I’m very forgetful of late! I just saw this text I’m pasting with the feedback I wrote the other day for Romina. I think it is unfinished, but as she sent the audio and I’ll be putting together a video for our vimeo channel, I’ll just post it now so as not to keep her waiting.
Hey, we forgot to do the speaking exercise on why I am a woman / a man and a human being and nobody remembered!! Does this mean nobody wants to do it? Well, it’s OK, of course. But if you want to do it, just let me know! If you are shy, I can create a page here so you can post away!
As Romina came back to class, after having been ill for over a week now, we decided to give people more time to prepare the 1, 2, 3 min speaking exercise on gender identity (start volunteering whenever we meet, as usual with 3-4-min OPs, OK? Everybody needs to share one of these a month in class), and listen to her instead. And it was great. Her OP was How to Set Up a Business, and it was not in the timed speaking test format. She will be sending me the audio so I can prepare it for publication on our EOI Teacher Sharing C1 Work, which is where I publish audios in video format. (Our School’s YouTube Channel has videos by students, which I encourage you to watch, particularly if you wish to work on your LoM, Lists of Mistakes.)
Her language range was really rich, and natural, fluent. Her use of the past was consolidated at the advanced level, for instance, and she could change from past to present and viceversa accurately. She also included varied tenses in the passive too, e.g., “I was going to be told what to do” (future in the past in the passive), showed a consolidated use of verbal structures like “I was used to working on my own”, “half of what I was earning” (partitive + indirect question + “earn” + past cont. for a descriptive mood, instead of past simple for factual completed past), connectors (comment adverbials) such as “Obviously, I have bills to pay”, “non-refundable funds” (lower level indicators: ), “It’s really funny” (correctly used!).
When she encountered a language problem (on 3 occassions, in a highly fluent and accurante 11-minute presentation), she managed to make her points. This is a crucial indicator of a command of the language at the advanced level. So make sure you all practice re-telling this year (with the audios your work on at home and record in your listening log) and also communicative strategies (“I mean”, “How can I say this?”, “What’s the word for this? Well,”.
Romina’s outline / content structure was consistent. She spoke from experience, so she started offering the setting: she spoke about her previous job and the circumstance of her finding herself out of work, but she also reflected upon it all so as to lead us into understanding some of the strengths that played to her advantage when having to become an entrepreneur (e.g. being used to making decisions and working on her own). She also shared the feelings involved in all of that (e.g. the hurtful feeling of humiliation we get when being sacked and offered jobs that do not fulfill our career expectations). She was describing facts and assessing them all the way. Then she described the transitional situation she’s in at the moment and her present job. And how the law has changed, which was a precious tip for people in her position. She moved on to offer more info and tips on where to begin, where to go and it was really interesting because that included local projects (the Andalucía Lab, a subsized project where people help each other (at this point I started having a mild migraine so people, feel free to correct or complete my description), or the benefits offered or more precisely the cuts on benefits (economic assistance). Finally, she addressed the marketing issue and all the resources one needs to have on the internet. Her final block was great, too: she described the point she was in now, in terms of work, and her future plans and ambitions. I have to say that her content development was very much at the advanced level: so train in this, combining factual info with assessment, but organize the whole in blocks that make sense. So her structure and transitions were very logical and natural (cohesion, coherence).
About her mistakes: She started off making a mistake you should all avoid, “The first (THING) I want to say” and “take this decision” — but later on she used “made this decision” so this means it was not systematic. Once she didn’t say “ON () the internet”, or “looking at” instead of “for” or the other way round. Considering she did not make mistakes like this later on, and that these mistakes were very few, the interpretation is that she was nervous. Oftentimes people say they did badly because they were nervous, but everybody is nervous when speaking in public, and students who enjoy the chance of practicing throughout the year should take advantage of this opportunity to train and become more resourceful and confident. What is clear to me is that, yes, when we are nervous we make some mistakes we wouldn’t when relaxed, but the quantity and nature of those mistakes can indicate our advanced level is not there, so make sure you all practice your weekly timed monologue at home, learning to listen to yourselves, and learning to fix your mistakes. To learn to do this, it is precious to watch the videos where I have included written corrections to people’s presentations. (Our youtube channel).
So as you can see, there’s not much on mistakes. But I do have comments on how she can improve some wordings, or simply some alternatives to make your language range richer. You need to find these alternatives in use in what you read and listen to!
the situation that I was living – the situation that I was experiencing / going through / undergoing