Rliberni's Blog – Radical language

December 20, 2011

What changes could be made to the present management structure of ed to make it more effective for educators?

#Edchat 12 – 06 – 2011 – 18:00 CET 12 PM EST

Here is the link to the latest #edchat summary.  Thanks again to John @TestSoup.

Check out the links on this topic below.


Some great links were shared – here’s a selection:

@coreydahlevent: Gotta Share… Watch this video. It speaks to “powering down” & how we don’t want to! http://t.co/2cm2MKd7  #edchat

  @weisburghm:  Sclechtly has interesting ideas in Leading for Learning on school reform: http://t.co/E2QOvpVo  #edchat 

@NetSupportGroup: How to Rescue Education Reform – http://t.co/jsaHxoIN http://t.co/J0A7dOzO  #globaled

@weisburghm: McKinnsey had some great suggestions for how to improve the ed system: http://t.co/xZGfIrgA   #edchat

@coreydahlevent: Gotta Share… Watch this video. It speaks to “powering down” & how we don’t want to! http://t.co/2cm2MKd7  #edchat

@ShiftParadigm: @weisburghm @apospirit @MertonTech @DrThomasHo Hattie’s book Visible Learning provides valuable insights #edchat http://t.co/CR5GSYBO

December 16, 2011

Case Study 6 – Another IELTS Doctor

This is my sixth case-study in the series. Like the others it illustrates a journey we both took to reach a particular language goal. Like the others the benefit gained was mutual. In this case I had a very reluctant student but it was a strange situation as he did seek me out but then felt he could go it alone.

Although I promised to describe my online work with IELTS students in subsequent posts I felt that this was an interesting case and wanted to share it with you. Now I promise the next case will deal with an online student!

See the other posts:

Case Study one – Mehmet (project manager)

Case Study two – Stepan (IELTS – doctor)

Case Study three – Maria (company relocation to UK )

Case Study four – Takeshi  (IELTS – doctor)

Case Study five – Ayesha (IELTS – doctor)


Case Study Six – Salim

My sixth student in the series was also an IELTS student and a doctor. Salim was from Syria. He had been living in the UK for some time and was very fluent in spoken English.  He had spent some time at school in the UK so his English skills were quite polished.

When I first met Salim he was about to take the test for the second time. He was worried about his reading and just wanted a lesson to go over some techniques. He was very confident about the exam and was certain that only the reading would be a problem.  This was unusual as mostly it is the writing that people want to have checked. I asked him about writing but he hadn’t brought any to the lesson and said that he was fine. He was looking for an overall band of 7. Working on just one part of the exam is not something I normally like to do, I like to make sure that all parts of the exam are on track as none of them work in isolation and the reading and listening impact on the writing and speaking. By integrating the study the outcome in all parts is more assured. I was a little concerned that he was concentrating so much on this one part.

He told me that he would be able to get a high score in speaking and listening and that if he managed to improve his reading then the writing would not be a problem.  This seemed logical but in my opinion as an IELTS coach I felt that in order to be safe in the result ‘all balls needed to be in the air’ at all times. We agreed to disagree and spent the lesson on the reading. I got the impression he was there reluctantly and felt deep down that he didn’t really feel that he needed help but his friends, some of whom had worked with me, had urged him to come.

After the lesson I wished him luck and asked him to let me know his result. I heard nothing more from Salim.

A few months later he called me and asked if he could come to see me. It transpired that he had not got the score he required and the thing that had let him down badly was his writing. He told me that he thought he had been a little over-confident (even arrogant – his words) and now realised that he needed to work more systematically and not try and get the score he needed ‘by numbers’.  This tendency to rely on one or two papers to get the desired result is a high risk strategy and also flies in the face of the whole point in preparing for IELTS in the first place – which is to make sure that you have the required language level for the job that you are going to do (or the course of study you are going to undertake). There is little point in getting the required IELTS result by the skin of your teeth and then struggling through your course or putting your new job in jeopardy because your English is not the best it can be.

I have also worked with several doctors after they have secured their job because they were having problems with English actually in the hospital. Passing the IELTS in only the beginning and in the medical field there is a lot of colloquial language that you will meet which can cause a lot of mis-understanding!

