IH Journal: Examinator Column

30 Mar

It is with very great pride that I’d like to share my new column in the IH Journal!

I love teaching exam classes.  I find them to be among the more motivated and interested students and while this isn’t always the case with every student, very often having that fixed goal of the exam helps the students to think about what they can do, what they can’t do and what they need to know to get where they want to go.  So the fact that I now get to write about teaching exam classes is just the cherry on top of the cake!


In this first column, I look at teaching writing to exam classes, which I find is often an area of weakness as students don’t always get asked to work with the text types or text structures that an exam demands, until they get to the exam itself.  It’s not that writing is neglected necessarily at lower levels, but that exam writing asks for a different approach to writing than is often presented in more general English course books.

So in this article, apart from introducing the column, you’ll find three key ideas to help your learners with their exam writing.  Find out more here:

Examinator Column:  Helping Learners with Exam Writing

And while you’re there, why not take a look at some of the other great articles on offer?  This issue sees a bit of a revamp of the IH Journal format, under the new editorship of Chris Ozóg, and includes new columns on teacher training and development, academic management, as well as familiar favourites on technology and Young learner teaching.  This particular issue also has a special focus on materials writing, how to get into it, how to do it and what it’s really like.

If you have any comments on my piece, but can’t submit them via the IH Journal site, feel free to comment here.  Particularly if there’s an exam related topic you’d like me to address in future issues.



2 Responses to “IH Journal: Examinator Column”

  1. Mark C Chapman Thursday 31 March 2016 at 13:05 #

    Why do you love teaching exam classes? Why is teaching students how to jump through hoops interesting? They are the least motivating classes for me to teach; it’s so much more interesting to help students to develop their ability to speak and write in English.

    • David Petrie Tuesday 5 April 2016 at 15:42 #

      I don’t see it as teaching students to jump through hoops, though I do completely understand where you’re coming from. Obviously it depends on the exam, but the exams my students tend to be aiming for are quite good, in as much as they test areas of skill rather than discrete language item manipulation. So for example, a reading component which requires students to understand what intra-textual links are and how they work, has an obvious impact on general language ability beyond the exam. Yet it isn’t something I have seen very often or at all in GE courses. So to answer your question, I guess I like it because of the focus that it requires and because of the wider applicability of what they learn.

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