Preparing EFL Students for Speaking Exams
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English as a Foreign Language learners all over the world have to deal with speaking exams at some point or another. Students who are doing the FCE, CAE, CPE or IELTS exams definitely do but even General English students will be assessed in a speaking exam for their EFL classes. For any student, speaking exams can be frightening and it is part of our job as teachers to prepare them as much as we can.
Why are EFL students frightened of speaking exams?
Speaking exams can seem unnatural. Sitting at a table talking to someone they don’t know – another student or the examiner – while someone takes notes on what they are saying, is not what our students are used to. They know the examiner is listening to every word they say and this is a lot of pressure. It’s basically public speaking which is not a lot of people’s favourite thing!
Then there is the fear of the unknown as well. Students never know what they will be asked to speak about so they can never fully prepare for the exam. This can be disconcerting in any exam but when you’re required to speak in a foreign language it is even more so.
How can we prepare our EFL students for speaking exams?
If you look at the reasons speaking exams can make our EFL students uncomfortable, you will have the answers to how to make your students feel better about them.
- Give them opportunities to practise their public speaking. Introduce presentations into your lessons, which will help your students overcome any shyness they may have.
- Change up the groupings. When doing activities in pairs or groups, make sure your students speak to different students and not always the same ones all the time. This will give them practise speaking with people they don’t know very well.
- Give them surprise speaking tasks. Every once in a while in your lessons give your students a surprise speaking task to complete. These should mirror the tasks they will be required to do in the exam. They should not be given a lot of time to prepare. In this way, though they may not initially enjoy the activity, they will get used to speaking on-demand.
- Don’t focus only on grammar and vocabulary. Teach your students how to start and end conversations, ask follow-up questions, react appropriately and buy thinking time. This will help them sound more natural in their speaking.
Speaking exams may be unavoidable in the EFL world but there is no reason our students should fear them. Help them get to grips with the situation and you will have happier, more confident students!
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LAST UPDATED: 6th June 2022
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- The processing is based on consent – if you have previously given your consent to Everything TEFL Ltd collecting and processing your personal information, and you notify us that you withdraw your consent. Please note: withdrawing your consent does not mean the processing of your personal data which occurred before the withdrawal was unlawful.
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- If you think Everything TEFL Ltd has processed your personal information unlawfully.
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You have the right to object to the Everything TEFL Ltd processing your personal data in the following circumstances:
Personal information used for direct marketing
If we are using your personal information to send you direct marketing, you have the right to object at any time. If you exercise this right, we will stop processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes. However, we may keep your information on a “suppression list” to ensure your information is not added to any marketing lists at some point in the future.
Automated decision making and profiling
- ‘Profiling’ is the automated use of personal data held on a computer to analyse or predict things that have a legal effect, or other similarly significant effects, on the individual. Examples would include economic situation, health, personal preferences or interests and location. You have the right not to be subject to a solely automated decision (that is, a decision made electronically, with no human intervention), and this may include profiling (although there is no general right to object to profiling). If you are concerned the Everything TEFL Ltd has made a solely automated decision about you, you can object.
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- We are also permitted to make automated decisions with no human intervention in the following circumstances:
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- The automated decision is allowed under a law passed at the European Union level, or at the level of the European Union or EEA member state level (i.e., is allowed under national law). The law will provide safeguards to protect your rights and freedoms.
However, you still have a general right to object in both of the above circumstances, providing reasons why you think the processing is having a negative effect on you. If you do object, we will carefully consider your reasons, and decide whether to review the decision-making process in your specific case.
Right to data portability
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- There are some situations in which the right to data portability does not apply. For further information, please contact us.
Exercising your rights concerning the processing of your personal information
If you wish to exercise any of the above rights concerning the way in which we process your personal information, please contact:
Risk Management Team
Everything TEFL Ltd
28 – 32 Pembroke Street,
Republic of Ireland
Telephone: +353 (1) 554 6227
Email: [email protected]
Your right to complain to a national data protection regulator (data protection supervisory authority)
- If you think we have processed your personal information unfairly or unlawfully, or we have not complied with your rights under GDPR, you have the right to complain to a national data protection regulator.
- Complaints about how we process your personal information can be considered by the data protection regulator.