Exam and Fun topics Language Pages Brain Teaser CD (songs + articles) Speaking Cards Film + Tasks Maps E-book, Comic strips Competitions Facebook GATE (A1 – A2) UPPER PRIMARY LOWER SECONDARY International Tests School and Fun Topics Language Pages Poster Comic strips CD (songs + articles) Speaking Cards Film + Tasks Maps Competitions Facebook CITY & GUILDS CEFR IESOL* ISESOL** A1 Breakthrough Preliminary Preliminary A2 Waystage Access Access B1 Threshold Achiever Achiever B2 Vantage Communicator Communicator C1 EOP Expert Expert C2 Mastery Mastery Mastery *International English for Speakers of Other Languages (listening, reading, writing) *International Spoken English for Speakers of Other Languages (speaking) CITY & GUILDS • • • British examining and certification body providing 50% of the UK’s vocational qualifications. City & Guilds ČR organizes exams in English through 30 approved testing centres. City & Guilds exams in English: General English exams: IESOL (written) + ISESOL (spoken) Business English exams: EBC (written) + SETB (spoken) Exams for Young learners: YESOL (written) + YSESOL (spoken) CITY & GUILDS Some important exam features… • • • • • • • benchmarked to the CEFR (6 levels) valid for life recognized internationally based on the communicative method assessed by independent examiners in London (both the written and spoken exams) flexible preparation materials recognized by many Czech universities http://www.cityandguilds.cz/index.php?cat=5-21-2 SOME ADVANTAGES… BRIDGE • • • Provides current material, and thus doesn’t become ‘dated’ as a course book can Contains Czech-based content, bringing more engagement and relevance to students Provides teachers with something new and original that can be added to their classroom on a monthly basis CITY & GUILDS • • • Is based on accessible content: topics, themes and scenarios with ‘day-to-day’ applications Offers a candidate-friendly structure: students can sit separate exams at different levels, offered on a monthly basis Allows teachers flexibility in terms of preparation material: an ‘exam prep course book’ is not required IN SUMMARY… • • • • • Exam preparation needs to be more than direct task practice; there are a multitude of alternative methods than can be implemented to develop the required skills for success. As standarized exams (including Maturita) are all based on the use of similar testing methods, a wide range of material can be utilized for preparation. This material should be examined, adapted and implemented in order to not only reinforce examine-relevant skills, but promote greater proficiency in general. Bridge magazine contains a great variety of authentic materials that suit this purpose, and provides diverse and stimulating content for students. City & Guilds exams are likewise based on authentic material, and test a student’s skills and aptitudes in a real-word context. www.bridge-online.cz www.cityandguilds.cz www.cityandguildsenglish.com THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME!