Monday, April 30, 2018

C2 Sample Essay 19 (Teacher Responsibility)

Writing at C2 level (Proficient User) on English language examinations is the same no matter the awarding body when it comes to writing essays. If you are a candidate giving an exam in English, make sure you read my earlier post What do I do with the sample writing found on this blog? to get the most out of the sample essays provided on this blog. 



If you are not taking an exam but need ideas on teacher responsibilities (academic or social), then read on and note down what you deem useful. If you intend on using this essay as part of an assignment, remember to paraphrase so as not to plagiarize.


The following topic was taken from a Michigan State University English Language Examinations publication (Go For MSU - CELP (C2), Super Course System). As you will notice, the topic is similar to what candidates would expect in any other C2 level examination in that examiners want to see a well-organized, coherent and cohesive discussion of the issue with arguments, explanations and examples. 


Elie Wiesel - Night (Overview)

https://argutelegacy.blogspot.com/2018/04/elie-wiesel-night.html

Night is a heavy book to read. 

You believe you know the events that took place in WWII because you learnt more facts and dates at school than you would have liked, watched over a dozen movies related to the war that came after the one that was supposed to end all wars, visited museums and seen artefacts linked to atrocities on one side and bravery on the other. And yet, Night strikes deeper into the heart of readers because it balances them between real fiction and fictitious reality, toying with their mind which is unable to grasp the horror of the book they hold before them as they read. 

"How? How is this possible?" repeats itself like a mantra as your eyes fly over the words on each page, so simply written, so briefly expressed, so full of pathos. Characters develop effortlessly, the tragedy of an entire generation unfolds like a bloodied gauze that's left its mark on charred skin. 

This book must be read. Buy it. Teach it. Share it with others.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

B2-level Grammar List



Studying English grammar is seldom exciting. Nevertheless, it is something that students who are preparing to sit an English examination at B2 level need to do as the exam (be it the ECCE, MSU-CELP, LRN, ESB, or FCE First for Schools) is likely to include a separate section entirely devoted to it.


Regardless of the test's format, proper use of the English language in writing and speaking is required for a candidate to achieve a passing score, so careful and organized study of grammar is needed, no matter what. 

Which is why the following list was drawn up for both teachers and students. If a B2 exam candidate is able to outline the rules that apply to each and every element on this list, then passing the exam should not be an issue. The reason for this is because they will be able to


a) recognize the grammatical construct examined in a particular question of the exam (for instance, in the multiple choice questions of the grammar section of the ECCE or MSU-CELC, or in the Use of English section of the FCE/B2 First for Schools) and answer the question by recalling the rules which apply

b) use the more complex B2 grammatical constructs, incorporating them in the Speaking section of the exam (the oral component, in other words) or Writing section, which will result in a higher mark.

In short, this is a checklist for students and teachers. Going over each section will consolidate knowledge and 


a) steer candidates away from pitfalls in the grammar section 

b) encourage systematic use of the principles behind each unit in speaking and writing so that they become second nature.


As the blog grows, explanations and exercises for each of these points will be uploaded.


Sunday, April 22, 2018

C2 Sample Essay 18 (Immersion schools)

Writing at C2 level (Proficient User) on English language examinations is the same no matter the awarding body when it comes to writing essays. If you are a candidate giving an exam in English, make sure you read my blog post What do I do with the sample writing found on this blog? to get the most out of the sample essays provided by yours truly. 



If you are not taking an exam but need ideas on the topic of attending an immersion school, then read on and note down what you deem useful. Don't forget: paraphrase to avoid plagiarism!


The following topic was taken from a Michigan State University English Language Examinations publication (Go For MSU - CELP (C2), Super Course System). As you will notice, the topic is similar to what candidates would expect in any other C2 level examination in that examiners want to see a well-organized, coherent and cohesive discussion of the issue with arguments, explanations and examples. 

Friday, April 20, 2018

IELTS: How To Grade Your Writing


Do You Know the IELTS Marking Criteria for the Writing Section?

When I first started working 20 or so years ago, it was teaching high school graduates who were applying through UCAS to attend a university in Britain and whose mother tongue wasn't English. The IELTS, therefore, was a 'must' for them. 

Through my experience dealing with both year-long students, with whom ample time preparing was available, and intensive course candidates who needed to sit the exam in a few weeks time, I learned that writing was the area most were having trouble coming to grips with.

This, apparently, seems to be the case with the majority of IELTS candidates around the world as well, as I've been seeing a lot of discussion on forums, social media groups and other online communities in general about the writing section on the IELTS exam lately. The overwhelming question is "How do they [the examiners] grade the writing?" and the usual post is one where an essay is attached and the prospective IELTS candidate (who has decided not to attend a special preparation course), all worried, is urgently requesting that someone comment regarding the score the essay would get.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

C2-level Grammar List


Students of English who are preparing to sit an examination at C2 level often worry, amongst a million other things, about grammar. Whether the exam consists of a separate section that tests grammar or not, there is little doubt that the textbooks used in preparation for the exam include individual sections that explain a grammatical construct with subsequent exercises to consolidate a student's understanding.

