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IELTS info and teaching materials
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madeira



Joined: 13 Jun 2004
Posts: 182
Location: Oppama

PostPosted: Sun Jul 09, 2006 9:41 pm    Post subject: IELTS info and teaching materials Reply with quote

I have a few students who need to get very high IELTS scores... and I'm not really familiar with the test. (Very familiar with TOEFL and TOEIC).

I need info/materials on the IELTS scoring criteria, especially the speaking and writing sections. I've looked at a few scored samples, and the difference between the bands is unclear.

Also need more samples of the questions/subjects that may come up in the speaking section.

I've looked around the 'net, and it seems like the British Council wants cash for info. Well, I'm not getting paid for this... so any info you have would be good. Seems like the IELTS has a huge range of tests, too.

Where to go for info if nobody here has any? Do you think the library would have teaching and scoring info?


(Off topic: These students are all muslim men. Will there be any issues if I use my livingroom for lessons? These guys are good guys and are very serious students... but I don't know the culture here yet. Can use a coffeeshop if it's not a good idea.)

Help! Thanks!
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Afra



Joined: 02 Feb 2003
Posts: 389

PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 4:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Try this
http://www.ielts.org/default.aspx

And a 'helpful' quote from the Handbook!

"Assessment of performance in IELTS depends on how the
candidate’s ability in English relates to the language demands
of courses of study or training, not on reaching a fixed pass mark.
The appropriate level required for a given course of study or
training is ultimately something which institutions/departments/
colleges must decide in the light of knowledge of their own
courses and their experience of overseas students taking them."

As to using your living room; ask the students. It wouldn't have been a problem when I taught Arab Muslims in the UK and I'm sure they'll say if they don't like the idea.
Also, have a look Instant IELTS Ready-to-use tasks and activities by Guy Brook-Hart. It's a photocopiable resource book published by CUP
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madeira



Joined: 13 Jun 2004
Posts: 182
Location: Oppama

PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 12:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks! That site does have some info., not just links to stuff you can buy. At least it gives me an idea of what will make them lose points.

It's going to be interesting working with these students; I've only had Japanese students before, and I'm sure the problems are quite different. The most obvious ones so far are being quite late to class... and a tendency to babble on even if they don't understand the question.

The guys prefer to come to the house, so I guess it's fine.
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kaw



Joined: 31 Mar 2003
Posts: 302
Location: somewhere hot and sunny

PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2006 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Having been in the Middle East now for a few years now I think you'll find that one of the biggest problems Arab students (in general) have is their poor writing ability. This is obvious in not only the students I teach but when marking IELTS exams.
Unfortunately, the exact marking for IELTS exams is pretty much a 'trade secret' - to the extent that examiners can lost there examiner status if they reveal hints and tips to their students.
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madeira



Joined: 13 Jun 2004
Posts: 182
Location: Oppama

PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2006 3:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thought as much... although, looking at the website Afra posted and at the tons of marked samples I have... it seems like the scoring is rather dependent on the scorer. Not so much 'secret' criteria as, um... not there, really. Or guidelines only...

I haven't seen any writing samples yet; sent them all home with 'silly' assignments last class. (White eggs are superior to brown eggs, that kind of thing..) Just checking if they can use the format and write legibly.

They have no problem giving opinions, but so far can't back them up. Grammar isn't terrible, but generally they can't use if clauses and mix their tenses. Pronunciation is mushy, but I'm not sure how much time to devote to it, as I speak Western North American... and they need to communicate in the UK.

Anyhoo, interesting stuff. We'll see if I can help them jump a band or two...
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SueH



Joined: 01 Feb 2003
Posts: 1022
Location: Northern Italy

PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 9:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Go on, give the pronunciation some work. A London accent is different to an RP accent from an 'Ampshire, Geordie, Scouse, Norfolk.... That's if they're talking to someone from the UK in the first place, and in London, as you've probably noticed, the chances are a lot less than elsewhere in the country!

