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  1. #1
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    Default Testing one's "speaking"

    Hi all,

    I am an English tutor and have just had a new student request a "speaking" test at his next lesson. He's very specific about wanting his "speaking ability in English" tested...he doesn't want his listening ability tested or anything else...

    The only thing that comes to mind is to use a "strip story" with him and have him talk about the story while recording his speech...this was an idea given to us when I took "tutoring ESL certificate Program" many years ago...

    I'd greatly appreciate any other ideas, as I feel I must be missing something...but maybe not...

    Thanks in advance...

    Catherine C.

  2. #2
    albeit is offline Banned
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    Default Re: Testing one's "speaking"

    Quote Originally Posted by Catherine C. View Post
    Hi all,

    I am an English tutor and have just had a new student request a "speaking" test at his next lesson. He's very specific about wanting his "speaking ability in English" tested...he doesn't want his listening ability tested or anything else...

    The only thing that comes to mind is to use a "strip story" with him and have him talk about the story while recording his speech...this was an idea given to us when I took "tutoring ESL certificate Program" many years ago...

    I'd greatly appreciate any other ideas, as I feel I must be missing something...but maybe not...

    Thanks in advance...

    Catherine C.
    I wonder how that can be done. Does he propose to give a prepared [memorized] speech and would this constitute an evaluation of his speaking ability? Is it his pronunciation that he wants evaluated?

    To my mind, speaking ability is intrinsically tied in with one's listening ability, ie. the ability to hear and comprehend and then to formulate a viable response [meaning it can be understood] in an ongoing conversation, the speed of which could be used to help determine both his listening and speaking abilities.

  3. #3
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Testing one's "speaking"

    Is he working towards an exam or test? Could he be thinking of listening as tasks with recorded texts and speaking as the interview?

  4. #4
    Abstract Idea is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Testing one's "speaking"

    The student must be more specific about his needs. Don't be afraid of asking him what exactly he wants.
    As an ESL student, I would like to run through such a "speaking test" myself.


    I suggest the following ideas:

    1) Find an interesting short story and write about 5 to 10 simple questions about it, with alternative answers. Give the student the only the short story to read and give him some time to prepare himself. Catch two or three native speakers to help you in the streets (give them a couple of bucks) to help you. Hand the natives the questions to be answered. Now the student should retell the short story with his own words and the natives should answer the questions. You evaluate the student based on the comprehension questions answered by the natives.

    2) Ask the student to teach you some subjects regarding his interests, and check if you can understand them. Evaluate him.

    3) Pronunciation tests could work here. Give the student texts to read. Mark the most difficult words in the text and make pontuation system in order to give him a grade. While he reads, fix in the correct pronunciation of those words.

    4) A variation of the first one above. Give him some written jokes in English and ask him to retell them to the native speakers. Measure the sound level of their laughs and give the student a grade.

    5) As Tdol suggested, simulate an interview with him.

    6) As albeit suggested, make him give a short speech. Better, three short speechs (5 mins each): a read one (he reads while speaks), a memorized one (he recites it by heart) and an improvisated one.

    7) Ask the student to repeat quickly anupumh's tongue twisters: http://www.usingenglish.com/forum/te...abase-3-a.html
    Make a formula ( http://www.usingenglish.com/forum/as...2-formula.html ) to evaluate his performance based in his speed and correctness.

    Think about similar ideas.

    After the evaluation, don't forget to come back here and tell us how it worked!

    PS Feel free to correct any mistakes in this post

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Testing one's "speaking"

    Yes, I wonder how that can be done also. Obviously, I need to get more information which I plan to do at his next lesson...he brought up this subject just as he was leaving and I guess it took me by surprise as I realized afterwards that I needed more info...I agree with you that speaking ability in instrinsically tied to one's listening ability...thanks for your thoughts...C.

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    Default Re: Testing one's "speaking"

    I wondered this myself and will find out more at his next lesson...I am not up to date with current ESL exams (like the TEOIC and TOEFEL and many other similar ones)...is there any portion of these exams that actually have the student "speak" and be evalutated (from his/this recorded speech)? I'm wondering if this could be the type of thing he's looking for...it that's the case, he can download practice tests for a cost of $45 Canadian and do this on his own...right???

    Hope I have made myself clear and appreciate your feedback...C.

  7. #7
    Abstract Idea is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Testing one's "speaking"

    Quote Originally Posted by Catherine C. View Post
    Yes, I wonder how that can be done also. Obviously, I need to get more information which I plan to do at his next lesson...he brought up this subject just as he was leaving and I guess it took me by surprise as I realized afterwards that I needed more info...I agree with you that speaking ability in instrinsically tied to one's listening ability...thanks for your thoughts...C.
    After the evaluation, don't forget to come back here and tell us how it worked!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Testing one's "speaking"

    Yes, I realize that I need to be much more specific with this student and will do so at his next lesson.

    Thanks for all your great ideas! They are very helpful and I am sure I will put some if not all of them to good use!...

    I will definitely be back to let you know how this plays out! :o)...C.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Testing one's "speaking"

    Quote Originally Posted by Catherine C. View Post
    Yes, I wonder how that can be done also. Obviously, I need to get more information which I plan to do at his next lesson...he brought up this subject just as he was leaving and I guess it took me by surprise as I realized afterwards that I needed more info...I agree with you that speaking ability in instrinsically tied to one's listening ability...thanks for your thoughts...C.
    That's not necessarily true for this person though. He might be happy with his listening skills at this level, but is often frustrated that people do not understand him when he speaks English. Perhaps he is looking for a diagnostic test of the sounds he is making.
    If I couldn't hear the TV when everyone else could, I'd get my hearing tested. If I could understand others, and they couldn't understand me, I'd get my speech tested.

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    Default Re: Testing one's "speaking"

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    That's not necessarily true for this person though. He might be happy with his listening skills at this level, but is often frustrated that people do not understand him when he speaks English. Perhaps he is looking for a diagnostic test of the sounds he is making.
    If I couldn't hear the TV when everyone else could, I'd get my hearing tested. If I could understand others, and they couldn't understand me, I'd get my speech tested.
    Maybe you're seeing something I'm not, Raymott, but I think that if an ESL can't comprehend speech, especially at native speaker speed, then the responses, though fully grammatical and with good pronunciation, might just be so far off kilter that it's disarming to those he speaks to.

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