Sunday, June 13, 2010

Phone tests

Another assessment tool this particular hogwon uses to test children as young as five years old is the phone test. They do this so that parents can hear their children speaking English over the phone. It creates more work for me, and was one more reason why I was at school until 9pm this week. I prepare questions that we have been going over in class and call the student at home and ask them. There's only one problem. All of the visual cues that I have in the classroom are not there. How many five year old Korean kids are used to talking on the phone to their teacher? Yeah, it's weird. It was a weird experience for all.

A phone conversation would go like this:

Me: What is your favorite animal?
Kid: ... silence....
Me: not knowing what else to do but repeat myself...What is your favorite animal?
Kid: It's a turtle.
Me: What kind of animal is a turtle?
Kid: Silence. silence. More silence.
Me: What kind of animal is a turtle? Is it a mammal?
Kid: A turtle is a reptile.
Me: Good! Why is a turtle a reptile.
Kid: Because it has dry skin. (This is one of our speaking points.)
Me: Good.
Me: What time do you get up?
Kid: I get up at 1 o'clock.
Me: (Thinking this is wrong, but it's in perfect English so I'll let it go.)

And so on and so on until I have tested all 20 of my kindergarteners. I get to phone call the second graders next week. Oh joy!
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