Sunday, January 13, 2013

Batteries of Tests in the Course Library - Speaking Test B2

Principles of Testing - Practicality

Test Types and Their Corresponding Elements

Module 14 - Assessment Purposes

Tips for Lesson Planning

Step 2.2 - Lesson Planning

What do you think are the difficulties of preparing lesson plans?

Lesson planning produces many valuable benefits:

Here are some problems (and potential problems) that we noticed:

• Aimless wandering
• Failure to achieve objectives
• Needed teaching materials or equipment not available, and
• Poor connection with preceding or subsequent lessons  

If you don't plan your lesson properly you may fall into several traps:
Your teaching may wander aimlessly without ever achieving its objective, and you and your students may never achieve the objectives of the course. Or you may show up to teach and find that you didn't bring the necessary materials or equipment. What you teach may not relate to what you taught earlier and it may not lead to what you will teach later.
In sum, lack of planning can lead to the following consequences:
  • Poor or reduced learning,
  • Frustration (for both the teacher and the students), and
  • A waste of time, effort and money

Lesson Planning Graphic

The “Used to” Lesson Plan

Main aim
  • To develop students’ ability to talk about past habits using “used to” in the context of childhood and addictions.
How will I know if this aim has been achieved?
  • Students will, during the less restricted practice stage, use the target language with sufficient accuracy for their partner to understand their past habits.
Subsidiary aims
  • To develop students’ ability to listen for the main ideas in a text.
  • To improve students’ ability to talk about the topic of addictions by introducing an “addiction” lexical set.
Personal aims
  • Give students more time to discuss in pairs after a listening activity before feedback.
  • Realia – chocolate, cigarettes, coffee, a PC
  • Pictures or short video clips of children playing on swings, dressing up for Halloween, studying at school.
  • Listening CD and photocopies of tapescript from Language To Go Intermediate (Longman, 2002) lesson 11.
  • Photocopies of handout for each student.
Anticipated problems and solutions
  • Problem: Students may be unable to think of three things they did as a child but don’t do now on the spur of the moment.
  • Solution: Provide prompts and examples if necessary.
  • Problem: Students will not be familiar with “to give up”, to quit”, “to cut down on” in the listening text.
  • Solution: Elicit these items in the context of addictions.
  • Problem: Students will be unfamiliar with the pronunciation of “used to” – /juːstə/
  • Solution: Drill in affirmative, negative and question forms
8 mins
Lead in
to set the context for the lesson and generate interest
  • Ss look at photos of children doing things
  • Ss discuss whether or not they did these things in the past and whether or not they do them now
  • Ss write three things they did as a child but don’t do now and give them to T
7 mins
to introduce vocabulary for listening stage
  • Ss look at coffee, cigarettes, chocolate and a PC
  • Ss discuss whether or not they use these things, how often, and whether they can stop
  • T elicits addict, addicted, addiction, to quit, to give up, to cut down on, willpower
10 mins
to practice listening for gist
  • Ss listen to four people describing their addictions: Does the person have the same addiction as you? If not, what are they addicted to; Have they given up?
  • Feedback on board
12 mins
  • to introduce target language
  • to manipulate form
  • to provide restricted practice in using target language and standardise pronunciation
  • T elicits target language:
    - Did he smoke in the past? Yes
    - Once or many times? Many times
    - Does he smoke now? No
    “He used to smoke”
  • T repeats with other examples and elicits negative and question
  • T drills target language
10 mins
Less restricted practice
to give students restricted practise in using target language
  • T writes on board one thing that each student used to do as a child
  • Ss circulate, asking each other questions to find out who used to do what
  • Feedback
3 mins
Less restricted written practice
to provide a written record of the target language
Sts write 2 sentences about themselves and two about other sts using target language
10 mins
Authentic practice
to give students authentic practice in using target language
  • T gives handout with prompts – last house, last job, appearance 10 years ago
  • Ss circulate and ask and answer questions based on prompts

Assessment and Planning Process

Module 13 Step 2.1 - Individual work

What do you think are the benefits of preparing lesson plans?

Lesson planning produces many valuable benefits:

-         evoke some sort of pupil reaction,then teachers decide  whether to continue with the plan or to modify it as they go along;
-         helps the teacher work with confidence;
-         keeps the teachers and the pupils on track;
-         enable an observer evaluating the teaching to make that assessment against criteria that teachers have decided themselves;
-         helps the teacher meet the objectives;
-         anticipate potential problems;
-         enhances pupils’ achievement;
-         provide the road map and visuals in a logical sequence;
-         helps the teachers avoid unpleasant surprises;
-         encourages reflection and improvement;
-         provides guidance for a substitute teacher helps the teacher teach with confidence;
-         enables teachers to think logically through the content of the lesson before the lesson itself and prepare material and aids;
-         help teachers clarify the end point they intend to reach and also  
     set them free to go towards that point in the most appropriate  
     ways in class.  

