Recently my lovely student March got a 27 on the Speaking section of the TOEFL iBT
When my students finally finish TOEFL I ask them to share their experience so that other pharmacists, dentists, physical therapists and working professionals can see that they are not alone. The questions I ask them are very specific – the goal is to motivate people who are still struggling and also to explain a little more about my teaching method.
I could tell you about my classes, but somehow my students always do a better job!
I have been a teacher for almost 15 years now, I have learned how to provide guidance, knowledge and information specific to my field. For TOEFL, I motivate my students, organize their study schedules, their study areas and sometimes, their lives. Over the years I have laughed and cried with my students aged 3 to 63 and I am proud to say that in every teaching experience that I have had, I too have learned something. That is the greatest joy in teaching.
March has a lot to say about her lessons with me. I will post more after the New Year because now she is going to take a well deserved holiday with her family.
Here’s what she said when I asked her specifically how I helped her on the Speaking section of the TOEFL iBT.
“First of all, Sierra helped me to feel more comfortable during speaking practice so that way I could speak more naturally. For each task she had a specific exercise or protocol to help me with my specific issues.
For example with Tasks 1&2 I used her “Think Fast” protocol to improve my topic development and get familiar how to answer questions within the time limit. This helped me answer questions faster with good examples.
Tasks 4&6 were the tasks that I had problems with the most. I used to hate them, but now I love them! Before I studied with Sierra I didn’t know to study them correctly, but after Sierra helped me study them the right way, and taught me to look for keywords and try to understand the readings and paraphrase them using my own words, I could do them so easily.
For every task, Sierra helped me by fixing my grammar or helped me find better words or create more natural sentences that were more suitable for speaking, she gave me choices to choose from. I like when she didn’t tell me what I did wrong in the first place. She left it blank and I had to think what I did wrong and fix it myself. It helped me recognize my mistakes and remember not to do it again. If I didn’t know how to fix it, she’ll always be there to help me.
During classes, we practiced speaking together. She helped me to pause in the right place, where to link words and how to say them correctly all together. She also recorded my responses speaking them for me so I could practice them and imitate her intonation, her word stress and linking and I improved a lot by doing that.”