Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Burbling Cockneys

Back to school... and the classes progress at a slightly easier pace. I like this time of the school year. We have tests in the middle of Feb, the end of our semester, but I've covered most of the material and so it's revision time, which the students don't mind so much if it comes in the form of games.
I've been thinking about the Cambridge exams and how the assessment of the students works and consider it not to be a level playing field in some respects. The speaking part of the exam is examined my local teachers who are examiners and are accustomed to the accents and foibles of the local language and I think tend to be more forgiving accordingly. The listening part of the exams have phoney accents (put on by the actors) with some frankly odd intonation and seems hardest for those taught by my US and Canadian colleagues, whose laconic drawl differs most from the delivery on the CDs Cambridge use. I had one nice comment from a student yesterday which made my evening (CAE level). He spent some of his Christmas hols in London with his parents (both of whom have the FCE). He said 'Dave! I am pleased I have you as my teacher because you speak so fast!'. I asked him to clarify what he meant. He said that because he was used to my delivery he could cope with the burbling cockneys he encountered, and had to translate for his folks, and so could show off!

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