Everyday thousands of individuals set their minds on preparing for high-stakes English language tests such as IELTS, TOEFL, or PTE. Some have recently decided to pursue their higher education at a university in another country. Others might have considered immigration to an English speaking country for professional and/or personal purposes. In either case, providing proof of English language proficiency is one of the first steps they need to take without which they cannot embark on their journey. Having that in mind, they are willing to go to any lengths and by spending significant amounts of money, time, and resources, achieve the English language test results they want.
The most crucial concern for many would be efficiency and quality of the courses and preparation programs they choose to attend. However, what does quality mean in the context of preparation for an English language proficiency test? How can you judge the quality of an English language test preparation course before trusting it with significant amounts of time, budget, efforts, and your other valuable resources? How can you really tell if a course or instructor could be trusted with one of the most determining decisions in your life? Even a tiny misjudgment in choosing an English language test preparation course could mean wasting your time, money, and probably getting off track. Making the right choice, however, can give you peace of mind, save your precious efforts, time, and money, and thrust you towards your goals.
English language test preparation instructor is, in the first place, an experienced
English language teacher.
It might sound common sense, but a qualified instructor for your IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, or any other English language test preparation course must be a professional and experienced English language teacher. I can’t stress this enough because day in and day out I hear about an increasing number of candidates who have lost their time, money, and aspirations simply because the instructor lacked specialized knowledge relevant to English language tests such as IELTS, TOEFL, or PTE.
Shockingly, there is an increasing number of English language test preparation instructors, consultants, and “experts” with absolutely no prior expertise in ELT and applied linguistics. I have occasionally come across instructors who lack basic ELT certificates and qualifications, and with backgrounds in engineering, medicine, and other fields evidently irrelevant to English language teaching (ELT). And not even that, in some cases some brag about their “innovative” “methods” and “theories” in ELT.
If you are truly determined to achieve the results you want, it is wise to work with experienced ELT professionals, who know “what” English language learning involves and “how” your learning can be maximized.
from someone with academic expertise in English language teaching (ELT) and applied
This quality is closely related to the first point, and in a sense, it is an extension to that. In some cases, a teacher could be a highly qualified ELT professional but not necessarily an English language test preparation expert or instructor. Over the course of my career, I have come across tens of ELT professionals who admitted that teaching IELTS, TOEFL, or PTE preparation courses requires a certain set of skills and resources. I have also witnessed some highly qualified ELT professionals who were asked to teach English test preparation courses but resorted to their regular teaching practices suitable for general English courses.
While there is some common ground between teaching general English and English language test preparation courses, there is a host of areas for the instructors to master before shifting to teaching IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, and other English exam preparation courses. In particular, having their academic background in ELT and applied linguistics can be a great asset for the instructor, and can put them head and shoulders above the crowd. This is partially because high stakes English language tests are jointly developed by scholars and experts in the fields of education, ELT, applied linguistics, and even psychology, and thereby it would take someone with expertise in at least some of those areas to make sense of the tests. Only then, the instructor can unpack and deconstruct the tests to help their students maximize their preparation.
efficient instructor must be organized and disciplined.
This quality talks for itself. Preparing for IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, or any other high stakes English language test, demands a lot of planning, adjustments, and probably some sacrifices. In a nutshell, as a test preparation candidate, you need a clear plan for your every day of the preparation period, and the best person who can help you develop such a plan is your course instructor. Now, if your instructor is too lenient and easy-going, your progress might not be efficient enough.
Having that in mind, I would suggest a firm but friendly instructor for exam preparation courses. One with a clear timetable, a well-articulated plan for your day-to-day activities and tasks, and most probably a whole set of ICT tools and computer applications to boost productivity, plan, provide feedback, interact, and check your progress. Preparing for an English language test is serious because in many cases your future plans depend on it.
continue reading the rest of the qualities in the second part of the article.
By: Sina (A.SJ)