Published on February 27, 2014
Cambridge English: C1 Writing
Handout: Communicative Achievement assessment Task 1 Read through the following Part 1 question and candidate script B, and the Part 2 question and candidate script G. Discuss with your partner the reasons why each script achieved Band 1 for Communicative Achievement.
Candidate script B Hi Alex, It's great you could find ads! Thanks for sending them. So I had a look and it's true that both jobs look interesting but I'd go for the Tall Trees Campsite. Well actually I'd kill for a stay in London but if we are to stay there, I'm not sure how much we'll achieve Look, in the holiday resort we will meet lots of British people, which we probably won't in London and that's all benefit for our English. OK, then we're on the countryside, but we'll get a good pay and won't have to pay for the accommodation. In London most of our money would go into renting a room with that money now we'll be able to travel around at the end of the stay, or even on week-ends. Don't you think so? Plus, there is one thing, I don't really feel like working in a restaurant... Helping organise activities will definitely brings no more on a professional level. But well, tell me what you think. TEACHING TIPS FOR CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH: C1 WRITING 3
Candidate script G Schools in Switzerland I think a typical school in my country is the one I went to. I said I think because I've never gone to a different school in my school time, which was 9 years long. And because I live in a really small town, everythig is a bit smaller in this school, but that doesn't affect the style of it. Grades are separated, that means, the middle school isn't at the same place than the secondary school, same goes with the elementary school. So I went to 3 three different schools when I was a student. I think that's a pretty good way to avoid bullying, even violence against younger students. A big advantage of Swiss Schools are the well educated teachers. My teachers in secondary school could teach me everything, even if I didn't undestand the subject at all. We also do a lot of serious work and are focused on the subject. If I compare all that with the High School I attended last year, it almost makes me laugh: At high school they take everything easier, the atmosphere is more related and you only have 2 classes a day. To be honest, I didn't learn a lot while I was there, besides English, of course. A simple explanation why we learn more in Switzerland could also be: We go to school for 9 years and pick up more stuff than others do in 12 years. Thinking about improvements that could be done for Swiss Schools, one idea is in my head immediately. I'd really appreciate if the students have more possibilities in choosing the subjects. That's a thing I like at other high schools. Because if a student doesn't need biology in his further career, why does he or she have to do it? And it's not just biology, the same goes with the languges or even some parts of mathematics. Another type of improvement could also be more guest speakers at the schools. The only problem about that is to find a subject which is suitable for all students. Overall, I like the style of Swiss Schools and like I said, only little things could be done better. 4 TEACHING TIPS FOR CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH: C1 WRITING
Task 2 Now look at candidate script F, which answers the Part 1 question. What makes this a Band 4 answer? Take into account the following points: Does the answer follow the conventions of the task type (informal letter)? Is appropriate register used? Is the target reader’s attention held? Are complex ideas communicated? Candidate script F Hi Alex, First of all, thank you for your research. I think you've found two pretty interesting jobs. I always wondered how it is to work as a server, especially abroad when you're learning a languge. But here's the first problem i guess, do you think our English is good enough for serving guests? Because I really wouldn't have fun if I had to ask twice for every order. Everything else about this restaurant sounds awesome though. I mean, there's nothing better than learning a languge with international staff. Especially if some of the staff is learning English as well, it's way easier to help each other out if you run into trouble and you have good buddies to get you out of there. And, what completes all the great opportunities, is the location of the place. I don't think there's anything better in the UK than Central London, think about the parties and all the night life there buddy. We just have to find a place to live there, that might be harder than it seems. But I'm sure it'd work out with their help. Of course, I checked out the other possibillity as well. The work on the campsite sounds interesting as well. Meeting lots of people means lots of talking and chatting. The beautiful countryside sounds adorable too, but I don't think it's comparable to Central London. Another good point is the payment, that they mentioned is fairly high. The best thing, or the most important fact, however, is the free accommodation there. After all the comparing though, I think Joe's Italian Restaurant would fit perfect in my view of living and working in the UK. Talk to you soon bud, TEACHING TIPS FOR CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH: C1 WRITING 5