A Wonderful Comenius Cooperation

Useful Links for Modern Techniques and Tools

Survey Monkey
Google Talk

Task 1.1 - The Internet as a Classroom Resource

Let’s consider the usefulness of the Internet as a classroom resource. Firstly, think about:
·        What is motivation?
·        What motivates you?
·        What motivates your students?  

Schools and classrooms are dynamic, interactive, social places, where teachers and students communicate, share information, and challenge each other' s ideas. Teachers guide student learning by posing problems, encouraging student questions, and offering opportunities for students to find solutions.
The resources and interactions in a classroom depend on the curriculum the class is working on and the beliefs of the teacher and school. There will be times when technology and the Internet make a lot of sense, and there will be times when technical resources are not needed.
Teachers, as always, should select the resources they think best suit their objectives. The Internet basically expands the resources available and decreases the time and location dependencies that can be limiting factors in schools.
It offers powerful and varied ways for students and teachers to interact, manipulate data, and conduct research. Consider some of the non-Internet resources that are traditionally available in schools: libraries, video, film strips, and CDs, to name a few.
Because of budgetary and physical restrictions, schools can only have so many of these. There are documents, artifacts, and books that students in a typical school will never be able to access. In addition, many schools are working with outdated textbooks and materials. But the Net provides access to an amazing number of constantly updated and expanding resources and an incredible wealth of information.
Teachers and students have that same opportunity on the Net today. Students can research information on the Web, discuss what they find with classmates or, if they're using e-mail, with students in another class or an expert in the field they are studying, and when they conclude their research they can publish their work on the Web. (However, effective use of this interaction and research opportunity depends on expert teaching. The range of resources and options students have access to on the Net is staggering. Specific focus and guidance from the teacher is critical.)
The Internet eliminates the need to be in the same place at the same time as the person or resource you are interacting with. There are technical requirements such as a computer with an Internet connection, but other than that, the world is at your door. The potential to have all the educational resources you need at home, at school, or anywhere you have a computer is now there.
This is not to say that the interaction and dynamic of a classroom are going away; rather, they are growing. Away from school students can ask questions that come to mind by sending e-mail to friends, teachers, or content experts. They can research materials at various Web sites and they can submit their work for review from anywhere at any time. The potential to expand students' learning time is tremendous.

Learn How to Create Your Own Podcast in 4 Easy Steps

Step 1: Create Your Content
       Your recording setup can be quite elaborate, even approaching that of a small radio station, or it can be as simple as an inexpensive headset or microphone bought at your local Radio Shack. Your investment will vary depending on what type of podcast you plan to create, and how professional you want it to sound. For most classroom applications of podcasting, you probably already have all you need to create a decent podcast.
       There are three types of podcasts:
     • Audio Only
       Most of the podcasts listed on iTunes are audio only.  They are easy to record and edit and require a very simple setup in terms of hardware and other equipment.  Audio processing requires much less power from a computer than video editing does.  In terms of recording equipment, all you need is a desktop microphone or a headset with a built in microphone.  You may even get decent results from the microphone built into your computer if you're using a laptop, but this option should only be used in a pinch because the built-in microphone will pick up a lot of ambient sounds including those coming from your computer such as the hard drive, etc. You can even set up a podcast where you conduct an interview with someone over the Internet using one of the many instant messaging programs that support voice chat.  A popular choice for podcasters is Skype, an application that allows you to make computer to computer phone calls over the Internet (using a protocol called Voice Over IP).  
     • Enhanced (with photos and chapter markers)
     • Video
        These podcasts are a little more expensive and difficult to create. Not only do you need a decent video camera to capture the video, but your computer also needs to be more powerful than with audio only podcasts. Video files are very large even after they are compressed, so you will probably have to invest on an external hard drive to store your files while you work on a video podcast. Video also takes longer to edit than sound. For editing your video content, you have a few choices. On the PC side, you can use Windows Movie Maker. This program is included with Windows XP, or you can download the latest version for free from the Microsoft website. The latest version of the iPod supports video.  iPod compatible videos can be created using the latest versions of Apple's video editing applications (including QuickTime Pro on Windows).
Step 2: Put the Content Online
        As a USF student, you have space set aside on a web server that you can use to host files, including audio and video files. You can also use a site such as Our Media to host your file. While Our Media allows you to use a form on a web page to upload your files, the USF blog requires you to install an SSH program before you can connect. You can download an SSH program for Windows from the Academic Computing site, which also has some instructional videos describing the procedure for using SSH to log into the USF web space. On the Mac, you can use a program called Fugu to connect to the USF web servers. Fugu works a lot like SSH, providing a drag and drop interface that shows your hard drive on one side of the screen and your folder on the server on the other side. You simply drag files from one side to the other to upload them to the server.
All videos are saved as .mov and require the QuickTime Player to view):
         Locate file on hard drive
         Upload file to server
Step 3: Create a Blog that Supports Podcasting
       Create a blog that supports podcasting. You only need to do this if you are not creating your own RSS file. The blog can create it for you. All faculty and students have free blog accounts already, courtesy of the fine folks at Academic Computing. You can set yours up by logging in to Something to keep in mind is that the USF blog is a public blog. Every time you post something to your USF blog, it is also posted to Planet USF, a page that has the latest postings to all USF blogs. The USF blog also only supports .mp3 attachments for podcasts. While this is not a problem if you are doing an audio only podcast, it means you cannot do an enhanced podcast, which must be saved. There are many other free blog sites available on the Internet. A popular one is Blogger, which is owned by the search company Google. Whatever blog you use, make sure that it supports audio attachments.
Step 2: Attach Your Content to a Blog Post
        Attach the audio or video content to a blog posting. You'll create a new post and add a link to your audio or video file in the body. The link is a standard HTML link. If you are using the USF blog, you must include an absolute address.
        The USF blog  automatically generates a feed for you. The feed address is in the format, where NetID is the user name you use to log into Blackboard and other USF sites.
        Once you've done all of that, you are podcasting. Anyone can subscribe to your podcast by opening up iTunes and selecting Advanced, Subscribe to Podcast and entering the address of your feed.

