So a nice little bit of success at NELS today. A prospective student came to see us yesterday and we arranged a trial TOEIC lesson for today. She was a beginner level student with an ambition to be a flight attendant, and so would therefore need to use English. (I so admire our test-taking students: these tests, especially TOEIC and TOEFL, are very demanding and require such a lot of effort and serious study on the students’ part, and even more so for lower level students.)
So anyway, I taught a part 1 listening lesson which requires the student to look at a photo, then listen to four different statements about it, and recognise which one is the only correct sentence. Emiko* got her first answer right, but when I was asking her to ‘Repeat ‘n’ Speak’ what she heard, it was pretty incomprehensible. This told me that either she had guessed, or had maybe caught one key word. So she had got the answer right, but actually had no idea what had been said. However, TOEIC is very good at trying to trick you like that, so really you need to understand everything that you hear, and that is not so easy at native speaker natural speed! So, we went through each sentence, and I helped her to pronounce the linked words and made sure she understood the meaning.
With the next photo, having learnt from the previous examples she was then able to form her own predicted and grammatically correct sentence, (and she had also predicted correctly and got the answer right!). Thus, my point being that TOEIC is not just about getting or guessing the correct answers, it’s also about being able to USE the English and PRODUCE it independently of a test which only measures passive ability. I was very pleased, not only with her success, but also as she decided that she liked our school and our methodology, and signed up! Thanks, Emiko, for being my subject of success today!
(*name has been changed)