Write an assignment of around 500 words explaining how you would prepare an IELTS candidate for the exam.
Outline the process you would follow and identify some of the possible problems you might encounter and address cultural nuances with regard to the method of teaching using the teacher-student approach.
Preparation has to be important for any aspect of life and IELTS is no exception. The test is certainly a challenge. The greatest challenges are faced by candidates themselves who are having to adapt and adjust their learning styles to cope with a test that is making new demands on them. Candidates have to be honest with themselves and make sure that they are capable of doing the test. It is important for the teacher to grade candidates before they sit a preparation course. The teacher has to ascertain which candidates are at least at an intermediate level of English which means they can have a genuine chance of passing.
For an IELTS preparation course, I would set a timetable for the candidate to study. This could be in the region of 3 or 4 weeks before the test although their preparation should start earlier. Candidates may well be unfamiliar with IELTS test so I would expect 30 or more hours just to teach the ins and outs. This would mean each candidate gets at least 8 hours of training on each module. Candidates need a pre-preparation course IELTS test. This allows them to get a feel for the format and what they are faced with while highlighting difficulties. From the start, I would encourage candidates to read widely, e.g. newspapers, journals, magazines and books for pleasure, due to the fact that the reading module can be the most difficult. I would focus on developing their vocabulary in the topic areas to enable them to comprehend terms, expressions, and terminology they may encounter. I would advise the candidate to spend a minimum of 1 hour per day on individual self-directed study. I would advise writing every day and give the candidate enough writing test formats so they become instinctual. I would show the candidate that a lot of material can be found on the internet such as practice tests. I would also set regular homework including practice exams and individual tutorials where problems can be discussed.
My job as an IELTS teacher would be to set out to challenge, motivate, and build confidence. This would be done with task and communicative based activities, appropriate to the candidates’ needs. Group work and pair work would play an integral part. I would pay special attention to those questions that individuals get wrong. I would encourage the group to help the others understand why they were wrong. I would be well prepared with the resources, especially when proving those wrong answers. I would be also wary of other problems that arise such as students being familiar with multiple choice tests and tending to listen to every word in a test conversation without extracting main points. Moreover, cultural difference can also arise, for example, Asian students are not used to arguing a point and tend to give short answers in speaking. I would recognise that some candidates have grammar knowledge but their speaking is limited.
Furthermore, I would recognise where difficulties may arise. I would encourage peer checking. I would encourage students to underline key words and phrases when they read, as well as paying attention to key words in the questions. When writing about bar and line graphs, pie charts and tables, I would make sure candidates understand what the axis on the graph(s) or the percentages in the pie chart(s) represent. This includes writing within specific time recognising that time pressure can worry candidates. I would focus also on grammar and spelling, highlighting that points can be lost in the test. I would expect the students to be conversant with each module a week before the test.
As a final thought, I would advise the candidate to make sure that the week before the test is not a time for intensive study. Stress and worry come with doing the test. The week before is a time to review skills and their test techniques. I would be their advisor if problems arose. I would say the candidate must be relaxed and ready for the test.