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Teaching IELTS to lower level students

 
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bamb00zle



Joined: 13 Apr 2011
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 9:52 am    Post subject: Teaching IELTS to lower level students Reply with quote

Hi,

I am a fairly inexperienced IELTS teacher who's recently gained two individuals who want to do the IELTS exam. They are timetabled by the school, so not private students really. They are both about Pre-Int, one is weaker than the other - at a guess I'd say one is a band 3.5-4.0 and the other 3.0-3.5. They both want to emigrate and both need scores of around 6.5 to get their visa. Both ideally want to get that score in about a year (quite unrealistic maybe?)

Anyway, the school I work for is dogshit and they don't give any support, just chuck you in at the deep end. So, what I want to know is:

1) What key skills should I focus them on more to help them get nearer?
2) What IELTS based tasks should I give them even at this early stage to get them orientated to the exam?
3) We are using Headway Pre-Int with them. Should I just continue basing most of my lessons on the content in this or switch to a specfic IELTS book?
4) On that subject, which IELTS books are decent for lower level candidates?
5) Should I introduce them to higher level vocab with them at this stage?
6) What kind of topics usually come up in the listening and reading parts?
7) Which would you say is more important for them to start going up the bands; knowledge of lexis or use of grammar?

Sorry for the desperate post but I don't want to do a half-arsed job but there's really no place else I can get advice from.

Thanks for any help!
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 9697
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 10:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not a realistic expectation to shoot them up three whole bands on the IELTS scale, as you say. Even within a year. Sorry, this sounds almost insoluble. Depends a lot on the learners, really. What's their L1? Previous education etc?

But, in any case, you will need to use an IELTS course book in addition to general English materials. 'Foundation' is a good place to start for lower level learners.

Best of luck to you. You have my sympathies

S
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Perilla



Joined: 09 Jul 2010
Posts: 783
Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 10:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Totally agree with Sasha - moving up 3 bands in a year is virtually impossible under normal circumstances. Maybe with keen students in total immersion in an English speaking country, but otherwise I'd say no way.

I was an IELTS examiner for 10 years and taught IELTS skills for two years to lower intermediate adults. The courses lasted about six months with a total of 90 hours' classtime (I think). At a guess I'd say they improved by 1 band at best.

Definitely use a targeted IELTS coursebook rather than a generic text like Headspace. I can't recall the names of the two I used but they were both OK. They need to do loads of practice based on the four IELTS tests - and good IELTS course book will provide this. It helps hugely just for the candidate to know what to expect on test day - worth .5 of a band IMO.
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 9697
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 11:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perilla, if you agree with me one more time, then we are going to have a serious barney! What's the world coming to?! : )

Anyway, here's the book I was referring to. Specially for lower-level learners:

http://www.macmillanenglish.com/Product.aspx?id=24362
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