Hi guys! How is everybody doing – now that classes have started up again and exams are only 5 or 6 weeks away! Nervous?
We have much to discuss.
1: M’arkmand – coming to class in this period helps you a great deal. We all understand that you have lots of exams coming up, but do try to get to class. Language is something you can’t learn from a book, not really – so participation in class is fundamental to your education whether you have an exam or not. You’re only here for 3-5 years (if all goes well). It is easy to get caught up in the book study, the better weather, etc., but you need as much exposure to your chosen foreign languages as possible.
2: I will give you some advice about your language exams. You will have all had access to 20 weeks of language training by the end of lessons in May. This means that you are most familiar with your subjects, particularly your languages at that time. EXAM RESULTS ARE ALWAYS STATISTICALLY BETTER IN MAY THAN IN SEPTEMBER OR JANUARY. This is not because the exams are written differently or that the professors make them easier or more difficult in one session or another. It is because you are more familiar with the subject after BEING IN CLASS FOR 20 WEEKS. If you take the exam in September – be realistic. You will have had all summer speaking 95% Italian and being distracted by friends, romance, beach, travel – etc. Unless you plan to have a summer in one of your language study countries – you will be “rusty” in September. Even if you travel to England, France, Germany, Spain, etc. you may find that you return only to do well in that exam and sacrifice your other language exam. Travel always helps – but it does favour one language (actually, you might “get away with” speaking English and German in Germany – they’re pretty good at that – heh heh – but you might not.) January is worse still, because you’ve had the Christmas break. Few people travel at Christmas – except to go home, and then you have the January session of other major exams. If you CAN avoid doing your language exam in January – it is probably better. Again, I repeat, this is not because the professorial staff make it so, it is because students are most often in a better “frame of mind” and better prepared in May than in September or January. These are my observations on the matter, OF COURSE you have the right to sit for exams in whatever session you see fit, and you have our total support for whatever you decide to do. This is just some advice from me.
3. It’s soon going to be PICNIC time! We started doing this last year – with great success! I hope to remember to bring a camera this year. Basically it works like this. We can organise a B1 picnic and a B2 picnic at Fortezza Albornoz. I will bring some food, and invite those who participate to bring food or drink. This is called a “potluck” in N.American English. Everyone brings something (enough for 4-5 people) and we all share. We can schedule the time and dates during class. All conversation at the picnics should be in ENGLISH!
4. As stated on your syllabus (the course outline I gave you at the beginning of the year – more copies are available in Via Oddi, Aula B), the last week of classes with me will be dedicated to simulation listening exams. For the B1 – the simulation forms 1 “chapter” of the text I will write for the actual session exams (May, Sept., Jan.) – so you can have an idea what the exam itself will be about. For the B2s – the exam texts for the various sessions (sims, May, Sept, Jan) do not follow this logic, they may treat different topics. For the B2, I try to write a tough exam – but I will give you a vocabulary list that you may study BEFORE the exam. Of course, you may not bring this to the exam itself.
5. We can also do a simulation oral exam at any time during class. They don’t take too long and SHOULD BE PLEASANT EXPERIENCES. The worst thing to do at an oral exam is be nervous. Don’t take any illegal substances – but a camomile tea or a shot of rum before the exam can calm the nerves. The oral exam with the lettori is designed to evaluate your SPOKEN ability. It is a language exam, not an economics exam – although one factor we do check for is a knowledge of “sector specific vocabulary”. This year, the reference books are Market Leader (B1) and Intelligent Business (B2). Prepare these, and ALL OTHER BUSINESS VOCABULARY you learn in your courses. THESE TEXTBOOKS ARE NOT YOUR ONLY SOURCE OF KNOWLEDGE ABOUT BUSINESS! When you come to the oral exam, and we begin to talk about business, don’t forget – YOU HAVE ALSO STUDIED BUSINESS TOPICS IN SOME OF YOUR OTHER LESSONS – and some of that vocabulary was in English (4 P’s anyone?). Make connections between the subjects you have studied – it will reinforce whatever you want to say at the exam. The CL4 ( a name I use with great pride) course programme has been designed to offer complementary areas of study – they reinforce each other (i.e. Marketing and Business Communication! Business Management and Business Economics, etc.)
So – any questions? YES! You in the back of the room – you look like you have a question! The most important thing to remember is that YOU ARE HERE FOR THIS – IT IS WHAT YOU DO! The exam is simply an opportunity for you to show what you can do – that’s all. If you have any questions regarding the listening exam, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. (I don’t use the gmail address much anymore – too much SPAM!)
Don’t worry – Be happy! Study! Enjoy whatever good weather we might have. Use your time wisely (all of this is possible!)
6. I will hand out a questionnaire to get your opinions and criticisms of the programme I have offered you this year (slide shows, topic lectures, etc.). This is for me only. There is another evaluation for you to fill out that comes from the Course Directorate which allows you to evaluate each professor and course in general. So – I will give you two evaluations – 1 regarding my specific programme and one regarding the service I provide in general. BOTH OF THESE QUESTIONNAIRES ARE ANONYMOUS! The teaching staff is not supposed to know WHO fills out each paper. You have the freedom and responsibility to be as critical as you like. This is part of the course’s quality control policy. YOUR PARTICIPATION CAN ONLY HELP MAKE THIS COURSE BETTER! BE HONEST!!! It is important for us as professors as well as for you as students.
See you ALL in class! (I miss you when you don’t come to class, you know!)