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A Real-Life ESL Test
This highly motivating activity helps students to integrate reading, writing and pronunciation in order to communciate with their classmates and/or volunteers.
Have the students write a page, double-spaced. Either give them a topic of general interest, i.e. My Home, My Hometown, My Work in My Country, or let them choose one they think will be of interest to others.
Indicate errors, make suggestions for correction, and hand it back. Students re-write it until it's error-free.
Make an audiotape of their story and let them take it home to practice the pronunciation.
The whole effort culminates in their reading their story to a volunteer or a group of their classmates (usually I have more than one story going at a time, with one reader and three or so listeners per group). Instruct the listeners to make sure they understand every word, because the grammar is correct and the pronunciation has been practiced. They are usually very keen to hear what their classmates have to say, and ask questions every sentence or so. Both listeners and readers demonstrate great patience and interest in communicating with each other, and the exercise demonstrates the importance of correct grammar and pronunciation. It is particularly beneficial to have a volunteer who is not used to talking with ESL students, as this person provides the best possible test for pronunciation -- can a native speaker understand what the student is saying?
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