On Thursday I introduced my students to Speaking Part 3 of the FCE paper. In this section of the exam, two students have about three minutes to discuss a set of 5-7 pictures and answer two questions. The first question involves some kind of scenario where they have to refer to every picture, and the second involves making a decision. The examiners are looking for whether the candidates can have a discussion (interactive communication) rather than monologue, among other things.
We were focussing on holidays all week, so in a similar way to the Present Simple / Present Continuous activity I shared a couple of weeks ago, I asked my students to draw a picture of themselves on holiday.
Since there were 11 students, plus me, we had twelve pictures in total (I’ll leave you to work out which one was mine!) That created two convenient groups, like so:
- Imagine you are taking your family on holiday. What are the benefits of each kind of holiday when travelling with a family? Which is the best place to take a family too?
- Imagine you are organising a holiday with your friends at the end of your exams. What could you do with your friends on each of these holidays? Which place will you go to?
- Imagine you are going to have a week’s holiday by yourself. What are the advantages and disadvantages of travelling along to these places? Which is the best place to travel alone?
- Imagine you are organising your next holiday. Why do people go on these kinds of excursions when on holiday? Which one would you go on as a one-day excursion?
We had done an example of the activity from Complete First Certificate, and I used their excellent speaking guide (at the back of the book) to give the students tips on how to approach the task. The general idea for this lesson was to familiarise the students with the format and to encourage them to converse, rather than monologue. In the end, that wasn’t really a problem as they’re very good at interacting with each other. They definitely improved as they did the task more times, although I think after doing it five times they never wanted to see it again!
(We used the class timer from the Triptico suite to keep the students in line!)