Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Nagoya - OE training

Last weekend Luna was invited to train a large group of teachers and staff from Meijo University in Nagoya. This was a big honour for us and one we were delighted to accept. Jim spent Saturday and Sunday at Meijo High School in downtown Nagoya, demonstrating how examiners should deliver the speaking tests of KET & PET; how they should manage time, materials, and unexpected situations, and how of course they should assess candidates' performances.

Easily said, but quite a task to bring a room full of teachers together to pool all their experiences and do something 'new'. On Saturday we focused particularly on making sure everyone understood what they were supposed to be doing and how, changing partners regularly and encouraging a free exchange of ideas and opinions (and there were plenty to be expressed!).

On Sunday, we changed things around a bit, to think about the impact the examiner's demeanor and physical performance have on the candidates, not just their spoken delivery of the script. We also thought about the exams from the candidates' perspective, and how the examiner should respond (or not) to manifestations of eg nerves, panic, stage-fright. Examiners were also shown how the new online resource for oral examiners will really make a big difference to their professional development as teachers and as examiners; we practiced using the site and explored the facilities that are now available 24 hours a day, every day of the year - and not just when Jim comes to town!

By the end of two, very intense days of study, a very tired but satisfied (and qualified) group of fresh oral examiners joined our ranks. Most will be examining at KET & PET levels next month, as the university initiates its adoption of Cambridge ESOL examinations. This is a really exciting step, with Luna very much at the forefront.

Jim wants to say well done to all the teachers who attended over the weekend, and to thank the staff at the school for looking after him so nicely. He is looking forward to meeting the next group of new OEs in April.