The second meeting

When we met for second time we decided to take a holistic approach and look at all parts of the exam and also language level. As I mentioned before Salim’s English was very fluent and he was a confident speaker, he didn’t, however, have a lot of control over register and tended to speak in a very colloquial manner which is not always appropriate for every type of communication. This was affecting both his speaking performance and his writing.

The study plan

This is a pattern I use with IELTS students both face to face and online.

The week’s work would consist of exercises both IELTS and general English (to improve vocabulary, fluency, structure etc..) that I would give Salim to do at home. Salim would produce, at his best band 7  level, a Task 1 and Task 2 every week. We would meet face to face for two hours (online is usually 1 hour) once a week to go over the writing, do speaking practice and try out some listening and reading.

This approach worked well. We covered all aspects of the exam so everything was up at band 7 level. We improved Salim’s flexibility in his choice of formal and informal language and he became comfortable with this. His reading got better and better and his writing was not just left to chance any more. He was able to used more formal language in his speaking and felt more confident about tackling even the most unusual topics.

After a month he  took the IELTS again and got 7s across the board. Not only had he managed to pass the IELTS exam with flying colours, but he had also improved his English to such a standard that he knew when he started to work at the hospital he would not have any problems at all and would be able to deal with any situation!

I met Salim almost a year later in the street. He was working at the hospital and he was really enjoying his job and his life. He was with a group of friends some of whom were also preparing for IELTS. He greeted me and again thanked me for my guidance and said to his friends.

“Don’t be arrogant, do as your teacher tells you – that is the best way to get a good IELTS score!”

Do you need help with your IELTS exam?

As a former IELTS examiner and with over 15 years of experience preparing and coaching people for the exam especially at Bands 7 and 8 I know what it takes to achieve these scores.

I work a lot with professionals (especially doctors) who need high band scores to move on with their careers.

Using my own Advanced English training site, Gapfillers and my own expertise in IELTS I can help you to get the score you are looking for.

Join my free IELTS Group in Gapfillers and get regular updates about preparing for the exam and also the chance to join in my teleseminars and seminars and all the other IELTS training opportunities I offer.

Joining is easy;  follow this link, register (it’s absolutely free), (don’t forget to tick the IELTS group button) and that’s it!

As soon as you register you will have access to my free 1-hour presentation THE TROUBLE WITH IELTS – the link is on the welcome page. Watch or download it, it’s your choice.

I hope to see you there 🙂




December 15, 2011

Is blended coursework, a combination of face-to face class time and online study, a viable option for secondary education?

#Edchat 11 – 29 – 2011 – 18:00 CET 12 PM EST

Thank you again to John @TestSoup for the current summaries

This one on Blended learning  caused a bit of a debate over terminology blended or hybrid? Hopefully the summary will give some answers!

There is no archive for this chat so unfortunately there are no links. If you have any to share on this topic then please add them in the comments.

 Follow the link to see the summary.


December 9, 2011

Will the idea of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) help or hinder education?

#Edchat 11 – 22 – 2011 – 18:00 CET 12 PM EST

We have two great blog posts to link on this topic this week. The first is from Peri Nelson @apospirit on her blog.  This is a really amazing new way of getting technology into the classroom and the edchat group explored all options during this chat. Peris’ post captures the essence of this. Thank you Peri for your insights. You can find out more about the work Peri and her colleagues do on the blog.

Follow the link below to the post:



John (@Test Soup) has now made the #edchat  midday session summary a feature on his blog too.

Here is the link for his summary of this chat:


Here are some of the great links that were shared:

kathycook1:  7 Myths About BYOD Debunked http://t.co/OlKBdBCq  #edchat

ProjectAdvance: Are Silicon Valley execs making the right choice to send their kids to school with NO technology devices? http://t.co/vjKPwdkc  #edchat

andycinek: My digital lit students created a digital citizenship site. Would love some feedback http://t.co/6zE4dXiB  Thanks #edchat #bhschat

andycinek: Curious what #edchat thinks about focusing students on learning rather than an array of technology http://t.co/bPAv136B

cybraryman1: My BYOD (Bring Your Own Device page) http://t.co/b4tjHPou  #edchat

cybraryman1: My sites to get free/inexpensive equipment/supplies for the classroom (Digital Wish, Donors Choose…) http://t.co/vVLYogI4  #edchat


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