IN DEPTH INFORMATION ABOUT THE TOPIC PHASE, FOR REFERENCE ONLY

THERE IS A LOT OF INFORMATION HERE, YOU DON’T NEED TO READ IT ALL

 

 

In the Topic phase 

Show understanding by responding appropriately to the examiner 

Communicate a variety of facts, ideas and opinions, and account for these, about a chosen topic linked across a series of extended turns 

Engage the examiner in discussion of the topic 

Be prepared to ask and answer questions about the content of the topic 

Handle interruptions or requests for clarification throughout the discussion of the topic

 

 

Language functions 

Giving advice and highlighting advantages and disadvantages 

Making suggestions 

Describing past habits 

Expressing possibility and uncertainty 

Eliciting further information and expansion of ideas and opinions 

Expressing agreement and disagreement Grammar 

Second conditional 

Simple passive 

Used to 

Relative clauses 

Modals and phrases used to give advice and make suggestions, eg should/ought to, could, you’d better 

Modals and phrases used to express possibility and uncertainty, eg may, might, I’m not sure 

Discourse connectors, eg because of, due to

 

Lexis 

Vocabulary specific to the topic area 

Vocabulary specific to the subject areas 

Appropriate words and expressions to indicate interest and show awareness of the speaker, eg Really? Oh dear! Did you? 

Simple fillers to give time for thought, eg well…, um… 

Phrases and expressions relating to the language functions listed above

 

Phonology 

The clear pronunciation of vocabulary specific to the topic and subject areas 

Rising intonation to indicate interest and surprise as appropriate 

Falling intonation to indicate the end of a turn 

Intonation and features of connected speech beyond sentence level

 

 

 

Activity 1 — Thinking of ideas for the topic 

Show your students some objects or large pictures of things that interest you. For example, a person you admire, a place that is important to you, a personal achievement.  In pairs/small groups ask students to come up with questions they would like to ask you about the pictures/objects.  Invite students to ask you questions about the pictures/objects.  Ask students to think about at least five topics that they are interested in. You can write some ideas on the board to help them get started:  In pairs or small groups students ask each other questions about their own topic ideas.  An object that is important to me  A person I admire  An important activity in my life  A social issue that interests me  What I would like to do in the future GESE Grade 7 — Example activities GESE Grade 7 — Example activities In the following pages there are some examples of how you can prepare students for a Trinity GESE Grade 7 exam. These activities will show teachers how they can develop their own classroom materials to practise the communicative skills and language needed for Grade 7. There are videos of GESE Grade 7 exams at trinitycollege.com/GESE-intermediate Please note the suggestions given in this booklet are only examples of some of the many ways of practising for the real exam. The suggestions are NOT models to be memorised. Examiners will use a range of methods and questions to help the candidates demonstrate the required language of Grade 7. 12 GESE Grade 7 — Example activities Activity 2 — Choosing the topic  After brainstorming in activity 1, your students will have lots of topic ideas, but they only need one for the exam.  Trinity recommends that candidates choose a topic that they are personally interested in, knowledgeable about and able to talk about. The topic should not be chosen directly from the list of subject areas for the conversation (see page 11).  In order to choose the best topic, tell students to answer the questions below.  Students reject the topic ideas which are unsuitable. Give your students some time to choose the best topic for them. 1. Do I enjoy talking about this topic? 2. Am I enthusiastic about this topic? 3. Will the topic be interesting for me? 4. Will the topic be interesting for the examiner? 5. Is the topic of personal interest to me? 6. Is the topic exactly the same as one of the subject areas for conversation? 7. Do I really know anything about this topic? 8. Can I find out anything about this topic? 9. Is the topic too complicated or technical? 10. Is the topic too simple? 13 Grade 7 language functions Giving advice and highlighting advantages and disadvantages Making suggestions Describing past habits Expressing possibility and uncertainty Eliciting further information and expansion of ideas and opinions Expressing agreement and disagreement Activity 3 — Using Grade 7 language functions  Present students with the language functions for Grade 7 using a diagram like this:  In pairs or small groups, students suggest language related to the functions. Here are some ideas: Giving advice and highlighting advantages and disadvantages You should… If I were you… On the one hand/on the other hand… Making suggestions Why don’t you …? Have you thought about …? Describing past habits What did you used to …? I used to/I would …? Expressing possibility and uncertainty That might be a good idea… That might help… I’m not sure about that Eliciting further information and expansion of ideas and opinions Can you tell me more about …? What’s your opinion on …? Expressing agreement and disagreement That’s true/I see what you mean I’m not sure that’s right/I’m not sure I agree  Students share their ideas with the class. GESE Grade 7 — Example activities 14

