Teachers preparing students to take the Michigan English Test (MET) can benefit from these helpful tips and activities for the speaking section. The tips are based on corpus analysis data that is referenced below.
Develop a Lesson on Stance/Evaluative Phrases
Stance and evaluative phrases help convey the attitude that someone has toward the subject they are talking about. A sentence that indicates stance may begin with “I think that” or “I feel that.” An evaluative phrase at the beginning of a sentence might be “In my opinion.”
A lesson focused on introducing or reviewing stance/evaluative phrases is valuable because these kinds of phrases help English speakers convey their opinions to listeners.
Develop a Lesson on Prepositional Phrases
Certain prepositional phrases can help English speakers introduce their ideas and organize what they say. For example, “The advantages of” and “The idea of” are two prepositional phrases that indicate what the speaker is going to discuss.
Help your students to develop their speaking skills and to organize their ideas with a lesson focused on prepositional phrases.
Assign students a peer interview activity to complete either in class or as homework. If the assignment is for homework, it’s important the students record themselves speaking. Students can share these recordings with the class.
Pair students and provide them with two handouts: one with a list of questions (“Is there a movie or TV show you want to watch?”) and one with a list of phrases (“I would like to”). The students will take turns asking and answering the questions from the handouts. The person answering the questions should begin their responses using the phrases provided.
Ask students to come up with additional phrases to use in responding to the questions. Students will learn that there are multiple phrases they can use for each kind of question.
Ask students to answer each question two or more times, each time using a different phrase from the handout.
Provide students with a long list of phrases to choose from when answering the questions.
The working paper “Validating the MET speaking test through phraseological analysis: A corpus approach to language assessment” by Ute Römer and Jayanti Banerjee provided the basis for these tips and activities.