Recording students: see improvement!

Do try this! Many of our teachers regularly record their students speaking.

We believe that this is so useful in terms of assessment and sensing progress that it should be an important part of every course.
From autumn 2010 we are asking all teachers to record their students each Monday morning. For many students there will be a noticeable improvement as their confidence grows and vocabulary is recalled.
For one-week courses please record your student again on the Friday.

How to do it
Explain that it is very helpful for you to record your student speaking for 1 or 2 minutes on a subject that is familiar to them. It helps you to assess elements of their speaking and the student will be able to hear their improvement, which is so important for motivation.

Suggested topics:

  • Their family
  • Their job
  • Their interests
  • Their country

Explain that it is not a test of grammar and that they should try and relax as much as possible.

  • Place a microphone close enough to your student to get a good recording.
  • Try not to interrupt but rather let your student get into a flow. Short silences are fine and probably indicate thinking time. If the student is really struggling then of course feel free to help with a question or prompt.
  • Each week repeat the exercise using the same topic. On courses over 4 weeks, it will probably make sense to choose a fresh subject.
  • Play the recording to the student. It is an opportunity to discuss their strengths, weaknesses and progress.  The following elements of speaking can be looked at:
    • Individual sounds
    • Intonation
    • Fluency
    • Linking ideas clearly
    • Silence-filling hesitation sounds
    • Choice and range of vocabulary
    • Body language
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