T: Hi Tony? You look busy. Are you marking?
IE: Yes. I've got about twenty IELTS exams to mark. I've done half of them but I still have a lot to go.
T: How's it going?
IE: Not so bad. I am marking all of the writing sections first. Reports.
T: Any good?
IE: Well that's confidential information - but let's just say there are all sorts.
T: Reports are easy to write though. I would have thought that was what students found easiest. They aren't like narrative
texts when you have to have a vivid imagination.
IE: Yes. You're right. But you'd be surprised at the silly mistakes that students make sometimes.
T: For example?
IE: Well, lots of people don't read the question carefully so they end up writing a report about the wrong thing.
they read the question too quickly, think they understand what they have to do but miss out a whole chunk of information.
T: Yes. I know what you mean. My students do that in class. They don't seem to realise how important it is just reading the
question and thinking about it a bit - what it means - who the report is for - what style they should use - they are always in
too much of a hurry to start writing
IE: Yes. I am sure that half the candidates don't even write a plan. It is easy to spot the ones who do - their reports are
much easier to follow, they include all the information and they are noticeably better written
IE: Yes. Absolutely.
T: I'll tell my students that. Can I?
IE: (laughing) of course. It should be obvious anyway. I am sure you've told them before.
T: Got any other tips?
IE: Well, I think it's a good idea to get your students used to using some sort of a checklist after they have finished writing
their report - or at least after they've written the first draft.
T: A checklist?
IE: Yes. A list of things to check. Obvious things but things that often get forgotten.
T: For example?
IE: Well, to check that the register is the right one of course. So, if a report is supposed to be formal then it should be formal.
No contractions, no colloquial expressions. And then spellings and headings.
IE: Yes, everyone makes spelling mistakes and usually the same ones again and again. If you can identify your own
particular mistakes then you can add them to your checklist.
T: Yes, that's true. That's useful advice.
IE: And then the obvious things - like have I included all the information? Have I got a concise introduction and a conclusion
that sums up all my ideas? Checklists are individual. Each student knows his or her own weak points and should write a list
T: That's great. I like the idea of a checklist. I think I'll talk about that in class today. Fancy a coffee?
IE: No thanks, I haven't got time. I still have ten reports to correct and I am supposed to finish them by the morning.
T: Oh - well I won't disturb you any more - thanks for the advice
IE: No problem!
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