The following list is one that should serve as a basis  for candidates and teachers. If a C2 exam candidate is able to outline the rules that apply to each and every element on this list, then they will be able to 

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Karl Shapiro – Auto Wreck

https://argutelegacy.blogspot.com/2018/04/shapiro-auto-wreck.html
Karl Shapiro's poem "Auto Wreck" was published in 1942 in his book Person, Place, and Thing, a collection of 51 poems.

December 7,1941 was a turning point in World War II when the Americans, devastated by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, decided to actively engage Axis forces by deploying the military. After years of 'neutrality' (the US had already been helping the British by sending money, ammunition and food supplies since the spring of 1941), action had been imposed on them, so to speak.

It seemed his being drafted into the army and serving in the Pacific Theater brought about Shapiro's inspiration to write. Four books of poems were published from his days in the army. Stationed in New Guinea, he wrote V-Letter and Other Poems which gave him the Pulitzer Prize in 1945. 

"Auto Wreck" can be construed as the direct result of what Shapiro experienced during the war. The hollow logic of war, the arbitrariness of human life and death, the idiocy of apathy within a context of normality are the ideas this poem evokes to readers, though war per se is not mentioned. It is as if Shapiro wishes to explain the futility of life to someone who has never experienced it in combat, but who can bring to mind similar thoughts and feelings having already been a witness to road accidents.

C2 Sample Essay 17 (Teen Unhealthy Eating Habits & Disorders)

Writing at C2 level (Proficient User) on English language examinations is the same no matter the awarding body when it comes to writing essays. If you are a candidate giving an exam in English, make sure you read my blog post What do I do with the sample writing found on this blog? to get the most out of the sample essays provided by yours truly. 

The following topic was taken from a Michigan State University English Language Examinations publication (Go For MSU - CELP (C2), Super Course System). As you will notice, the topic is similar to what candidates would expect in any other C2 level examination in that examiners expect a well-organized, coherent and cohesive discussion of the issue with arguments, explanations and examples. 

If you are not taking an exam but need ideas on the topic of eating disorders and unhealthy eating habits, then read on and note down what you deem useful. Don't forget: paraphrase to avoid plagiarism!



Friday, April 13, 2018

MUN Resources - Where Do I Start?

As the saying goes, the beginning is always the hardest part - ask any writer and they'll show you their fingernails, or whatever's left of them.

Well, starting off with your grand Model United Nations endeavor is not unlike writing in that you need to get your facts straight before you can begin to put your ducks in order. In this case your ducks are your ideas and overall opinion vis-à-vis the issue.

The reason why most of you are reading this right now is because you've signed up for the MUN team, or you've been asked to join it, or have heard that you'll travel abroad to attend it, and hey, any opportunity to get away from your regular routine is welcome. Believe me, few people say "No!" to road trips.

However, beyond the point of accepting to attend, you have little idea what it is that you'll be doing. If you know of someone who's going at it a second time, ask them. First-hand accounts are always the best. If you're part of a team who are new to this, then your coordinator is the next best individual to approach. Chances are, said coordinator has already briefed you on a number of things and well-prepared coordinators will have handed out a set of folders with useful information for first-time delegates. 

This, dear reader, is the blog entry for those who have no one 'competent' to turn to. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Literary Terminology List 2

When analyzing stories, certain key terms must be taken into account. In the previous list of literary terms, the variety of concepts presented are used not only to explain stories but also poems. In addition to this, a number of other words were included in the list that could be seen as pertinent to a class discussion on a text. 

This time round, however, the list will deal with key notions exclusively associated with stories. By looking at each main category, readers can evaluate works by authors and be able to elaborate on the stories themselves, either in writing or orally. It is therefore vital for anyone involved in the process of critically assessing literary works, to keep these terms in mind so as to be able to write or speak about them in an academic environment; heck, even over a cup of coffee with friends at a social gathering. 


Note to teachers: 
Naturally, teachers should hand this list to students and cover each concept at a time with concrete examples taken from stories. Start off with short stories (find a number of these here, whose length won't send your students into a tizzy), then ease into more challenging longer novels.
 

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Writing about Literature: What students should know before handing in English assignments

I've often found that students aren't taught how to write about literary texts. They attend a Literature course either in school or university, but their work is devoid of that little extra something that would make it commendable. 

The reason for this is because either they haven't been told what work of this nature requires or because they haven't paid close attention to what their teachers or professors have expressly stated they base marks on. 

Whatever the case may be, the following pointers should prove useful. If you're a student, make a checklist of the notes hereinafter and check them off when you reread your finished assignment. If you're a teacher, you can make a handout and go over the points in class at the beginning of the academic year. 

Knowing what is expected of you will make your writing more to the point, show your knowledge of

Thursday, April 5, 2018

B2 Sample Writing 9 (Essay - Diet & Emotional Health)


Essay writing at B2 level is no different from B2 letter writing in that candidates are still expected to write formally, give good, clear arguments and develop their ideas using a variety of grammatical structures and vocabulary expected at this level.

To see what the different types of essays are and how they may be structured, read B2 Writing: The Basics. 


The sample essay that follows answers the following question:

A healthy diet plays a large role in a person's emotional health. Discuss, giving examples to support any information.

