The Cambridge ‘English for Speakers of Other Languages’ exam has come a long way since 1913 when it was launched only in England.
Today millions of candidates in over hundreds of countries around the world choose from a wide range of ESOL exams mainly to hold an internationally recognised certification which will become a global passport to academic and professional success.
It goes without saying that these exams mean a challenging target and an unflagging commitment on the part of our students and teachers alike, which joins them as a team and redefines the role of the teacher as a coach, a facilitator and a caterer for students’ needs. Accordingly, in class we can focus on specific areas of difficulty, and writing tasks can be rewritten simply because mistakes are viewed as learning experiences. Moreover, students’ autonomy as language learners is fostered by making them aware of their strengths and weaknesses, learning styles and strategies.
Since the ESOL exams assess candidates’ ability for communication, our classes are designed to allot equal time and value to the four skills (Reading, Listening, Writing, Speaking) as well as to the meaningful Use of English. Thus, the easy access to technology in the class, an occasional guest (for instance, former student Agustín Gamondés studying in Berklee College of Music) or a group oral presentation certainly provides an enticing means for students to practise those skills.
In brief, having a specific goal in mind and an environment that encourages participants to be relaxed and totally involved are proven ways to produce outstanding results.