IELTS Listening and Reading Teaching Tips
Students write their answers in pencil only
It's better to use capital letters e.g. FOOD
Students should read the Task carefully and pay attention to the number of words they must write. It changes:
- Write no more than two words and/or a number for each answer.
- Write no more than three words for each answer.
Students should read the questions and underline the key words. They should be ready to hear synonyms, similar phrases/antonyms to the key words as a lot is paraphrased e.g.:
|Haven't decided yet||We're still thinking about it|
|Poor students||Students in lower-income schools|
|Find new places to live||Colonise islands|
- Grammar of the sentences should be correct:
... by using 39 ________ that are always green
Even if they hear grass, they should put grasses as it is followed by are.
- If students don't know the answer they should try and GUESS it (Random/Intuition). Don't leave the answers sheet with blank spaces.
- There are different task types, so you should introduce exam strategies which are effective for a particular task type e.g:
Listening Part 1
- Students should read the questions and predict which type of a word should be there (noun/adjective/verb, singular or plural)
- They should be ready to catch names, telephone numbers, addresses, emails (factual information)
Reading, Match Headings to Paragraphs
- Read the headings briefly
- Read the 1st paragraph (only 1 at a time!) and find the main idea (normally the 1st, part of the 2nd or last sentence)
- Go back and choose one of the headings
Students can practice Listening and Reading at home, but it is your job to introduce effective strategies, tricks of various task types and steps to ace them. Students can then practice doing listening/reading on their own implementing these strategies.
Always focus on what helped the students deal with this or that task after they have completed it, sum up useful strategies and tricks of exam tasks.
You could ask your students to do 1 section of listening or reading with exam timing and then have feedback/vocabulary teaching/strategies sum up. You could do the full listening/reading test in the last classes of the course. Avoid giving them tests all the time as they do need teaching, your attention and language work in class.
- Copy Paste
Students find the answer in the text and copy it to the answer sheet without any changes. It should be exactly as it is in the text.
- Students should not spend too much time on one question: 1 question = 1,30 minutes. 1 Section=20 minutes.
They could do their best and spend a bit more time in sections 1 and 2 as they are easier than section 3. If they have 10 accurate answers in each section they achieve band 7 (30-31 correct).
- Handy Reading Sub-skills: skimming, scanning, reading for detail.
Some students tend to read texts thoroughly for detail, but in IELTS they simply don't have time for this. So, they should scan the text, locate the key words and read one sentence above one below the key words to answer the questions. If they need to match names to the statements they should first scan the text and circle the names.
- All the words?
Students do not need to know all the words to answer the reading questions. IELTS academics want to see how well learners can work with texts and find the right answer without knowing all the words.
It's like at university: don't know what this book is all about, all I need is this chapter and this paragraph with this particular sentence to support my views in the thesis.
Teach students to be fine with the fact that they don't know some words; they could quess from context or disregard them; they could also think if it's a noun/adj/verb/object/person/action etc.
- Questions dictate what to read.
So, read the task, and then the text.
- Strategy with Multiple Choice Questions
It could be a good idea to just read the question, underline the key words, and without reading massive A, B, C, D options go straight to the text and find the answer. Then go back to the question and select one option. It saves time reading long A, B, C, D statements.
- Engaging Game (Reading/Vocabulary)
Choose a text with a common theme. Introduce this topic to students. Give each student small pieces of paper (more than 4/uneven number). On each paper students write the words which they think will appear in this text (topical vocabulary). So, each student has 6 words in front of them.
You read the text and if students hear you say one of their words they should hold it out. The winner is the one who held out all his/her words.
Alternatively, you could give ready made words to a pair of students. 5-7 papers to a pair. Read the text and they should snatch the words as they hear them.