During the Comenius Flash Meeting in Liviu Rebreanu School

Module 12 - Evaluation Task

Grammar Translation and Silent Way vs. CLT
The teaching-learning scenario of English in Bangladesh has assumed a new beginning. Grammar-translation method had been practiced for a long time in the English Language Teaching context. Since 1998 in the secondary and higher secondary levels grammar-translation method has been replaced by Communicative Language Teaching (CLT). The Grammar-Translation method and the Audio-Lingual approach were the methodologies that were in vogue before CLT. These methods involved repetition and memorization of forms. Mere memorizing of grammar rules and studying literary texts are considered somewhat irrelevant. Nowadays ability to use the language to meet practical ends has become the major goal of learning English.  In other words we can say that to be successful in learning English means ability to get the meaning across while communicating.
With the appearance of CLT second language teaching faced a dramatic change in the method of teaching the language. The main reason behind this change is that the educators began to realize the goal of foreign language teaching is the communicative ability achieved by the learner.  In the 1970s in Europe there was an influx of immigrant population who had to learn English quickly to find employment. The drills of the Grammar-Translation method and the Audio-Lingual approach did not help the workers to communicate with their employers. ‘British applied linguists began to call into question the theoretical assumption underlying the Situational Language Teaching (Jack C. Richards 153). Since the mid-1970s the scope of CLT has expanded. Both American and British proponents now see it as an approach and not a method that aims to make communicative competence.
In this era of global communication, the purpose of learning English should be stretched from the grammatically accurate written productions of compositions and translations to the multidimensional oral communication in multi-faced situations. Grammar Translation method demands the utmost grammatical accuracy which involves time, carefulness and is a slow process. To satisfy the immediate needs CLT is practiced by the learners.  Communicative competence in CLT is a linguistic term which refers to a learner’s ability to form correct utterances in the second language and know how to use these utterances appropriately.
The teacher’s role had been outright authoritative in the Grammar Translation Method. Such a teacher-orientated authority used to make the students completely dependent on the teachers and devoid of the practice of speaking skills making the students to be tongue-tied during the spoken communicative production. The student’s role in the overall Grammar Translation Method  in the English Language Teaching  situation of Bangladesh had been by no means passive and a  kind of inactive. They were supposed to remain silent during the instruction of the lessons and were to be active in a limited way only during the written production of grammatical problem solving tasks and translations when they were used to be instructed to do so. Such inactivity during the maximum time of the lesson was used to make the students incompetent in communication in English. The CLT now reverses the ideas. Now classes are dominated by students. Students’ talking time is greater than that of Teacher Talking Time. Equal importance is given to speaking skill which remained totally neglected in GTM.
The teachers used to present the lessons in lecture-based ways. As it is already mentioned, the participation of the students was very limited during the lessons. They used to get an opportunity of participation by directly asking the teachers only when they used to fail to understand certain things. The more the class had been found silent the more the teacher used to be satisfied of having been conducted a successful class. Peer discussions as well as other kind of activities of peer co-operation had been far beyond the expectations. Thus a gap between the students and the teachers and also gaps at the levels of competence and proficiency among the peers were used to be created of which the teachers and the students used to remain oblivious during the conduct of the lessons. But in CLT teachers work as facilitators and behave friendly with the learners narrowing the gap between them. Hence, teaching learning takes place in a non-threatening environment.
In Grammar-Translation method grammar had been taught deductively emphasizing on the meticulous rules and the grammatical output of the students were used to be considered based on the problem –solving tasks of the isolated sentences. In CLT only the essential grammatical elements are taught through the context-based inductive tasks and activities emphasizing not on the meticulous accuracy but on the overall linguistic negotiation of meaning.
GTM is lecture-oriented; in the CLT the lessons are action-oriented. Thus in GTM there had been only isolated written grammatical and problem-solving tasks and activities of translations to be individually done by the students.  In CLT, activities like pair works, group works as well as collective works besides individually done by the students and in CLT activities as collective works besides individual performances are to be conducted in almost every lesson ensuring the integration of four major language skills.

