Today I finished the last of the interview tests at Tsunan. We usually have them in the middle and at the end of every semester and they're used to evaluate the students' conversation ability.
The setup is like this. Insetad of a normal class, the students come one by one into the adjacent teachers room. There are three chairs; two facing each other (one for the student and one for me), and one a little further behind (for the teacher). The students have one minute to have three small conversations with me, based on the chapters taught in the previous weeks. I evaluate how well they can communicate (ie, even if they don;t use correct English, how well can I understand them), the teacher evaluates how close they come to the model dialogue. Before the test, the students are given the model dialogue to memorise. To prevent the test being a simple recitation exercise, the conversations are designed to have 'multiple endings'. That is, at some points where the students can say anything, eg "I'd like to buy xxx", they have to choose a card that tells them what to say, eg a picture of four apples.
Eventhough teh model dialogue is the same for each student, the interest comes from unique one-on-one situation and seeing more of the each student's presonality than they normally reveal.
The genki students who know their English are confident in the interview, but less likely to clown around when their mates can't see them. It's always a surprise to see how much these students have picked up when hardly seem to pay attention in lessons.
There are also the genki students who didn't pay attention between chats and who didn't study for the test. They will go quiet during the interview as they frantically try to remember what was on the sheet given to them.
The really quiet students are amazing to see. When their classmates can;t see them, they spark into life! Their voices become louder and clearer and, if you're quick, you can catch a smile to themselves when they've realised they've done well.
Anyway, that's them done for this term and for this year and maybe for good. I only do interview tests at Tsunan and next school yesr(after April) Tsunan High School will become a combined JHS and SHS. The new scholl will not enrol any new first year SHS students and will have no third year commercial students, so at the moment it looks like I won't be needed to teach there next year. I guess we'll have to wait and see.