Sunday, May 28, 2006

Practicing what you preach

A quick post as I have to wake up my daughter soon and take her to her friend's house. I'm off to he school today as my students are doing their interviews for the FCE/CAE/CPE exams (don't we EFL bods love our TLAs - Three Letter Acronyms).

It's my chance to help them relax as far as possible and get them to speak to the best of their abilities. In yesterday's post I complained that nobody was speaking English before they went into the exam. There is an worse alternative which I've seen over the years, namely, having your teacher frantically bark random words and phrases at you in the desperate hope that you'll be able to absorb in the last six minutes before the test, whatever you have been unable to during the last six years of crummy lessons.Or students mindlessly repeating a set speech, which, of course, is utterly useless in the interview (and, in fact, is penalised).

Nope, usually all you need is a little bit of time chatting with the students, asking them what they've been up to since you saw them last, or a silly joke to break the tension. Occasionally, I play games like Fish and Silver with the very nervous ones, basically, anything that gets them thinking in English and takes their mind off the exam.

Time to wake up Lydia and make her breakfast.

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