Wednesday 23 April 2008

The Teaching Knowledge Test (continued)

Here's a bit more information about the TKT, from my notes on last week's seminar. There are three modules to the exam, which can be taken in any order. Each module is one hour and twenty minutes long, and comprises eighty questions. This means you're answering one question per minute. It's objectively assessed, so all questions are multiple choice, one-to-one matching or odd one out. Grading is on a banded basis, and consists of four bands, one being the lowest and four being the highest.

Module One covers aspects such as defining terms, identifying learner needs and presentation techniques. It's broken down into three parts: describing language and language skills (40 questions), background to language learning (15 questions), and background to language teaching (25 questions). The TKT glossary is very useful for the first area, whereas the others can be researched from a variety of sources, of which The TKT Course from Cambridge University Press and The Teaching Knowledge Test from McGraw-Hill are a couple of examples. However, the knowledge a teacher has accumulated in the classroom is also invaluable for this exam.

If you would like more information about this test, I have found the TKT Handbook to be very useful. It includes more detailed information than I've given here, as well as practice tests and an answer key for those who wish to take the self-access route.

Monday 14 April 2008

TKT Module 1 Seminar

Here's a quick report on the Teaching Knowledge Test seminar held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Mexico City last Saturday. The event was organised by Cambridge ESOL Mexico in order to familiarise teachers with the first module of TKT and to give us some insight into how it works. It was sponsored by the three centres who offer the exam (the Anglo, International House and the British Council) and two publishers (Cambridge University Press and McGraw-Hill). About 300 people came to the event.

As this was the first time I'd attended a Cambridge ESOL seminar, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. However, the presentation was excellent. Liliana Sánchez, who gave the talk, showed us very clearly how the exam works. It's essentially a written test, which can be taken either on paper or by computer, and there is no coursework involved. My first impression was that this would make it easier for busy teachers to find room in their schedules for certification, as they wouldn't have to give up valuable time to take courses. This is assuming that we can be disciplined enough for self-access study!

The module we looked at on Saturday was Module 1, which has the rather cumbersome title of "Language and Background to Language Learning and Teaching". This basically means that it's all about methodology and use of language, and the workshop activities we carried out over the course of the seminar focussed chiefly on these areas. However, we received plenty of materials to chew over both during and after the event, so I'll give a more detailed overview at a later date.

Overall, I found the seminar very useful, both as a teacher and as a coordinator. If you're interested in learning more about this test, the Cambridge ESOL TKT site has a lot more information.