Friday, June 22, 2012

Teaching TOIEC Listening Part 1: Some Tips from the Trenches

Toiec listening part 1 is picture description.  Students look at a picture and then hear 4 statements, 3 or which are false and one which is true.  They have to choose the true one.  It can be quite tricky and plenty of times I actually had to put some mental energy into choosing the right answer.  I'm actually going to see if I can take the TOIEC test with my students at the end of the camp and see if I can ace it :)

Anyway, here are my tips from the trenches if you are teaching this:

1. DON'T (let your students) MAKE ASSUMPTIONS. If there is an older lady, she is just an older lady, not a grandmother.  If people are in a building with luggage and it looks suspiciously like an airport, it might not be.  Ditto with a guy and a young girl: don't assume they are father/daughter.  If a guy is in a business suit and his back is to you, don't assume he is wearing a tie.  Etc, etc, etc.

2. Always look at the picture first!  Here is the system I taught my students to think about as they are looking at the picture:

W(ho):  Man/people/he/she/they (pronouns are very important).  For example: there will be a picture with 3 people, 2 of which are holding papers.  A statement will be: "They are holding papers."  This is false because "they" refers to all 3 people.   

What: (main action verbs).  I got students to think of the ones that are correct, as well as some incorrect verbs that they might hear to throw them off.

Where: A. Location/place (but don't assume).  B. Prepositions (next to, under, inside, etc)

When: (sometimes)

Vocab: think of the 5 most important words you'll need to know

It's easy for student to remember: W, W, W-1/2, (W), V

3. Vocab is huge.  HUGE.  If students get very low scores in this section, it's probably because of this.  My camp does vocab tests everyday and the TAs administer it, but if you're on your own teaching TOEIC listening, you need to be giving daily vocab tests.  

 4. If students don't know the answer to a previous question, just guess and move to the next question.  It's important not to waste time and thinking about the "W/V's" of the next question is a more valuable use of time. 

 Next week: TOIEC Listening Part 2.

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