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  • teacherjay
    11 April, 2006 at 14:37
    • Total posts: 1

    I’m starting teaching a TOEFL preparation class to a 121 student next week, and I’ve never taught TOEFL before. He’s going to be using \"Cambridge Preparation for the TOEFL Test\" as this is the book that the school has. I really need some ideas as to how to go about structuring the class. He’ll be doing an evaluation in the first class to see hislevel and which areas he needs help with, so this will be a start. The book looks okay, but should I just follow it page to page in a TOEFL class, or should I be doing other things as well? HELP!

    23 April, 2006 at 16:02
    • Total posts: 1

    Reply To: 121 TOEFL

    Hi teacherjay

    I’ve taught a lot of TOEFL with the Cambridge book, but my last experience of it was a year ago. I know the format of the test has changed slightly since then, and so the book may have as well, but I’ll tell you what I think based on my experience up to a year ago.

    The advantage of teaching 121 TOEFL is the same as the advantage of teaching any 121 class – you can focus entirely on the specific needs of the student. For this reason, the diagnostic test that you do with him is invaluable, as it will show you exactly which areas you need to concentrate on. The Cambridge book, if I remember correctly, tells you exactly which sections of the book, down to specific exercises, you need to work on, for each question answered incorrectly in the diagnostic test.

    So that’s the first thing – the marking of the diagnostic test and checking which wrong answers correspond to which exercises to work on can be laborious, but is well worth the time and effort, as it basically gives you your lesson plan – with most students, I find that there is plenty of material to work on as a result of the diagnostic test – in other words, the student’s hours run out before the material does!

    So, work through the sections that the diagnostic test results tell you to, starting with the section with the most incorrect answers. If you have short classes of an hour, for example, I would stick to either Listening, or Reading, or Grammar, for the whole hour. If you have longer classes, you may want to combine one reading area with one listening area, for example.

    I like the Cambridge book – each section starts with some strategies, and goes on to practice exercises, gradually building it up from basic exercises to focus on a particular strategy, and eventually getting to proper TOEFL questions.

    So, for each section, go through the strategy, then go through the exercises, simple as that.

    Many teachers think that this is a boring way to teach, and indeed it can be, but remember that the objective of the student is to pass the TOEFL test, and so your objective as a teacher is not to give him a rounded general ability to communicate in English (which would lend itself to more \"fun\" classes), but to give him the specific strategies and practice necessary to pass the TOEFL test.

    Above all, enjoy it! Teaching TOEFL effectively is a challenge, and the thought of it alarms many teachers, but it can be very satisfying, especially if (and when!) your student comes back after taking the test, with the score they were aiming for.

    All the best.


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