Wednesday, June 23, 2010

EFL/ESL speaking tests in an all boys high school in Seoul, South Korea -- More of my favorite answers . . .

Last week on Wednesday my high school had practice exams all day so my classes were canceled--actually, my speaking tests were canceled. They were postponed to today . . . oh god, the day after the 3:30am Korea vs. Nigeria game is NOT A GOOD DAY TO HAVE ANY KIND OF TESTS--or classes for that matter.

Anyways, the guys came into the classroom, one by one, for their speaking tests looking pretty ragged. Baggy eyes, low energy, and a general lack of memory and concentration plagued nearly all of them.

Some of them, however, had some pretty funny and original answers.

I have four questions that I always ask as warm-ups for the guys. The first question is "How are you today?" ("I'm fine, thank you, and you" is banned as an answer because I want to retain some semblance of sanity, and I'm sure if I had to endure 250 "I'm fine, thank you, and you?" responses I'd lose my mind!) One kid replied, "I'm serious." Lol . . .

Another guy, in response to "What's your favorite book or movie?" said, "My favorite book is The "Prince of Machiavelli"" Wow . . . lol. This guy is already prepping to become a politician or CEO (actually, is there a difference in Korea?).

And later on a kid said his favorite book was "Playboy" . . . ha.

One thing I noticed during this second series of speaking tests was that I failed to anticipate that some guys would remember and use "How about you?" and/or "And you?" during the test instead of saying the full question that was being tested. Before the testing I give the guys a handout, and next to some of the listed questions and expressions that will be tested I give warnings and sometimes even outright ban certain types of responses or actions during the test (as you can see I did above with the "I'm fine, thank you, and you?" response).

A few of the lower language ability guys actually remembered this speaking strategy that I had taught them during a lesson that happened in the earlier part of the semester, and they tried using "And you?" any and every time they had to say something that I had already asked them (the test is an interview format) . . . I couldn't let them get away with that because it would have screwed up my rubric and then totally messed up the proficiency test curve at the school. Fortunately, the students doing this knew they were pretty much 'pseudo-cheating' by trying to avoid speaking the English content from the lessons that I was testing, and didn't protest when I asked them to not use the two expressions.

Getting back to the funny stuff, another student had me nearly burst out laughing because he pretty much speaks English like this guy . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Click on the link below to see pictures and read more at Kimchi Icecream: The Second Serving . . . . I've moved over to and will be blogging there from now on.

EFL/ESL speaking tests in an all boys high school in Seoul, South Korea -- More of my favorite answers . . .


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