Teaching exams reading list (Delta)

I’ve been asked many times for my reading list on teaching exams, which was my Delta Module 3 speciality, so I’ve decided to create a post for ease of reference! For that part of the Delta, you have to create a 20-hour course based on research into course principles, your speciality and what your students need. These are the books I used for my assignment on IELTS reading and writing, but there are caveats. I used these books, but that doesn’t mean I necessarily endorse or recommend them – they just happened to be what was available to me at the time! I am sure that there are many others which could be added. Some of the books were recommended by the Distance Delta tutors.

I’m afraid I can’t send you copies of my assignment, but I hope that this reading list will help you if that’s your speciality. Good luck!

Teaching Reading Skills by Christine Nuttall

[All links are affiliate links, so if you buy the book through the link I’ll make a few pennies.]

Alderson, J. C. 2005 ‘The testing of reading’; in Nuttall, C. 2005 Teaching Reading Skills in a Foreign Language (3rd Edition) (2nd edition) Macmillan: Oxford [link to 3rd edition]

Brown, H. D. 2003 Language Assessment: Principles and Classroom Practices Longman: New York

Burgess, S. and Head, K. 2005 How to Teach for Exams Pearson Longman: Harlow

Graves, K. (ed.) 1996 Teachers as Course Developers Cambridge University Press: Cambridge

Graves, K. 2000 Designing Language Courses: A Guide for Teachers Heinle & Heinle: Boston

Gronlund, N. E. 1998 Assessment of Student Achievement, 6th edition Allyn & Bacon: Boston [link to 8th edition]

Harmer, J. 2007 The Practice of English Language Teaching Pearson Longman: Harlow [link to 5th edition]

Harris, M. and McCann, P. 1994 Assessment Macmillan: Oxford

Hedge, T. 2000 Teaching and Learning in the Language Classroom Oxford University Press: Oxford

Hughes, A. 2003 Testing for Language Teachers, 2nd edition Cambridge University Press: Cambridge

IELTS.org, undated ‘IELTS | Researchers – Band descriptors, reporting and interpretation’http://www.ielts.org/researchers/score_processing_and_reporting.aspx, accessed 20 January 2013

May, P. 1996 Exam Classes Oxford University Press: Oxford

Murphy, D. April 2000 ‘Key concepts in ELT: Evaluation’; in ELT Journal, Volume 54/2 April 2000, Oxford University Press: Oxford

Nuttall, C. 2005 Teaching Reading Skills in a Foreign Language (3rd Edition) (2nd edition) Macmillan: Oxford [link to 3rd edition]

Prodromou, L. 1995 ‘The backwash effect: from testing to teaching’; in ELT Journal, Volume 49/1 January 1995, Oxford University Press: Oxford

Puchta, H. November 2005 ‘Making the most of multiple intelligences’; in English Teaching Professional, Issue 41 November 2005

Richards, J. 2001 Curriculum Development in Language Teaching Cambridge University Press: Cambridge

Thornbury, S. 2006 A – Z of ELT: English Language Teaching Macmillan: Oxford

UCLES (University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate) 2002 Cambridge IELTS 3 Student’s Book with Answers: Examination Papers from the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (IELTS Practice Tests) (IELTS Practice Tests) Cambridge University Press: Cambridge

Woodward, T. 2001 Planning Lessons and Courses Cambridge University Press: Cambridge

A would love letter

I’m 30. I’m single. I’ve never had a boyfriend.

Society tells me this is strange. Culture tells me that the time to find first love is when you’re young. That if you’ve Never Been Kissed by the age of 25, there’s something wrong.

Josie Geller (Drew Barrymore), a baby-faced junior copywriter at the Chicago Sun-Times, must pose as a student at her former high school to research contemporary teenage culture. […] Josie infiltrates the inner circle of the most popular clique on campus. But she hits a major snag in her investigation — not to mention her own failed love life — when she falls for her dreamy English teacher, Sam Coulson (Michael Vartan).

Drew Barrymore plays Josie Geller, a dowdy 25-year-old newspaper copy editor with dreams of investigative journalism.
– Bob Smithhouse’s review

Does this mean I have a failed love life? What does it mean if you’ve never had a love life? Have you failed? And in what world could Drew Barrymore be considered ‘dowdy’? What does that even mean? Thesaurus.com gives me these synonyms:

Synonyms for dowdy in word cloud, containing the words: antiquated dingy drab frumpy rundown shabby unkempt bygone plain vintage archaic baggy bedraggled blowsy dated dull frowzy homely

Really? Drew Barrymore? Number 1 in People magazine’s ‘World’s Most Beautiful People’ list 2007? What hope have the rest of us got?