 

The Topic phase

Introduction

The purpose of the Topic phase is to give the candidate the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to use the language of the grade while talking about a personally relevant topic. Before the exam, the candidate chooses and prepares a topic of his or her own choice. The topic is then used in the exam as a basis for the candidate-led discussion. By selecting a topic of personal interest, the candidate has a degree of control over the interaction. Pre-selection and preparation also allow the candidate to feel more confident during the exam. This task allows the candidate to show what they can do in English to the best of their abilities. The Topic phase lasts no more than five minutes. Choosing the topic A good choice of topic is very important. Candidates should make sure that: 1. it is of personal interest 2. it will allow them to use the communicative skills of the grade, eg giving supporting reasons and examples 3. it will allow them to use the functions and language of the grade. 1. Personal interest Candidates can choose any topic they like, but it is best to choose a topic that they are interested in and have some personal involvement with, eg their career plans or extra-curricular activities. This makes it easier to talk about. If the candidate doesn’t know very much about the topic and they are trying to remember certain facts, they may not feel so relaxed in their exam. Candidates should not choose their topic directly from the list of subject areas for the conversation phase. However, it is acceptable to talk about a personal aspect of one of the subject areas. For example: Subject area for the Conversation phase Personal aspect Grade 7 Education A particular course or subject the candidate has studied Grade 8 Public figures past and present A particular public figure the candidate admires Grade 9 Design The candidate’s interest in local architecture 2. The communicative skills of the grade Communication skills are very important in a conversation and it is the same in our GESE exams. The candidates are expected to take part in the topic discussion by asking and answering questions about their topic. 3. The language of the grade When choosing a topic look at the language of the grade that the candidate needs to use. For example, if the candidate chooses Dance as a topic for Grade 7, it is important that the functions, grammar and lexis for Grade 7 are used. The Topic phase 4 The Topic phase Preparing the Topic It is very important to prepare the topic before the exam. Candidates are advised to:  plan and prepare the areas of the topic they would like to inform the examiner about and discuss  prepare enough material to sustain a discussion of the topic for up to five minutes (but no more)  make sure the topic allows them to use the communicative skills of the grade (eg engage the examiner in a discussion of the topic)  make sure the topic allows them to use the language of the grade (candidates need to use language items of the grade in their contributions)  think of questions the examiner may ask, as well as, questions they can ask the examiner. Recitation Candidates must not prepare their topic as a written script to memorise and recite. Remember that the Topic discussion is a conversation between the examiner and candidate, not a monologue. Other points about recitation:  it is clear to the examiner that it is not natural spoken English  reciting can make a candidate nervous  the intonation and speed of speaking are different when someone recites  the examiner will gently interrupt if the candidate recites  recitation is taken into account in the assessment. Candidate notes Candidates should produce some brief notes to help them remember what they want to discuss with the examiner in the Topic phase. The notes will also help the candidate and examiner to make relevant contributions. Candidates should bring their notes to the exam room and give a copy to the examiner. The notes do not form part of the assessment. Candidates can present their notes in a variety of ways. Some ideas are given below: Note cards Mind maps Pictures and diagrams Other points about using notes:  don’t include too much information — put only key words and phrases, not paragraphs of text  include any quotes, statistics or lists that are needed  pictures, diagrams and visual aids can help the candidate remember what they want to say  practise using notes. Exam procedure  The examiner invites the candidate to introduce his/her topic by saying: We’ll start with the topic. What are we going to talk about?  The examiner will ask for a copy of the candidate’s notes.  The candidate initiates the discussion by giving information on their topic.  The discussion is led by the candidate. He or she provides most of the input in the form of long turns.  The candidate needs to engage the examiner in the discussion, ask and answer questions, handle interruptions and respond to requests for clarification.  After five minutes, the examiner will end the Topic phase by saying: Thank you. Now we’ll move on to the Interactive task phase. (Images: Saginaw Future/Flickr CC BY, Hans Musil/Wikipedia CC BY SA, South Africa The Good News/Wikipedia CC BY SA)

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