#IELTS Speaking Lesson Plan Outline

IELTS Speaking

    1. Introduction- What to expect?
      1. In this section students will be introduced to the speaking section. They will learn what is expected of them, how much time is given and what the assessment criteria for this section is.
    2. Pronunciation, Accents and Dialects
      1. This section will address their own concerns about their pronunciation, but will also discuss some of the major differences in different English speaking dialects. Ideally, this section would include recordings of the same sentence, question or phrase being said in American English and British English. 
    3. Skills development- Dictation
      1. Speaking and listening go hand in hand. If a student doesn’t understand the question, they can’t answer the question. As the students have been introduced to different dialects in the previous section, this section will keep the students in the same frame of mind. This will be a chance for students to test their skills by hearing a question and writing what they hear.
    4. Skills Development- 1-2-3-3-2-1 Method
      1. Before jumping into the question and answer portion of the lessons, it is important for students to develop strategies for speaking. Speaking for 1-3 minutes may not seem like long, but in the moment it can feel very long. The simple 1-2-3-3-2-1 strategy allows students to talk about their chosen topic for 1 minute, then 2, then 3, then back down to 2 minutes and ultimately to one minute. Not only does this get the students into the habit of talking, but it also encourages them to be aware of the talking speed. Example recording would go with this lesson.
    5. Skills Development- 5 W’s. Describe and Explain Method
      1. Too often, students get stumped by a question, not because they don’t know the answer, but their nerves take over. Reminding students to answer the basic who, what, when, where and why, may help them break the ice of the topic at hand. This section also serves as a reminder that students should both describe and explain their answers.
    6. Skills Development- PPF Method
      1. This last skill development method asks students to think about the past, present and future. When answering questions, students’ answers may be too short to sufficiently asses the students speaking level. Being able to speak about the past, present and future of a topic can help students broaden their speech development.
    7. Task 1- Who are you?
      1. Now that the students have developed some basic skills, they can move onto the three speaking tasks at hand. In this section the students will be instructed as to what questions they may be asked. This is the get to know you section in which students will be asked questions about themselves, their family, their city, etc.
    8. Task 1- Organisation and Structure
      1. This section will explain to students some techniques on how to organise and structure their answer. Students will learn that this section of the exam may focus on opinions, information relaying and everyday experiences. Example answers and explanations will also be given.
    9. Task 2- Topic Question
      1. Students will learn how this portion of their exam is structured. They will receive a card with a topic, as well as some points to cover in their answer. Students will be instructed on how to understand the question, while being given several examples of possible questions.
    10. Task 2- Organisation and Structure
      1. The focus of this section will be to utilise some of the above skills developed to organise their answer. Due to there being no prompting from the examiner, students will have to utilise above mentioned methods to speak at length about their given topic. Example answers will be provided to the example question posed in previous task. Additionally students will be advised that the examiner may ask them additional questions once the students are done discussing their topics.
    11. Task 3- The Conversation
      1. This section will provide students with example conversation questions they may be asked. The purpose of the conversation is for the students to answer spontaneously and coherently.
    12. Task 3- Discussion Section
      1. An example of a recorded sample conversation would be best suited here. Students will be expected to express opinions, justify answers, analyse situations, speculate and discuss issues in depth. This section will offer students strategies to organise their thoughts.
    13. I Don’t Know the Answer
      1. It’s not uncommon for students to not know much about the topic they are asked about. This topic will help students address this situation. It is important for the student to express that they understand the question and relay what little information they might know about the topic, but to let the examiner know that they know little about the topic at hand. In this instance, the examiner will ask them another question. This section will include an example question such as: What is the population of your town? An example answer that expresses the students understanding of the question but their lack of knowledge on the topic will be given.
    14. Tips- Do’s and Don’ts
      1. This section will give examples of good and not so great answers. This section aims to steer students away from bad habits and unused time.
    15. Review Vocabulary
      1. Students will use this lesson to practice synonyms and antonyms of commonly used words.
    16. Review Phrasal Verbs and Idioms
      1. This section will go over common sayings and their meanings.
    17. Review Word Associations
      1. This section will focus on word associations. For example what words do you associate with your family? Your City? Your job? etc.
    18. Review Opinions
      1. Students will review how to express opinions, compare, contrast, agree and disagree.
    19. Practice Speaking
      1. In this section, images will be on the screen and students will hear a recording discussing the image and using the above methods they have learned.
    20. Round up
      1. The last video will be a short summary of all the above videos.

I chose the above structure of lessons with 20 videos in mind, so that if the Speaking section were to be reduced to 10 videos, some videos such as the Review sections or Skill Development sections could be cut out or combined within other modules. Through my experience teaching students to prepare for the Speaking section of the IELTS, I found that exposing the students to sample questions too soon overwhelmed them. They’d often become discouraged because they didn’t know how to fill up the given time to answer the questions. This is why I choose to present Skill Development sections before introducing the sample task questions. This way students go into the task questions with strategies in mind and they feel more prepared. I added the Review sections to give students the opportunity to brainstorm some of their thoughts and get them in the habit of spontaneous recall. I chose to leave grammar out of these lesson plans because I envision grammar being a completely different module of videos and chose to focus on some of the basic speaking strategies that students would find most helpful.

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5 Tips to Improve Your #IELTS Listening Score

5 Tips to Improve Your Listening Score

The listening portion of the IELTS can make students nervous. Sometimes it’s the speed at which people talk or the accents that can confuse you. As you know, the listening portion is 30 minutes long, which may seem overwhelming at first, but practice does make perfect. 

Here are some practical tips to help you through the IELTS listening section. 

  1. Understand the Question

There are 10 questions in this section and you will have about 30 seconds to read through the questions before the recording plays. Use this time to read the questions and understand what information you are listening for. Underline key words and phrases in the questions to help you stay on task.

  1. Note taking

Practice multitasking. You will need to read, write and take notes at the same time. Remember to keep your notes organised and to write clearly. You should develop your own system of shorthand to write down the most information is the least time.

  1. Check your answers

Once the Listening portion is over, you will have 10 minutes to transfer your answers to the answer sheet. Double check that you’ve chosen the correct answers.

  1. Mind your time

If you don’t know the answer to a question, skip it and move onto the next. You can come back to this question once you are done. If at the end of the Listening section you still don’t know the correct answer, guess!

  1. Practice

While you can expect to hear different dialects, the majority of the listening section will be spoken in a British accent. Practice listening to recordings of people speaking  or make a friend to practice speaking and listening with. You can also watch British films and shows. I suggest Dr. Who.