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IELTS test preparation courses in the Australian ELICOS sector
The impact of teacher cognition and classroom practices on IELTS test preparation courses in the
Australian ELICOS sector.
IELTS Research Reports Online Series 2015/16
Philip Chappell, Agnes Bodis and Heather Jackson, Macquarie University, Australia
The researchers of this study worked with teachers of ELICOS (English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students) in Australia, investigating their knowledge, beliefs about and attitudes towards the IELTS test. The aim was to better understand the impact of IELTS on English language courses, as well as the impact of teacher cognition on preparing students to take the test.
• In general, ELICOS teachers had a sound understanding of the test format and what was required of the test takers.
• However, there was an overall lack of understanding of the principles underpinning standardised language testing, a cause of negative attitudes towards and mistaken beliefs about the usefulness of the IELTS test.
• ELICOS teachers differed widely in their classroom practices and methodology for teaching IELTS preparation courses, with no standardised approach.
The researchers identified a need to increase awareness among ELICOS teachers of the design principles of the test – for example, why the Listening and Speaking tests are the same for both IELTS Academic and General Training – so teachers can better appreciate the reasoning behind the development and purpose of test tasks.
Increasing teachers’ understanding of IELTS would enable them to better prepare their students for the test.
The IELTS partners are aware of their responsibility to help inform test users, including teachers, about the test and have developed a range of educational materials. In Australia, they are working alongside the National English language teaching Accreditation Scheme (NEAS) to provide awareness sessions for ELICOS teachers.
Every year IDP Education and the British Council fund and support IELTS-related research that reflects current issues relating to the IELTS test in the international context. Such research makes an important contribution to the monitoring and test development process for IELTS; it also helps IELTS stakeholders to develop a greater understanding of the test.
This IELTS Research Report, along with more than 100 others, is available in full for free on our website.