Handout: Identifying Organisation Task 1 Look at the following script C and the previous script Fs that answer the Writing Part 1 question (letter). With your partner, decide which of the two scripts achieved a higher band in terms of Organisation. Candidate script C Hi Alex, Thank you for sending me the two adverts. They both look pretty interesting. I like the fact that Tall Trees Campsite is a popular British holiday resort. That would mean we would have the opportunity to improve our English a lot. Furthermore the fact that the accomodation would be free sounds great. Also to be getting well paid sounds fabelous. But don't you think in Joe's Italian Restaurant we would also earn enough money? As far as I know tips are normaly quite good so all in all the aspect of money should be fine there as well. We would certainly need their offer in helping us to find a place to stay, which shouldn't be too expensive. In Joe's Italian Restaurant we would have the chance to meet people from many different cultures but I'm not that sure if this would help us to improve our English though we don't know wheather they speak fluently. But due to the fact that the Restaurant is located right in the center of London many of their guests are certainly English. So we would get the chance to speak English anyway. What I like more about Joe's Italian Restaurant is the fact that it is located in the middle of London. It would be much easier to do some sightseeing from there instead of staying out in the countryside and having to travel much longer distances to get somewhere. So I would say Joe's Italian Restaurant is more likely to suit us though I think we can improve our English at both places and staying in the citycentre makes it easier to get around. I am really looking foreward to our trip. 6 TEACHING TIPS FOR CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH: C1 WRITING
Task 2 The following statements are comments from the examiner. Which candidate script does each one refer to – C, F or both? 1) The response is arranged into logical paragraphs. 2) It is a coherent whole. 3) … a variety of cohesive devices and organisational patterns. 4) The candidate uses a variety of cohesive devices and organisational patterns … This is not always successful, however. 5) … but the use of ‘there’ in the paragraph about London shows a certain lack of flexibility. 6) There are also numerous places where shorter sentences and fragments could be co-ordinated to create longer sentences. TEACHING TIPS FOR CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH: C1 WRITING 7
Handout: Language – pluses and minuses Task 1 Look at candidate script F on page 5 (Band 3) and find the following language examples. Complete the grid, deciding whether the example is a ‘plus’ or a ‘minus’, and why. (Some answers have been completed already as examples and to guide you.) run in to trouble Grammar or lexis? lexis Plus or minus? plus Comment less common lexis I’m sure it’d work out server lacks precision buddy plus minus i guess lexis plus grammar minus awesome I really wouldn’t have fun plus if I had to ask twice minus Another good point is plus the payment, that they minus mentioned is fairly high. Task 2 Now look at candidate script B on page 4. It achieved a Band 1 for language. What differences can you see between it and candidate script F (Band 3), in terms of lexis and grammar? 8 TEACHING TIPS FOR CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH: C1 WRITING
Handout: BEC Higher Writing Part 1 Handout: BEC Higher Writing Part 2 TEACHING TIPS FOR CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH: C1 WRITING 9
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Classroom ideas for Cambridge English: C1 Writing The aim of this activity is to highlight near synonyms that are different because of register. Appropriate register is an important aspect of Communicative Achievement. Classroom activity: Register noughts and crosses (tic tac toe) Timing 5–10 minutes Materials nine example questions (see suggestions below); whiteboard Procedure 1. Draw a noughts and crosses grid on the board. Number the squares from 1 to 9. 2. Divide the class into two teams. One will use noughts and the other crosses. 3. Ask the first team to choose a number which refers to a question. 4. Ask the question; if the team answer correctly, they get to keep the square, marking it with their symbol (nought or cross). 5. Ask the second team to choose a number and follow the same procedure. 6. The first team to get a line of three squares wins. 7. After the game has finished review the answers. 