European Dimension through Comenius Projects

Checking Pupils Knowledge about Our Comenius Partner Countries

Developing the Intercultural Dimension in Language Teaching

Module 11 - Problems of Intercultural Communication

Speaking Test A1

Guidelines for Designing Learning Spaces

Note the fixed features and plan accordingly.
1. Remember that the audiovisual center and computers need an electrical outlet.
2. Keep art supplies near the sink, small-group work by a blackboard or whiteboard.
Create easy access to materials and a well-organized places to store them.

1. Make sure materials are easy to reach and visible to students.
2. Have enough shelves so that materials do not have to be stacked.
Provide students with clean, convenient surfaces for studying.
1. Put bookshelves next to the reading area, games by the game table.
2. Prevent fights by avoiding crowded work spaces.
Avoid dead spaces and "racetracks".
1. Do not have all of the interest areas around the the outside of the room, leaving a large dead space in the middle.
2. Avoid placing a few items of furniture right in the middle of this large space, creating a racetrack around the furniture.

Communication in the Classroom

Module 10 - Classroom Management. Start of the School Year

Reading Test A1

Joke 3 - Britney (Andreea) and Mother (Raluca) - 5 C

Writing Test A2

Practices in Teaching Writing

Module 9 - Teaching Writing Summary









Takes place in context, which often makes references clear (e.g. 'that thing over there')
Speaker and listener(s) in con-tact. Interact and exchange roles
Usually person addressed is specific
Immediate feedback given and expected:
a. verbal: questions, comments, grunts,    murmurs
b. non-verbal: facial expressions
Speech is transitory. Intended to be understood immediately. If not, listener expected to interact
Sentences often incomplete and sometimes ungrammatical.
Hesitations and pauses common and usually some redundancy and repetition
Range of devices (stress, intonation, pitch, speed) to help convey meaning. Facial expressions, body movements and gestures also used for this purpose.
Universal, every-one can speak
Spontaneous and unplanned
Dialect variations commonly used








Creates its own context and therefore has to be fully explicit

Reader not present and no inter-action possible
Reader not necessarily known to writer
No immediate feedback possible. Writer may try to anticipate reader's reactions and incorporate them into text

Writing is permanent. Can be reread as often as necessary and at own speed
Sentences expected to be carefully constructed, and linked and organized to form a text

Devices to help convey meaning are punctuation, capitals and underlining (for emphasis). Sentence boundaries clearly indicated

Not every-one can write
Planned and takes time
Demands standard forms of grammar, syntax, and vocabulary

The Role of Music in Young Learners' Oral Production

Oral Production Rubrics

Module 8 - Major Changes Observed in Students' Oral Production

Listening Test A1

Evaluation by Matching Listening Skills to Their Definitions

Different Kinds of Listening

Authentic vs. Non-authentic Materials. Tips for Effective Listening

Module 7 - Types of Learning Activities

online quiz with instant feedback
interactive multimedia tutorial
laboratory exercise
hands-on task
interactive graph
interactive game (e.g., video game)
website construction
Web quest
field trip
scavenger hunt
database creation or search
reflection (via journal or blog)
digital portfolio
independent research
graphic design
composing music
virtual community
news reporting
class discussion
formal debate
small group discussion
team project
team competition
problem-based learning groups
case study groups
peer review
instant messaging
online chat
telephone conversation
peer-to-peer instruction
teaching a lesson
clinical rotation

Different Kinds of Extensive vs. Intensive Reading

English Grammar and Math

Body Language

Pyramid of Learning

Module 6 Activities - Reading the New Words

Differences between British and American English

time table
cartofi prajiti
ground floor
first floor