In this post, I would like to share a strategy which helps students tackle CAE Speaking part 2 task more effectively.
Students have 1 minute to talk about two out of three pictures they are given. They need to answer 2 questions while comparing and speculating about the photos. For a sample speaking activity, see page 82 in this Teacher’s Handbook.
As the Tacher’s Handbook suggests, students will always be asked to speculate about something which relates to the focus of the visuals and they will never be asked to merely describe the visuals. My students have found it particularly difficult to not get bogged down with photo description. As a result, they usually spend 40 seconds describing what they see instead of performing the actual task. The possible outcome of such performance? A very low mark, possibly a failure!
In order to help mu students break free from their description habit, I decided to start using prompts which did not contain any visuals.
Instead of working with this, they work with that:
How does it help?
- there is nothing visual to describe so the main distraction is removed
- students can finally practice what is expected of them during the exam (comparison, speculation, expressing opinions)
- students can start mentally reducing the images they see to keywords which is what should happen in the actual exam (thinking about what the photos represent not what they show)
Here are some more ideas fo exam preparation classes:
- CAE speaking hexagons game
- CAE Speaking Part 3: involving the students
- CAE Speaking Part 2: speculating
- 5 word formations games for FCE and CAE students