8. Elicit additional synonyms, if possible (for example, in sentence 1 with ‘pal’, you could also include mate, chum, buddy, etc.). Example questions 1) Is ‘pal’ an informal or formal synonym for friend? (informal) 2) What is ‘brolly’ an informal term for? (umbrella) 3) As he felt ‘chuffed’, was he pleased or not? (yes – he was pleased) 4) Is a ‘cop’ a fireman or policeman? (policeman) 5) Which is more formal – telly or television? (television – though it’s neutral rather than formal) 6) If I want to go up should I ‘ascend’ or ‘descend’? (ascend) 7) Does ‘alight’ mean get on or get off? (get off) 8) If you have ten ‘quid’ do you have ten pounds or ten pence? (pounds) 9) Which part of the body does the adjective ‘cerebral’ refer to? (brain) Variation This could also be played with formal and informal sentences, for example: Can you open the window please?/Would you be so kind as to open the window? 12 TEACHING TIPS FOR CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH: C1 WRITING
Knowing a wide range of linkers and cohesive devices is useful for students when it comes to organising their writing. Students should be encouraged to keep this worksheet and continue to add to it, gradually building up a wide bank of words/phrases that they can use in the Writing test. N.B. Being able to identify the idea that a word/phrase is introducing is also a useful skill for the Reading paper. Classroom activity: Word bank (linking words) Timing 10 minutes Materials worksheet: Word bank Procedure 1. Prepare one copy of the worksheet: Word bank for each student. 2. Ask them to work on their own to put the words into the correct category. Allow 2 or 3 minutes for this then tell them to compare their answers with a partner. 3. Check answers as a whole class (see key to the worksheet below). 4. Now tell students to work with their partner to try to add at least one word or phrase to each category. Allow 2 or 3 minutes for this. 5. Elicit whole class feedback. Tell students to make a note of any alternatives they did not get themselves. Follow up Every two weeks, the students could be asked to bring their worksheet to class to see if they have added any further words and/or phrases, and to share their knowledge with the rest of the class. Key to worksheet Category to add Category to compare and contrast and but what’s more on the other hand in addition in contrast to emphasise to illustrate or exemplify certainly for example without a doubt for instance undeniably take the case of to move on to the next point to summarise or conclude then summing up subsequently as has been shown next in conclusion TEACHING TIPS FOR CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH: C1 WRITING 13
Worksheet: Word bank Put the linking words into the correct category. Add phrases of your own. There is one example for each category. as has been shown for instance in addition in conclusion in contrast next on the other hand subsequently take the case of undeniably what’s more without a doubt Category to add Category to compare and contrast and but to emphasise to illustrate or exemplify certainly for example to move on to the next point to summarise or conclude then summing up 14 TEACHING TIPS FOR CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH: C1 WRITING
Classroom activity: Ordering sentences Aims to raise awareness of coherence, cohesion and discourse markers when describing a graphic Timing 10 minutes Materials worksheet: Ordering sentences; graphic from Classroom activity: Descriptive sentences Procedure 1. Give out the worksheet. Students work in pairs or on their own putting the sentences in the correct order. Feedback (see key below). Key 1F 2E 3C 4A 5H 6D 7B Sentence to be omitted: G (it’s an interpretation, not information shown in the graphic). Worksheet: Ordering sentences Here is a short report comparing the two sets of sales figures. Decide on the best order for the sentences. One sentence should be removed. 1 …… 2 …… 3 …… 4 …… 5 …… 6 …… 7 …… Sentence to be omitted: …... Why? A. A subsequent rally in domestic sales brought them to their highest level of the period, while export sales remained static. B. Overall, export sales saw a significant rise – from £2 million to £6 million – despite the lack of progress in 2003. C. The gap was narrowed the following year, with export sales rising sharply, while domestic sales fell back. D. To sum up, the value of domestic sales fluctuated between £5 million and £7 million a year. E. At the beginning of the period, domestic sales were much more valuable than export sales, at £6 million compared with £2 million. F. This report shows the value of Harmon Ltd’s domestic and export sales in the four years 2001–04. G. This was due to a major marketing campaign around the world. H. In the final year of the period, export sales soared, overtaking domestic sales, which again declined. TEACHING TIPS FOR CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH: C1 WRITING 15
