Sunday, 15 November 2009

Sunday, Blustery Sunday!

The Atlantic wind is battering us today from the west, sending my daughter slightly loopy. I've discussed a phenomena with my friends and colleagues and was wondering if anyone out there had had similar experiences. It's about wind. Kids, younger kids especially, seem to go absolutely bananas when it's windy. Full of energy, slightly aggressive and manic. I've not only seen this in my 2 year old, but also in kids up to their mid-teens. Is it an inner-ear thing? Is their balance shot by changes in the ambient pressure? What's going on?

Changing the subject.... I was thinking yesterday of the FCE exam in particular, and the exams in general, and wondering why the paragraph matching exercise is so badly done by students. Then understanding came to me. It's done so badly because it's bloody hard! Teachers often avoid it as it's not easy to teach and students avoid it as it's easier to avoid something that's hard than confront it... but confront it you will in the exam, and it may become the section that lets you down, causing you to slip up and fail the exam.
The solution? As ever, PRACTICE! There are some good links on the side of my homepage to places where you can do these exercises, or get hold of the exam books Cambridge sells. Pay attention to the cohesive linking devices (words like additionally, on the other hand etc) and those phrases that seem incomplete and perhaps need more information.
And remember... this is a Cambridge exam and that means that there will always be one extra paragraph so that you always have to make a choice. You can't just think...'oh, there's one left, that must go in the last space'.
Malcolm Gladwell, a journalist who writes fairly good pop-science books, reckons it takes 10,000 hours to become truly expert in something. I think that might be an over-estimation regarding these exams but does underline the point that 'practice makes perfect'!

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