All things TOEFL iBT

Archive for the ‘General Interest’ Category

Rethinking writing skills

Writing is an integral part of international exams like the TOEFL iBT, and something of concern of teachers in primary and secondary levels of school.

This chat I participated in sheds some more light on the issue, in particular the use of the 5 paragraph essay as a standard

for-or-against-the-5p-essay

Meta-writing: A dissertation about “doughnuts”

The Independent Writing task of the Toefl IBT requires the candidate

talk about a topic,

say if they agree or disagree with a statement,

choose the best alternative to allocate resources.

 

The text should take a four or five paragraph format of an introduction, body and conclusion in no more than 300 words.

The introduction should have the thesis of the text and the body paragraphs should have a topic sentence each.  The pargraphs should provide reasons and examples to support the main idea.

The conclusion summarizes the ideas presented in the text.

 

With that in mind, here is a reverse task, identify

  • the thesis statement
  • a topic sentence
  • a reason and/or example
  • a conclusion

Dissertation from a 12-year-old about doughnuts

 

Were the kid’s ideas and arguments clear? How would you grade this work? 

 

 

 

Eyes on the Prize

This can be very helpful when preparing for a test like the TOEFL iBT. Any candidate needs to draw up an action plan to achieve the final prize, which ultimately, is the desired score.

Teaching with Touchstone

‘To get where you want to be
You have to set a goal
And keep your eyes on the prize’

Bob Dylan

Simple, isn’t it?  Or is it…

There are 2 sides to motivating learners to work independently.  One is through assessment and the other is through engagement with the process and outcomes (the prize).  Let’s look at establishing the prize.

Working with learning portfolios, learners need to set goals, fill the portfolio with task output (e.g. voice recordings or pieces of writing) that prove by the end of the semester that they have achieved those goals.  We don’t have to adopt portfolios to borrow a little from portfolio philosophy to help us establish the prize for our learners.

There are different sets of prizes – long, short and medium term rewards.  Spend time getting to know your learners’ final aspirations for their careers or travel or social lives.  Get…

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Seize the opportunity

  1. The best time is now.
  2. Opportunity only knocks once
  3. Don’t let the it slip through your fingers.
  4. Make the most of every situation
  5. Never put off to tomorrow what you can do today
  6. Take the bull by the horns
  7. It’s your turn to shine
  8. Step into the limelight
  9. It’s now or never.
  10. A once-in-a-lifetime chance
  11. Don’t throw away your chances
  12. Don’t play with your luck.

The proverbs and sayings above all cover the same idea: SEIZE THE DAY

How do these words of wisdom relate to the current Brazil riots across the country because of bus fares (the original reason)?

Not as efficient as we think

 

Have you ever heard of these techniques? 

  • Elaborative interrogation

  • Self-explanation

  • Summarizing

  • Highlighting/underlining

  • Keyword mnemonics

  • Imagery

  • Re-reading

  • Practice testing

  • Distributed practice

  • Interleaved practice

According to a recent study published on BBC, most of the techniques students use to prepare for tests are not effective – so when we think we are getting an upper hand on our studies we are actually wasting a lot of time that could be spent practicing a hobby or broadening our cultural horizons,

The question is, like anything in life, we have to find what works for us, even if that something just has a psychological effect.

So which of these techniques do you use? What other techniques do you normally resort to and how effective are they?

Which of these techniques would be useful to prepare for the TOEFL iBT?

Post your answers in the comments box.  

TOEFL iBT Tool kit

Here are some extra resources to prepare on the fly:

The 10 Essential TOEFL iBT Skills

TOEFL iBT How to exam Tips

TOEFL iBT Target Skills

TOEFL_Tips

Useful Sentences For Toefl Essay Writing

 

Independent Writing – Learning in different ways

#116 People learn in different ways. Some people learn by doing things; other people learn by reading about things; others learn by listening to people talk about things. Which of these methods of learning is best for you? Use specific examples to support your choice.

Post your answers in the COMMENTS box. Write no more than 300 words and give yourself 30 minutes to do so.