The Test Takers: Time To Teach Teens

Time To Teach Teenagers

Today my three teen students took a test. The test was based entirely on speaking. How did they do? Well, I’m going to tell you, I promise, but a little later. If I forget, remind me, OK?

Me: For now, let’s take a walk together.

You: Where are we going to walk to?

Me: Why, of course we are going to walk back over the exact same spaces and places as we did yesterday during the class.

You: OK, we are going outside, right?

Me: Yes, that’s right. Here’s the test I gave my students:

As we came to each place we had visited the day before, students answered the following question:

What did we do here yesterday?

The students recall was 100%, as I had expected. Also, as I had expected, their use of the “Past Simple” grammatical structure was not always correct. For example:

Student 1: Yesterday we go through the door like a blind man.

Me: Yes, that’s absolutely correct! You got 5 points for your answer. Now, for another 5 points, tell me which sentence is correct, A or B:

A: Yesterday we go through the door like a blind man.
B: Yesterday we went through the door like a blind man.

Student 1: B is the correct one.

Me: Correct! You got 5 more points. Now, let’s say the sentence together (Student 1 and me, in chorus): Yesterday we went through the door like a blind man.

Me: (thumbs up) Very good!

And so my friend(s), it went like this, for almost an hour (55 minutes). Sometimes the correction was grammar, other times it was pronunciation, or vocabulary, or even spelling.

The result for my three teens: Perfect recall = 100%. And further, I exploited each opportunity to work on deepening their knowledge.

Some of you, my fellow teachers and colleagues, would identify this as a focus on accuracy. Yesterday, of course, we focused on communication, on fluency, on automatising the speaking ability.

Again, today, we not only wanted to speak fluently, but also with a high degree of accuracy.

At the end of the “test”, I informed my three test takers of what they had accomplished. To be honest, these students are really quite good, and I am sure their teacher will be thrilled to have them when the new school year begins in March.

As for myself, I’m having a lot of fun, going outside the classroom. The weather in Santiago right now can be best described as “gorgeous”. Hot, yes, but I prefer hot weather to cold….

See you tomorrow my friend(s).

What am I going to do tomorrow?

Let’s see. On Monday, we did the Present. On Tuesday we used Songs in class. Yesterday we did the Present Continuous. Today, we did the Past… So, tomorrow we are going to do the Future.

Wait a minute. Is there such a thing as the Future in English? Going to, will, is going, etc., there must be a million different ways to talk about the Future in English.

Whatever. I think we will probably have a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to it already…


The Teens of Today are Future World Leaders: Teach them well...

About profesorbaker

Thomas Baker is the Past-President of TESOL Chile (2010-2011). He enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics. The source and inspiration for his writing comes from his family.
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