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Tying In IELTS Speaking Part Two

Tying the extended speaking task in with the rest of the IELTS exam.

Written by Alex Case for EnglishClub

Part Two of the IELTS Speaking test is the mini-presentation/monologue section in which students have to speak on their own for one or (preferably) two minutes on the topic they are given, including the four sub-points on the task sheet. The fact that this is not the question and answer format of Part One and much of Part Three (plus most classroom and everyday communication) is obviously quite challenging and a shock to students coming across the idea of extended speaking for the first time. This task is also the ultimate test of the abilities to speak fluently and tie ideas together, both of which they will be marked on in the exam. As with Part One and Part Three, they also need to show their good pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary and ability to stay on task.

Teachers also find Speaking Part Two to be a challenge, both in terms of giving students as much practice as they need and in actually teaching for this part of test rather than just doing tasks in class. I have found that one of the best ways to both provide enough practice and to make sure you are teaching as well as practising it is to tie Speaking Part Two in with other parts of the exam.

Tying IELTS Speaking Part Two In With Speaking Part Three

IELTS Speaking Part Three questions always follow Speaking Part Two in topic, so it is very easy to link these two parts together. The easiest way to think of suitable questions to follow on from a Speaking Part Two task is to collect typical Part Three questions starters such as “What do you think the government should do about…?” and adapt them for the topic you want to use.

As opinions language is important for Speaking Part Three, you could ask them to give their opinions on good and bad tactics for Speaking Part Two and then elicit good language for giving opinions. These phrases can then be used to practise Part Three. They could also give their opinions on a Speaking Part Two model answer to provide the same link.

Tying IELTS Speaking Part Two In With Speaking Part One

Although students will never have the same topics in Speaking Part One and Part Two of one test, many of the typical topics for Speaking Part One (hobbies and free time, friends and family, home town, accommodation, festivals and celebration, media and the arts, technology, etc) could come up in Speaking Part Two instead. This means that you are very justified in doing questions of both types in one lesson. You could, for example, do Part One-style personal questions on hobbies, brainstorm suitable vocabulary, then do mini-presentations on the same topic.

Tying IELTS Speaking Part Two In With Writing Part One

There are quite a few similarities between these two parts of the exam, e.g. their length and the fact that candidates mainly have to describe. Ways of linking them together include:

  • Give them the visual stimulus from a Writing Part One task (e.g. a graph or table) with the instructions removed and ask them to speak about it on their own for one or two minutes. When they finish, their partner should add any information they missed. They can then look at the instructions, see how what they said compares to it (usually not very well as the instructions always asks them to “select the main features”) and then do the same speaking task but sticking more closely to the instructions. You could also just give them speaking tasks which are like the real writing tasks, e.g. “Speak about the graph/chart/table you are given for one or two minutes. You should take about: What the visuals and its parts represent/What the main features are/Some comparisons”.
  • Give a Speaking Part Two task on the same topic as the writing task, e.g. talking about a hobby for one or two minutes after examining a pie chart showing Australians’ use of their leisure time.
  • You can also design tasks to elicit language that is likely to be needed in the Writing test (e.g. comparing and contrasting phrases, or language of trends), using that as the link between the two parts of the exam.
  • Do an exercise on linking expressions in writing (“firstly”, “looking at…”, etc) before or after something similar with a Speaking Part Two model answer script.
  • Do error correction with a model answer, then do the same with the other skill.
  • Discuss how well the model answer sticks to the question, then do the same with the other skill.
  • Change examples of repeating language or the words in the question, then do the same with the other skill.
  • Do the same with adding more complex language.

Tying IELTS Speaking Part Two In With Writing Part Two

You can also ask students to talk about Writing Part Two questions on their own for one or two minutes as is suggested for Writing Part One above. Alternatively, you can add another stage by doing Speaking Part Three on the same topic as Speaking Part Two (as in the exam) and use one of those Part Three questions as the basis of the writing task that you will discuss and/or set them for homework.

It is sometimes useful to compare IELTS Writing Part Two with real academic writing, and this links in quite nicely with looking at similarities and differences between Speaking Part Two and formal academic or business presentations.

Reading And Listening

You could give students a Speaking Part Two task on the same topic as an exam listening or reading, either as a lead-in or after. If you are lucky, their might also be vocabulary in the text that they can use in their answer, or you could brainstorm vocabulary in the same categories before they start speaking.

Tasks could be designed to bring up dates and other numbers (e.g. “Talk about a long holiday in your country, including: Dates etc). Understanding numbers is vital for the first part of the Listening paper.

Students could also listen to or read an IELTS Speaking Part Two model answer and do IELTS-style comprehension questions (e.g. completing a summary) while they read or listen.

General And Miscellaneous

It should be fairly easy to design Part Two style speaking tasks on students experiences of and tactics for other parts of the exam, e.g. “Talk about a tactic you use in the listening paper” or “Speak about something you have done to develop your reading skills”.

Written by Alex Case for EnglishClub | March 2012
There are links to more than 400 articles and 1000 worksheets plus 1500 blog posts by Alex Case on TEFLtastic blog.

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