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  • [Intro music]

  • One of the major issues that I have with the majority of TOEIC materials on the market

  • is that theyre based upon the idea that you learn to do something by doing it.

  • For example, if you want to learn to play tennis, the idea is that you get out on the tennis court

  • and you hit ball after ball after ball and eventually you do it.

  • The idea by extension with the TOEIC is that most textbooks seem to have the idea that

  • if you want to learn to do the TOEIC you just do hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of questions.

  • And basically how this translates into the classroom, is that they do 30 or 40 questions

  • and then the teacher goes through and analyzes their mistakesspecifically mainly in most cases they are grammar mistakes.

  • Now the problem with this is that it misses out on a huge part of what I think is being tested on the TOEIC.

  • It doesn’t focus on things like the listening and reading skills that are essential.

  • Basically it’s a listening and reading test, so you need to work on these skills.

  • You need to work on things like skimming and scanning so they can read through the passages quickly.

  • You need to work on underlying listening skills like prediction and basically being able to understand

  • paraphrasing and things like that.

  • Just doing lots and lots of practice, you may be able to pick out some of these things somehow by osmosis,

  • but without these key elements of the listening skills and the reading skills and especially test taking strategies

  • which are dealt with in most materials on the market but in a fairly perfunctory way.

  • I think there’s a lot of underlying stuff that needs to be addressed that most current course books don’t address

  • [Background music]

  • Basically for low level students, it would seem to almost be a no brainer that those would be an obvious choice.

  • The main reason being is that the TOEIC, even though its aimed to be accessible from very low level ability to very high,

  • unless you are about a good pre-intermediate, the majority of the test is going to be very, very difficult.

  • So for low level students, ideally we’d like to use practice materials that are at the level of the test.

  • But for lower level students they just find it too difficult, especially if youre doing nothing but practice activities.

  • Because what you find is that you do thirty questions and the students can’t understand more than half of them.

  • It’s very demotivating, very frustrating, and basically doesn’t get very good results either.

  • So basically all those, ‘Target 550’, ‘450 for the TOEIC’, what those materials do is

  • they simplify the actual materials they present the students with.

  • They use simplified vocabulary. They use shorter reading and listening passages.

  • They limit the amount of grammatical structures the students see.

  • And this makes it much easier for the students to actually approach these kinds of tests.

  • And so basically for many years, I used these types of materials and in fact, the students have a much easier time going with it.

  • For teachers of course, it’s much, much easier to run these kinds of classes.

  • Students don’t struggle.

  • Basically it seems to make this kind of intuitive sense for teachers that you try to choose

  • the materials youre using in the class to match the level of your students.

  • All in all, it would seem a win-win basis, except for one thing.

  • And that’s when the students go to take the real test, they find that the real test,

  • in no way resembles what theyve been practicing with for the last few months.

  • And what I’ve actually come to believe is that these simplified materials do more harm than good for these students.

  • Not only do students not make any significant gains, but in terms of the frustration factor, it becomes almost a shock.

  • I’ve had students come back to me and say

  • "Teacher I studied for three months in your course but my score went down by 15 points. Youre a bad teacher."

  • I can understand totally. What am I supposed to say in a situation like that? It’s frustrating for them.

  • It’s shocking for the teacher when you know theyve actually learned a lot but in terms of actually preparing them

  • for the nature of the challenge theyre going to face, youve actually failed them.

  • So I can’t do it anymore.

  • Basically what it came down to, for many years I was asked to write materials of that nature for low level students.

  • And I constantly said "No I’m not doing it". Basically by using these materials youre shooting your students in the foot.

  • Youre giving them this placebo effect but in fact youre not helping them at all.

  • All youre doing is taking their money, wasting their time, and basically not giving them good value in return.

  • The thing that changed my mind is that finally it came to my attention that the TOEIC

  • is broken down into roughly about three equal parts in terms of difficulty.

  • One third of the test items are aimed at lower level students,

  • one third are aimed at the intermediate range,

  • one third are aimed at the higher level range.

  • So it occurred to me that in class rather than simplifying the materials unnaturally,

  • what we could do is we could basically,

  • in each unit we could start off and present them with materials that could actually appear on a real TOEIC test

  • but would be on the easier end of the range in the early parts of the unit.

  • You have to expose them to material that’s on the actual test or else when they face it on test day theyre going to shut down.

  • But in order to do this, you have to take a systematic build up approach

  • and work on those underlying skills of vocabulary, any sort of grammatical features,

  • test taking strategies, the listening and reading skills necessary to approach that.

  • If you build up that sound basis, then you can expose them to the level

  • they're going to face on the test and they have a decent chance of doing it.

  • Otherwise it’s going to be meltdown on test day.

[Intro music]

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A2 TOEIC toeic test basically level listening

Grant Trew on TOEIC® (Part 2)

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    羅媛蓉 posted on 2013/10/05
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