Friday, February 19, 2010

Another Question...this one about testing

This one from Joe (again)! My most faithful reader, it seems. He wants to know specifically about the how I do testing and some examples.


My tests are very, very simple. I do a written test with things like matching vocab, fill in the blanks, finish the sentence, make a question if I write an answer, circle the correct word that fits in the sentence.

I also do speaking tests. Every class, I'll have at least a couple questions that the students will talk about in pairs or small groups. Example: if we're studying about describing people, the question will be, "What does your mother look like?" Or shopping, "What's your favorite place to shop? Why? What do you buy there?"

I'll then use these questions for the final exam. It basically ends up being 3 or 4 random questions from the list of 10 or 15 and I score them on a 4 point scale. If I go with "What's your favorite place to shop?" and they answer, "I don't know." 0 points. "Walmart" 1 point. "I shop at Walmart." 2 points. "My favorite place to shop is Walmart because it's cheap." 3 points. My favorite place to shop is Walmart because it's cheap, and they have a large selection of things so it's very convenient. 4 points.

Make sense?

Saturday, February 6, 2010


And part 2 of the question from Jo:

"Do you have any advice on the writing of syllabus or any examples you maybe be able to show me?"

Some general advice:

1. Simple language. If your students don't really speak English, get someone to translate it for you and do a side/side kind of thing.

2. Only the basics. They won't understand teaching philosophy, etc. unless they are very high level students

3. Make sure you have your contact info on it.

Here is my most recent one from last semester:

*****University, Practical English Communication
Office # ****, **** Building
Email: ******

Textbook: ************


1. Bring your book. No book=no study. Go home!

2. Listen to the teacher and other students.

3. No cell-phones.

4. Be on time. I will lock the door 10 minutes after class starts.

5. Nametag, everyday.


1. Participation/attendance: 20%

2. Midterm Exam 20% speaking. 20% grammar/writing. Units 7-9

3. Final Exam 20 % speaking. 20% grammer/writing. Units 10-12

4. Attendance. Fiver times not here = "F"

In response to some reader questions....

This is in response to Jo, who sent just me an email:

"1. Can you recommend text books for 1st and 2nd year uni students who speak very little English?"

I love World Link a lot. I use level one in my classes, but my students are middle of the road university in Korea, so generally can at least understand the readings/have heard the vocab in the book before. There is a starter, which might work for beginners, who've only studied English for high school, or something like that.

The things I like most about World Link are the Workbook, Teacher's Resource Book (fun games/activities for each unit) and the online quizzes and exercises.

Beyond that, Smart Choice might be another alternative, but I'm not sure how the difficulty compares to World Link.

Textbook selection is not my area of expertise and I haven't personally used that many of them.

2. Syllabus