Remember the reason why these sample essays have been uploaded and how to make the best of them by reading "What do I do with the sample writing found on this blog?".

B2 Sample Writing 8 (Essay - Internet)


Essay writing at B2 level is no different from B2 letter writing in that candidates are still expected to write formally, give good, clear arguments and develop their ideas using a variety of grammatical structures and vocabulary expected at this level.

To see what the different types of essays are and how they may be structured, read B2 Writing: The Basics. 

Let us deal with the following question:

What are the advantages and disadvantages of using the Internet in education? Is the Internet a useful educational tool or does it pose too many risks? Give examples to support your opinions.

Read the following sample essay, keeping in mind what has already been said in "What do I do with the sample writing found on this blog?".

B2 Sample Writing 7 (Letter - Shortening Summer Holidays)


Please read "What do I do with the sample writing found on this blog?" before reading this blog entry. 
 

The following letter is an example of how examination candidates could tackle the subject of limiting students' summer break. The sample has been modeled on the University of Michigan Examination for the Certificate of Competency in English (ECCE) Task 1 question of the Writing section available on page 206 of the Hellenic American Union's ECCE Practice Examinations book (Book 1).

Task 1 of the rubric is based on an announcement published in The City Times stating that the Department of Education is proposing to shorten the summer break for students from 10 weeks to 6 weeks. Their view is that 3 months is too much time off and that more time should be spent studying, therefore school should remain open until the end of July.



Candidates are asked to write a letter to the newspaper expressing their opinion on this proposal, covering questions such as:
 a) should the summer holiday period be shortened?
 b) do students and teachers need less time to rest?
 c) should more time be dedicated to studying?

The letter should begin with "Dear Editor".


If you haven't already done so, read this post B2 Writing: The Basics.


B2 Sample Writing 6 (Letter - School Representative)

https://argutelegacy.blogspot.com/2018/04/b2-writing-letter-school-representative.html
To get the most out of these sample essays and letters, please read "What do I do with the sample writing found on this blog?" before reading this blog entry.
 
The following letter is an example of how examination candidates could tackle the subject of recommending one of their peers. The sample has been modeled on the University of Michigan Examination for the Certificate of Competency in English (ECCE) Task 1 question of the Writing section available on page 182 of the Hellenic American Union's ECCE Practice Examinations book (Book 1).

Task 1 of the rubric asks candidates to write a recommendation letter. If you haven't already done so, read this post B2 Writing: The Basics to see what these letters are and how they can be organized.


Based on an announcement that appeared in Greenpark High School's newsletter, the Board Members of the school are looking for a student to represent both school and country at the International Student's Fair which will take place in Paris next month. 

The student, who will act as ambassador for the country, will be staying in Paris for 3 days and in that time will make a presentation of the country's culture and values at the fair as well as meet other students from around the world.

Candidates are asked to write a letter to the Board to nominate a student, explaining the reasons behind this choice (particularly why this person is right for this post and how they could present your country's culture to other students).

The letter should begin with "Dear School Board".

B2 Sample Writing 5 (Letter - Volunteering)



To get the most out of these sample essays and letters, please read "What do I do with the sample writing found on this blog?" before reading this blog entry.
 
The following letter is an example of how examination candidates could tackle the subject of volunteering at an animal shelter. The sample has been modeled on the University of Michigan Examination for the Certificate of Competency in English (ECCE) Task 1 question of the Writing section available on page 158 of the Hellenic American Union's ECCE Practice Examinations book (Book 1).

The rubric presents an announcement found in The City Times newspaper entitled "Volunteer Your Time, Save a Life". According to it, the town's local animal shelter is asking for volunteers to feed, take care of and help with fund-raising events such as bazaars for strays and mistreated animals. The shelter will visit schools to inform students about the benefits of volunteering and invites readers of The City Times to send letters regarding this.

Candidates are asked to write a letter to the newspaper outlining the advantages and disadvantages of volunteering with such organizations.

The letter should begin with "Dear Editor".


If you haven't already done so, read this post B2 Writing: The Basics.

B2 Sample Writing 4 (Letter - Website Restriction in Schools)

https://argutelegacy.blogspot.com/2018/04/b2-writing-3-letter-website.html

To get the most out of these sample essays and letters, please read "What do I do with the sample writing found on this blog?" before reading this blog entry.


The following letter is an example of how examination candidates could tackle the subject of limiting internet access. The sample has been modeled on the University of Michigan Examination for the Certificate of Competency in English (ECCE) Task 1 question of the Writing section available on page 134 of the Hellenic American Union's ECCE Practice Examinations book (Book 1).  


Based on the rubric, the newspaper The City Times reports that a public school official (Mr. Harding) has announced that access to certain kinds of websites that are inappropriate for children will be denied to students on all computers in schools after internet blocking devices will be installed. Although it is expected that some students will complain about this restriction, many more will see the benefit.

Candidates are asked to write a letter to the school official giving and justifying their opinion with regard to this announcement.

The letter should begin with "Dear Mr. Harding".



If you haven't already done so, read this post B2 Writing: The Basics.

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