Sunday, April 27, 2014

Developing 21st Century Skills to Cope with EFL Exams by Dimitris Primalis – Report

In his inspiring, exhilarating presentation, Dimitris wanted to promote the 4 c’s (as he said) super skills for the 21st century – Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, and Creativity.

Do students think? He played the role of an oral candidate of an EFL Exam – very eloquently I must admit. We would all agree that most candidates cannot cope with questions that they are not prepared for. Most of their responses do not reflect real life and they are too formally expressed, i.e. My family consists of 4 members. They should be taught basic communication skills and how they could fill long pauses in their speech.

Then we saw a video with Jeremy Irons who argued against the death penalty. We had to take notes and then we had a discussion using the arguments. We had to decide whether we are against or in favour of capital punishment. During our discussion we recorded ourselves. It was an opportunity for Dimitris to show how we can use devices like smartphones or tablets as a recording tool and check the speaking skills of our students with them.

How can we teach filling long pauses? There was a lovely sketch by 3 colleagues who had to use phrases in their acting, i.e. Let me think…, Well, for a start…

At the end he shared ideas of how EFL teachers can help exam candidates survive the exams. We should keep a balance between exam practice and skills development. We should implement pair and groupwork, urge critical thinking and brainstorming and technology can be used for learning besides entertaining.

Dimitris' presentation is available here 

By Georgia Psarra

Interviewed by our Roving Reporter: Jo Psarra

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