Cambridge IGCSE® English as a Second Language sample lesson

Dean Roberts is a trainer and examiner, with over 15 years’ experience teaching English around the world. Read Dean’s advice on developing confident speaking skills for Cambridge IGCSE English as a Second Language...

Dean Roberts, examiner

Facilitate peer assessment and discussion, helping students think critically

As a trainer and examiner, teachers often ask me for advice on developing secure and fluent speaking skills in the context of a focused discussion. I’ve put together a sample lesson using resources from the Oxford University Press and Cambridge Assessment International Education Exam Skills Builders, so you can try the unique approach to skills development in your classroom. All of the sample resources, including worksheets and recordings, are available below.

Drive discussion

First, I would play students an authentic student response to the Freedom to Travel topic, from the English as a Second Language Exam Skills Builder CD. Working in pairs or small groups, I would then ask students to apply the marking criteria to the recording. This facilitates peer assessment and discussion, helping students think critically about the skills to acquire. Students might notice, for example, that this candidate tries to give full responses, but does not always develop them – crucial for the Development and Fluency criteria.

Practise specific exam skills

To follow up, I’d ask students to prepare their own commentary, for a short presentation. They might include examples of where they felt the candidate did well, or where he could have given a better response. They might also demonstrate how they personally might have responded to the prompts. Here, they will be thinking critically about the conversation – and practising their own speaking skills.

To get your students ready for the 2014 requirements, encourage them to use each discussion prompt in sequence. Aim for a 6 to 9 minute discussion which has covered all five prompts, but added to these with spontaneous and relevant points.

Next steps

Here are some ideas for extra practice using the sample resources below:

  • Use Task 2 from the Examiner commentary to conduct a more detailed analysis of the Addiction recording, as a group discussion.
  • Once individual notes have been been made, use this Worksheet to prompt the group to discuss their findings and views.

Dean is the author of English as a Second Language for Cambridge IGCSE.

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