Saturday, March 22, 2008

Spring iBTOEFLers

The fun part about teaching this iBT preparation class is the multi-cultural composition of our group and the fact that we cover four language skills. It means that Monday/Wednesday/Friday afternoons are devoted to a mix of reading, listening, speaking and writing activities. Though at least one student suggested that I follow a schedule, such as 'Fridays are for writing practice,' I purposely don't follow such a fixed routine. Because we do not give grades at our school, one way that I can ensure that I get writing or speaking samples from every student is to spring it on them. In the past, when students knew that on Fridays, they would have to write for a half-hour online, they would often be absent.

Currently, I'm experimenting between online writing and paper/pencil writing to see if fewer spelling errors are generated this way. I've discovered that several students are not skilled typists. Thus, it is hard to tell if their errors are primarily an outcome of typing mistakes or if they need help learning how to spell words correctly.

I am a strong typist, so I think it's a great idea to have an internet-based TOEFL. However, I now understand why some students feel handicapped having to do the TOEFL test online, especially the hour-long writing component. I've queried Cambridge students about the idea of doing Paper 2 (Writing) online, and many of them also said they'd be at a disadvantage because of their poor typing skills.


tinkerbellchime said...

Hi Evelyn. I love seeing the photos of you and your iBT preparation class. It looks like you've got a wonderful group of learners. You raised a great point about confusing typos for writing errors. I can see why it's hard for you to give an English test to your students when they don't all have the same level of typing proficiency.

online writing jobs in said...

What a great photo! You all look great. I’m truly agreed with you about giving an English test for people with different level of typing proficiency. But it sound fun to have four cultural groups, its like visiting four countries. It takes a lot of patience to deal with four language skills, so I really admire you for that. In my opinion it’s good to follow with fixes routine schedule. It will be easier for the students to know which day what they are going to learn, and they will be more prepare for the lesson, so you should consider that.

manyenglishes said...

Thanks for the comment 'online writing jobs.' Recently some students said that when I taught the intensive iBT course (four weeks 20.5 hours/week dedicated to TOEFL), it was too intense. Because there was a fixed routine, it sometimes got tedious. However, some students liked it, and I think the results will show that for the lower level students, this approach works best. However, for the advanced level students, more supplementary materials might be just as stimulating.