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January  2020
Teaching in Practice Readers' Poll Upcoming Events
Resource for Teaching Exam Services Burning Questions
       
 

A brief guide to interpreting Lexile scores

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The Value of Lexis Sets Versus Scripted Language Chunks

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Thinking Outside Of The IELTS Classroom

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Teaching in Practice
 

A Brief Guide To Interpreting Lexile Score

Jan Langeslag of the East Asia Assessment Solutions Team provides an overview of how to interpret Lexile Scores.

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The Value of Lexis Sets Versus Scripted Language Chunks

David Horton from the British Council in Beijing comments on why IELTS preparation courses should not focus on memorization.

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Thinking Outside Of The IELTS Classroom

Daniel Pinder from the British Council in Beijing discusses how learner autonomy, discovery, and freedom, builds stronger language ability.

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Resource for Teaching
 
 
 

My perfect…

Matthew Lane introduces a classroom activity that can be used to help test takers prepare for IELTS speaking task 3.

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Upcoming Events
 
 



NEW DIRECTIONS CONFERENCE: CALL FOR PAPERS

The eighth New Directions conference in East Asia will be held in 2020 in Singapore. Call for papers. The conference theme is “Connecting Contexts: Linking Assessment, Learning, and Language Use” with sub-themes in:
• Alternative approaches to assessment in learning systems
• Connecting assessment and real-life language use
• English ownership, identity, and consequences for assessment
• Assessment practices across lifelong learning
• Impact and consequences of technology
• A teaching perspective: quality assessment and the impact in the classroom

Find out more at: https://www.britishcouncil.sg/new-directions. The call for papers deadline is set for the 19th of April 2020 so be sure to submit your paper soon!

Click here to read more

Assessing World Languages Conference 2019!

The third Assessing World Languages conference will be held at the University of Macau from the 6th until the 9th of November 2019. The call for papers has unfortunately passed but this does not mean you will have to miss it. Plenty of noteworthy speakers are lined up as you can see for yourself here: https://fah.um.edu.mo/laser/awl2019/ . Registration to attend will open soon so keep an eye out!

Click here to read more

 
 
 

Assessing World Languages Conference 2019!

The third Assessing World Languages conference will be held at the University of Macau from the 6th until the 9th of November 2019. The call for papers has unfortunately passed but this does not mean you will have to miss it. Plenty of noteworthy speakers are lined up as you can see for yourself here: https://fah.um.edu.mo/laser/awl2019/ . Registration to attend will open soon so keep an eye out!

Click here to read more

 
 
 

2017 IATELF Conference

The 51st IATEFL Conference will be held in Glasgow in April 2017. The IATEFL International Annual Conference & Exhibition is one of the key events in the English Language Teaching calendar. It attracts more than 2,500 ELT professionals from more than 100 countries, and involves a 4-day programme of around 500 talks, workshops and symposiums. It offers attendees a unique opportunity to meet leading theorists and writers, and exchange ideas with fellow professionals from all sectors of the ELT industry.

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TEACHERS, SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE!

Are you a teacher with great experience, advice and suggestions that you would like to share with others? Then we would love to hear from you!

Click here to read the full story

 
 

ILACE 2019 Call for Papers

Are you a teacher, examiner, assessment specialist or language expert that wants to build your experience presenting at international conferences and to be part of sharing best practice in English language assessment? The ILACE 2019 Call for Proposals is now open! ILACE - the International Language Assessment Conference in Egypt - is offered through a partnership between the British Council in Egypt and the American University in Cairo (AUC). The conference seeks to provide opportunities for professional development, networking, and scholarly discussion within the area of English language assessment. It also aims to promote the active participation of teachers, researchers and educational leaders in the exchange of ideas and expertise to improve, transform and reform assessment policy and practice. ILACE 2019 is taking place September 3-4 at the AUC in Downtown Cairo, Egypt. This year's conference theme is ‘Assessment in Practice: Applying Testing Principles to Classroom Use’.    

Conference flyer and Call for Proposals attached. Deadline for submitting proposals is 1st May. Visit conference website here:  http://conf.aucegypt.edu/ILACE2019

Click here to read more

 
 
 

2017 IATELF Conference

The 51st IATEFL Conference will be held in Glasgow in April 2017. The IATEFL International Annual Conference & Exhibition is one of the key events in the English Language Teaching calendar. It attracts more than 2,500 ELT professionals from more than 100 countries, and involves a 4-day programme of around 500 talks, workshops and symposiums. It offers attendees a unique opportunity to meet leading theorists and writers, and exchange ideas with fellow professionals from all sectors of the ELT industry.

Click here to read more

 
 
 
 

TEACHERS, SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE!

Are you a teacher with great experience, advice and suggestions that you would like to share with others? Then we would love to hear from you!

Click here to read the full story

 
Burning Questions!

Do you have questions about teaching, English or IELTS that you would really love an answer to? Send them to
neil.ryder@britishcouncil.org

Remember, we also have a Frequently Asked Questions list onwww.chinaielts.org, for you to visit!

 

What can test takers do if they are asked a question in Speaking Part One about a topic they are not familiar with?

Answered by Ahmet Bikman from the British Council in Beijing


Generally, it is better to not be too direct in this situation, because at least in English, a very short answer can come across as sounding rude. For example, let's look at an example of a student avoiding a topic that they don't know much about:


Examiner : Let's talk about cologne. Do you use cologne?
Candidate : No. I don't use colonge and I don't like it.
Examiner : What is your favorite cologne?
Candidate : As I said, I don't know about perfume, I don't like it and I don't want to discuss it. In the above excerpt, it sounds too harsh when candidate says they can't talk about the topic. Additionally, the examiner is not wrong to pursue the topic; as we all know, examiners are obliged to ask the questions in the exam booklet. There is no way around this rule, so the candidate has no choice but to be what we would call 'tactful', 'delicate', or 'diplomatic' in order to avoid sounding too harsh or rude. Suggesting that the examiner move on to another topic sounds a bit bossy, and might benefit from some softeners, modifiers and other elements of language. But what can a candidate say in the above case?


Examiner : Let's talk about cologne. Do you use cologne?
Candidate : Hm, I might have - once or twice - a couple of years ago or maybe more, but I haven't really used it in the past few years or so.
Examiner : What's your favorite cologne?
Candidate : Well, I can't exactly say for sure, but I might sample some Gucci in the airport duty free shop if I am travelling.
Examiner : Would you spend a lot of money on cologne?
Candidate : I guess I'd rather spend my money on clothes, sports equipment and things like that.


Even if a candidate is not at a high enough level to use all the preceding examples in bold, ofen using one or two of these examples is an exellent pragmatic strategy to avoid sounding too curt or harsh. In the above example, 'can't exactly say for sure' basically means 'I don't know,' but exactly and 'for sure' are expressions that are deliberately vague to avoid giving an exact response. In the final line the Candidate says 'I guess.' This is noncommittal and therefore vague. It is neither a definite yes or a no. I realize all too well that the above language might be beyond a candidate's speaking ability. At best, they'll memorize it and end up breaking rule number one : don't overuse memorized sentences. However, I believe that candidates of all levels can use these strategies to some extent, even if their English level is not so high.


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Please contact us for any questions: jan.langeslag@britishcouncil.org.cn