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Hello Speaking Test Torture!

June 27, 2011

Usually for speaking tests I make a very simple table. In one column is a list of questions I will ask graduating in difficulty from top to bottom. The next column has a list of answers also getting harder from top to bottom. The content includes a theme and whatever grammar and vocabulary are from the previous three chapters.

I made this format because it was easy. Easy to make, easy to explain and easy to grade. However, I started to feel like the test had little practicality in the real world. So, I made a new format for the test this semester.  Students have to tell me about a place in Korea in five sentences or more. I would help edit their mini speeches with one on one sessions  in the morning, after school, and during lunch and I did a special lesson on the vocabulary they needed for the speech. Still this test has been something of a disaster.

In one class, 15 out of 35 students didn’t even bother trying, citing that I was demanding too much of them. 15 zeros. That’s really high and since that trend has been basically continuing since we started last week, I’m starting to get a little angry. This speaking test feels the most important to me because I’m thinking No students, I don’t expect you all to study or even like English but you HAVE to know how to talk about your own country. This is English that is the most relevant to them – it’s not about some hypothetical situation taking place in a cafe in New York City, it’s any non-Korean they might encounter ever (which even is Korea is likely to happen on a fairly frequent basis).

I suppose the other thing that gets me is that I forgot that my students procrastinate. This seems silly but since I never assign homework I’ve never really had a chance to see who the procrastinators were. The Korean teachers and myself made it clear that all my free time last week would go toward helping any student who shoved a paper in my face. Although I was fairly swamped, there were still times where no students would show up but SURPRISE SURPRISE 3 minutes before the test starts, students are stalking me to get their speeches corrected.

 This. Is. Maddening.

I’ve spent a good portion of the day with a cloud of students hovering around me, demanding I fix their speeches. I turn them down because…I have to give the speaking test all day today.

I’m a little frazzled and a little frustrated today. Also, it’s been raining pretty furiously for the past week with no end in sight.

I’m ready for this week to be over. What? You mean it’s only Monday? Damn.


One Comment leave one →
  1. Jean Bentley permalink
    July 19, 2011 2:30 am


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