Might be worth looking at word and sentence stress perhaps which is always a favourite forgenerating difficulties in understanding.
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kaw



Joined: 31 Mar 2003
Posts: 302
Location: somewhere hot and sunny

PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 5:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pron is important but as long as theirs doesn't cause any difficulties for the listener they should be ok.
Some other ideas re:writing - make sure that students answer the question set.....it's a problem I've found when both marking as a examiner and marking my own student's work. It's also very important to look at structuring, dicourse markers etc....
You have mentioned anything about whether they are doing the general/academic paper - basically - academic for Universities and General for everything else - it has to be said that the general paper does generally seem easier.
I'd suggest getting them to do a 'mock test' firt (any of the IELTS coursebooks should have this) to give you some idea of where they are already - and finally - do they know what band they need - you'd be suprised how many don't.
I'd also suggest that they do some 'general reading' - in terms of quality newspapers/mgazines to give them more ideas for anything that may be thrown at them in the writing tasks.
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madeira



Joined: 13 Jun 2004
Posts: 182
Location: Oppama

PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2006 8:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good tips, all.

So far, every student is studying for the academic test. Some need an average 6.5, one needs a 7 in all areas. Some haven't decided on a school yet...

They've all taken the test at least once... and most need to jump a full band. Given that they can only come to class a few hours/week... I hope they don't expect quick results!

The texts I have indicate that the test is to be written, not input on a computer. Is this still true?
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kaw



Joined: 31 Mar 2003
Posts: 302
Location: somewhere hot and sunny

PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2006 7:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yep - you're right is all written so having handwriting that is legible is essential - I know that sounds really obvious but you'd be suprised.
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madeira



Joined: 13 Jun 2004
Posts: 182
Location: Oppama

PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 5:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So far, so good. Writing is legible, they're writing to the questions, giving opinions... learning to back them up. They need to work on guessing the situations in the graph tasks and on writing about real information in the second, but basically they'll be fine. They're making complex sentences without too much trouble, and are able to self-correct most of their grammar mistakes.

Need.. to.. learn.. how.. to ..keep..them..on..topic..in the oral tasks. A lot of the topics that have come up have degenerated into 'Jews are the scourge of the Earth'.... (example subjects: TV is beneficial to society. Online banking is convenient. Factory farming is superior to small farms.)

Yikes and more yikes. Seems like they've all read the Protocols of the Elders of Zion or something.

Is this a common problem?
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kaw



Joined: 31 Mar 2003
Posts: 302
Location: somewhere hot and sunny

PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2006 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Something that applies to task 2 of the writing as well as the speaking - things don't have to be true...
In task 2 as long as they can think of logical examples and arguments then they should be ok and the speaking - advise them to make things up if they really can't think of anything. The examiner won't know it isn't true. It is a very fake situation really - how often in the real world do we have to talk about something bizarre for 1-2 minutes.
A prime example of this is a candidate I had the other week who is a natvie speaker (she was from South Africa) but needs IELTS for Australia immigration. She found it quite tough to talk about whatever rubbish it was.
Just make sure they talk and be prepared for pretty much anything.
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DaXiangLouis



Joined: 05 Sep 2005
Posts: 30

PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2006 12:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The IELTS website has a full run-down of the band descriptors for both speaking and writing. The public version available on the site doesn't have as much detail as the full examiners' version, but there's enough there for you to get the gist.

Here are the links...

Writing Task 1:
http://www.ielts.org/_lib/pdf/UOBDs_WritingT1.pdf

Writing Task 2:
http://www.ielts.org/_lib/pdf/UOBDs_WritingT2.pdf

Speaking:
http://www.ielts.org/_lib/pdf/UOBDs_SpeakingFinal.pdf
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madeira



Joined: 13 Jun 2004
Posts: 182
Location: Oppama

PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2006 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

All good stuff, thanks! One student made it to band 7 on the writing test. Yay!

How do you become an examiner for IELTS? (Also VERY interested in the new TOEIC test).
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DaXiangLouis



Joined: 05 Sep 2005
Posts: 30

PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2006 7:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The system for being an IELTS examiner seems to vary slightly from country to country. In China (where I was doing it until recently), it's all controlled through the BC, but the centres here seem to have more autonomy. So in the UK, you have to find a nearby centre and apply direct.

I think they want Dip + 2 years' post-dip experience these days (but don't quote me on that). You have to attend a training and standardisation session , and mark some interviews / writing scripts. If you get some wrong, you have a second chance to get them right. If you don't get it the second time, you have to wait and re-do the training. Once you're through, you get your examiner number and away you go...
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kaw



Joined: 31 Mar 2003
Posts: 302
Location: somewhere hot and sunny

PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2006 3:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not sure if you need the Dip+2 years experience. I did my examining last year without the Dip and several others in the same boat - but maybe things have changed....
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