Classroom activity: Coming up with ideas Aims to get students thinking about the content of a report Timing 10–15 minutes + homework Materials worksheet: Coming up with ideas Rationale this activity requires students to invent the content of a report, which is relevant for Part 2 of the Writing paper Procedure 1. Distribute the worksheet. Students work in small groups and work through the questions. 2. Groups exchange ideas; open class feedback (see key below). Key 1. Manufacturing. 2. Probably marketing. 3. China. 4. South America. 5. Visit major sports goods retailers there; contact import agents based there; use internet to find government figures showing trends in retail sales. 6. Local manufacturers; sports goods are stylish but expensive. 7. Sports activities are popular, imported goods are fashionable. 8. TV and cinema advertising campaign, sponsorship by local sports personalities, low prices at launch. 9. Anything about the company you work for, who you are. 10. Suggested answers: Introduction Research methodology Existing competition Target customers Promotional methods 16 TEACHING TIPS FOR CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH: C1 WRITING
Worksheet: Coming up with ideas In small groups, look at the report question and answer these questions. Your company would like to break into a new overseas market with your new range of sports goods. You have been asked by the Marketing Director to investigate ways of doing this. Write a report for the Marketing Director, including the following information: – how you carried out your research into the market – the existing competition – your target customers – ways of promoting the products in the new market. For 3–9 be inventive, but plausible! Establishing the scenario: 1. What type of company is this? 2. Which department do you work in? Brainstorming ideas: 3. Which country is the company based in? 4. Which overseas market does the company want to break into? 5. How could you carry out research into that market? 6. What could you say about the existing competition? 7. What could you say about your target customers? 8. How could the products be promoted in the new market? 9. What don’t you need to tell the Marketing Director? Organisation: 10. What subheadings would be useful for this report? Now write the report in class or as homework. TEACHING TIPS FOR CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH: C1 WRITING 17
Classroom activity: Identifying sub-themes and subheadings Aims to raise awareness of the importance of subheadings and the order of a report Timing 10–15 minutes Materials worksheet: Subheadings Rationale this activity looks at organising and ordering a report, which is particularly relevant for Part 2 of the Writing paper Procedure 1. Give students the exam question and a possible answer (see the worksheet as an example). Students group the sentences and decide on a suitable subheading for each group. Students do not need to add linking words or amend the sentences at this stage. 2. Open class feedback (see key below). Follow up Create the final text by adding linking words and other markers as appropriate, and by ordering the sentences where necessary. Key Introduction: G The site: B, F, J Advantages: C, I, L Disadvantages: A, E, H, K Recommendation: D 18 TEACHING TIPS FOR CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH: C1 WRITING
Worksheet: Subheadings You work for a supermarket chain and have been asked by the board of directors to write a report on a site where the company is considering building a new supermarket. Write your report for the board, including the following information: – a description of the site, including its location – the advantages and disadvantages of the site – your opinion as to whether the site is suitable. A. As this is an area of high employment, it might prove difficult to attract enough staff, particularly for 24-hour opening. B. The plot is on the edge of Hartfield, with easy access to a major road. C. There is currently only one large supermarket in the area, situated in the town centre, and with limited access and parking. D. Although a supermarket on this site would be profitable, there is little chance of gaining planning permission for one, and so I advise against the attempt. E. The cost of going through the planning process is likely to be considerable, with a strong possibility of an unfavourable outcome. F. Until recently, it was used for farming, and contains some small agricultural buildings. G. I have been asked to consider the site currently available in Holme Road, and to assess its suitability for constructing a new supermarket. H. The government is opposed to further out-of-town development, and might prevent construction here. I. The town council is keen to increase shopping facilities in the district, and would support a new development. J. The plot is large enough for a major store and a car park. K. Local pressure groups are likely to object to development on a greenfield site. L. Nearly a million people could drive to the site within 30 minutes. TEACHING TIPS FOR CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH: C1 WRITING 19
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