Cambridge English Southern Europe

Experts in Language Assessment

Practical classroom exam tips and ideas for the preparation of Cambridge English FCE No 8.

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Cambridge English Language Assessment UK and Bell ran a global competition inviting teachers of English from all over the world to submit written practical teaching ideas for preparing their candidates for a range of Cambridge English examinations.

We would like to share with you these teaching ideas as in a series of posts in our blog as we believe they are practical and useful tools to integrate into your classroom experience and will help to inspire you now and in the future.

This is the eighth post with teaching tips for Cambridge English: FCE.

Alicia Maria Cullen, Argentina 

Job role:
Teacher, Cambridge English: First (FCE)

Exam preparation idea for:
Cambridge English: First (FCE), Writing paper

Summary:
1. Play a song to the students.
2. Ask them to write a story based on the lyrics.
3. Alternatively, play part of a video and ask students to write a dialogue to accompany the scene.

Materials needed:
Song lyrics or film clips shown in class (on computer)

Using songs and films
“Making use of both songs and films has helped me to motivate my students to write better, down-to-earth stories, rather than the typical TV-series-like stories they kept on writing. I play some phonologically clear songs, such as those sung by Don McLean, Chris de Burgh, Carly Simon, Neil Diamond, etc., where lyrics are understood by a non-native, as is the case with my students, and I ask them leading questions for them to make up their own story based on the lyrics.

For example, from the song You don’t bring me flowers, they had to write the story of what had happened between the main characters of the song: what had made them come apart, what type of a man/woman he/she was before breaking up, etc. They had to choose one of the protagonists, place themselves in his/her shoes and retell their ‘own’ story, giving it a plot and an ending.

Every now and then I do something similar by projecting bits of videos which were unknown to them, and I would ask them to work either individually or in twos, writing the dialogues they imagined could go with the scenes. By doing this, they make a brand new story based on their invented dialogues and, of course, enlarged by their imagination. At least this ‘using media technique’ moved them away from their killing and bloodshed stories.”

If you have any further teaching tips please submit these to: teachersupport@cambridgeesol.org

Written by Cambridge English Southern Europe

April 11, 2013 at 10:00 am

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