All things TOEFL iBT

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After 2016 trust native speakers less – by Wiktor Kostrzewski

What are the implications for the author’s propositions on preparation for originally US-based language tests like the TOEFL, TOEIC, or Michigan? Give reasons and examples for your answer

TEFL Equity Advocates

1. British English can no longer serve as an optimal, reasonable model of English language use. Not after the Brexit campaign, fuelled by lies, racism, culminating in deaths of a British MP and a Polish migrant. The Leave campaigns used British English to make false promises, mis-represent facts (to the point of possibly risking criminal litigation), and divide British people – and they won. The Remain campaign failed to engage on any level beyond fear – and it lost.

2. American English can no longer serve as an optimal, reasonable model of English language use. Not after Trump. His presidential campaign “took relentless aim at institutions and ideals”, presented a pessimistic, polarising vision of America, steered clear of facts, policies or rational arguments – and it won. The Clinton campaign failed to engage people whose momentum was felt in the Democratic Party with Sanders still in the running – and it lost.

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Had Enough? Occupy A Classroom, Change Education

What educational system are we upholding?

@SHIFTPARADIGM

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Occupy Wall Street’s  non-violent attempts to change the private sector suggest that similar tactics can be applied to America’s public K-12 education system.

This is an intriguing possibility given that nationwide just two of three students graduate school on time. Further, of those who do graduate on time, approximately one in 10 needs pullout remedial help, another one in 10 requires special accommodations, and yet another one in 10 is under-challenged. These numbers reveal an educational system that works poorly for half the school-age population. For urban areas, the numbers are worse.

Since the 1950s, getting from a system that educates some students well (let’s call it “A”) to one that educates all students well (“B”) has been the preferred outcome of countless reform efforts. During this time, while attempt after attempt worked in an occasional classroom or school, wide-scale achievement of B was elusive. Now, however, B is achievable.

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Helping struggling writers

The TOEFL iBT demands good writing. Univserities demand good writing. Life demands good writing.

Strategies to help struggling writers

iPads in the Classroom – A Student’s Perspective

TOEFL Writing task – Read a student’s interview on the use of i-pads in the classroom. List two benefits or two setbacks the project brings and state which jeopardizes the learning more. Give examples to justify your answer.

teachingwithipad.org

I had the opportunity to interview a Freshman student, Nick Boone (@2050TGOD) that I coincidentally met on Twitter. He saw a conversation that I was having with a popular YouTube personality, and gave his opinion on iPads in the classroom. I took this chance to contact him and ask if he would answer a few questions. He almost immediately agreed to the interview, which we completed via Google Docs just a matter of a couple hours. Nick had the opportunity to participate in a 1:1 iPad program at his high school…

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Scholar, google thyself.

Understanding your digital presence

The Thesis Whisperer

A couple of weeks ago I was asked by a foreign university to provide a written reference for someone I didn’t know.

Usually when I am asked to write a reference I know the person well and can speak to their strengths. In this case, the university in question wanted my expert opinion about the work of one of their staff members. This ‘blind peer review’ of a person – rather than a paper – was a new process for me.

The university sent me a portfolio of ‘stuff’ which I had to review before I wrote the letter. I diligently read this material, but still felt like I didn’t know the person well enough. So I got on the Google machine and did a bit of academic stalking. If you have done anything like this recently you will know just how much information is floating around about you on…

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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

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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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