Does that mean I have to be beautiful to find a partner? Society tells me that I shouldn’t worry about my body or my looks. That I’m ‘more beautiful than I think‘. That people will love me anyway. Maybe I’m unusual, in that I don’t often worry about it. But as I get older and I’m still single, I have to wonder. I very rarely wear make-up. I’ve never really wanted to. If I did, would it make a difference? My weight has changed a lot over the last couple of years, so I’ve seen what I look like when I’m slimmer, and I have to say that my favourite photo of me is when I was nearly at my lightest…


…and that I don’t always like seeing photos of me when I was at my most overweight. Why should it even matter what I look like? And why should culture bombard me with images of women telling me that I should look different?

My facebook feed is full of children growing up, weddings, proposals. I love seeing it. I’m happy for my friends. I really am. I love seeing their lives progress and their babies grow. But with that happiness comes a little pang of jealousy.

The grass is always greener on the other side, right?

I know that so much of what I’ve done would have been much more difficult or even impossible with a family. It would have been hard to consistently have to leave people behind. Not that I didn’t and don’t miss my friends and other members of my family when I’m not with them, which is all the time now they’re all over the world. It’s not quite the same when it’s your partner and kids though, is it?

My life is amazing. There is no pressure from my family to provide grandkids. I’m incredibly lucky. I know that I have been privileged to experience so many things that it would be difficult or impossible for large portions of the world to experience. Middle-class guilt, of course.

But it doesn’t stop me wondering if I’ll ever have kids. If I’ll ever have somebody to share my life with. And if I do, when it’ll happen. I know it’s not too late, yet. I should still have time. But as the Reduced Shakespeare Company say:

Cut the crap, Hamlet! My biological clock is ticking and I want babies now!

Of course, in the classic complaint of single women, all the men I like are in serious relationships, gay, or both. Statistically, there must be single, straight, decent men who want to settle down and have a family out there, but so far they’ve proved elusive. Who knows? Maybe I’ve already met the ‘right’ person, but we just haven’t realised it yet. And yes, I’ve tried internet dating.

And then there’s that question which they must be asking about me too. Single? 30? What’s wrong? Am I too independent? Too focussed on my career? Do I move around too much, not leaving me time to develop deeper relationships? Do I not drink enough? Not go out often enough? Not that I plan to start drinking to find a partner. And of course, I know there’s nothing wrong with me, or with them for that matter. We are who we are, and I’m happy with who I am.

When I tell people I’ve never had a boyfriend, the first thing they normally ask is ‘Why?’ Erm, because it just hasn’t happened. In China, I’m well into the age of being a leftover woman. In Crimea, most people seem to be married and have kids by their mid 20s, and not wearing make-up or elegant clothes made me stand out like a sore thumb. I went to Durham University, which apparently has the highest number of alumni married to each other in the UK, including many of my friends, but not including me. I don’t begrudge them this, but I would love to join them.

So that’s what this ‘would love’ letter is about. A bit of self-indulgence. And making public those private desires, the ones which strike hardest at every holiday, every Christmas, every birthday, every New Year, every Friday night at home alone. Not because I want pity. Not because I want eligible bachelors to come pouring out of the woodwork. But because it’s a part of me, of who I am, that yearning to share my life with someone and to have children, to see the amazing world we live in through the eyes of a little one discovering it for the first time. Not a new desire, but one which seems to come with more pressure with each passing year.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Cambridge Exams: The Writing Paper (IH Bydgoszcz Cambridge methodology day 2016)

Today I had the pleasure of taking parting in the IH Bydgoszcz Cambridge methodology day. I presented a range of activities to help teachers prepare students for the Cambridge First and Cambridge Advanced writing exams.

The slides from the presentation and all of the resources can be found below. You can download everything from slideshare, for which you will need to create a free account. The links in the presentation are clickable. You’ll find full details of all of the activities in the notes which accompany each slide, which you’ll be able to see when you download the presentation.

Potato talks was taken from Thinking in the EFL Class by Tessa Woodward (published by Heibling Languages – affiliate link)

FCE essay to put in order (via Pavla Milerski):

For more on linking words of contrast, please see my Contrast Linkers post.

Telescopic Text is a way to get your students to play with language and experiment with writing longer stretches of text. Here’s the example I shared.

The other links I shared were my Useful FCE websites page, flo-joe, Cambridge Write and Improve and my student’s guide to Quizlet, including the link to my B2/FCE Quizlet group. While the last link may not seem so connected to writing, a) it’s amazing, and b) it’s great for practising spelling as well as expanding the range of vocabulary students know.

Cambridge exam writing IH Bydgoszcz Sandy Millin 13th February 2016 (presentation title slide)

I’d like to thank David Petrie and Pavla Milerski for activities which they allowed me to incorporate into the presentation, and Anna Ermolenko and Tim Julian for other ideas which didn’t make it in in the end. If you’d like more ideas, you can watch David’s webinar on writing skills for exam practice. Being connected to a network of such helpful teachers is so useful. Thank you!