Everyday English 1
Everyday English 1

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Everyday English 1

4.8 Speaking and listening assessments

This section specifically introduces the discussion assessments for Functional Skills English Level 1 and Essential Skills Wales Communication Level 1. However, if you are not studying for these qualifications you will still find the activity useful so please read through the section, watch the film and try out Activity 32.

To pass a Functional Skills English Level 1 assessment, you need to take part successfully in two discussions. To pass an Essential Skills Wales Communication Level 1 assessment, you need to take part in one formal discussion.

Functional Skills English Level 1 speaking and listening assessments

Of the two group discussions you need to take part in, one is formal and the other is informal. They both last for about ten minutes, although different exam boards have slightly different rules, so this might vary depending on where you do the course.

One of the discussions you take part in will be on an unfamiliar topic. This will be a topic that you have little or no knowledge of. The topic will be agreed with everybody before the discussion takes place. It means you will need to do some research on the topic as preparation for the discussion. This research can be done on a computer or even your phone and you will need to make notes on the topic so that you can contribute with relevant information, ideas and opinions.

The other discussion will be on a familiar topic, so you will not have to research it. You still need to prepare and make notes on what you want to say.

Below is an outline of the kind of things you need to do or show to pass the assessments. All exam boards are different, but these are typical things that your teacher needs to see you do well.

You need to do (and show) the following things to pass the Functional Skills English Level 1 discussion assessment.

Functional Skills English Level 1 discussion assessment criteria

  • Prepare for discussions of ideas and opinions.
  • Contribute to discussions of ideas and opinions.
  • Make relevant contributions to discussions.
  • Make extended contributions to discussions.
  • Allow for others’ input – listen to others’ contributions.
  • Respond to others’ input.
  • Make different kinds of contributions – ask questions, answer questions, ask for things to be clarified or repeated if necessary.
  • Present information and/or points of view clearly .
  • Use appropriate language.
  • Use appropriate body language, gestures and facial expressions, and maintain eye contact.

Essential Skills Wales Communication Level 1 speaking and listening assessment

You will need to take part in a formal discussion on a given topic. You will be asked to read a document about the topic (which may be unfamiliar to you) and make notes about what you want to say during the discussion based on what you have read.

The discussion will be with at least two other people. It will last for a minimum time of 10 minutes with 3-6 people in the group and a minimum time of approximately 20 minutes for larger groups. You will be able to use your notes during the discussion.

Essential Skills Wales Communication Level 1 discussion assessment criteria

You need to do (and show) the following things to pass the Essential Skills discussion assessment.

  • Say what you think/feel about the subject, expressing your ideas in an appropriate way.
  • Provide information about the subject, using appropriate language throughout the discussion.
  • Make clear and relevant contributions.
  • Use appropriate phrases or gestures in order to join in the discussion.
  • Respect the turn-taking rights of others.
  • Use strategies to support what you are saying, such as eye contact and positive body language.
  • Pay close attention to what others say and respond to them appropriately.
  • Ask others in the group about their opinions.

Activity 32 Observing a discussion

Allow about 20 minutes

Watch the video below of a discussion about drones. Observe closely the participant on the right-hand side. Using either the Functional Skills discussion criteria or the Essential Skills discussion criteria above, evaluate her performance. Do you think she does all of the things needed to pass an assessment?

Download this video clip.Video player: 14_vid_drone_discussion_master.mp4
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Transcript

CAROLINE
Hi, everyone. We are going to have a chat about drones today. Are they a miracle or are they a menace? I had a look online about the earliest use of drones, and the earliest recorded use was in 1849 in Austria, when Austrian forces used balloons to drop bombs in Venice.
ALEX
Wow.
MARTIN
In 1849?
CAROLINE
1849, yeah.
MARTIN
It's reassuring, isn't it? The first known use of them was for bad.
CAROLINE
Yes. I think most of the media I've seen about drones is the negative side of it, where they've been used in prisons, used for criminal activity. Alec, do you have any thoughts about that?
ALEC
Well, the thing about the prisons is that, as you say, it's a lot easier now that maybe people would be able to distribute maybe drugs and weapons into prisons, which previously was a lot harder. People might have to actually get up close to the prison. I don't know how they did - like chuck it over maybe. Whereas now, they can do a lot more distance.
MARTIN
Because they can be programmed as well, can't they? So you can programme it in advance. You don't actually have to be in the vicinity.
CAROLINE
That's not so good, is it? What do you think, Alex?
ALEX
No. That's quite scary, really, because then the police and the Army and stuff need to be like two steps ahead. If they are used for bad, how are we going to figure out who did it? If they're doing it from afar, that must be really hard.
CAROLINE
Yeah. one of other negative uses as well is the paparazzi using it to take images of when celebrities are swimming in their pool or taking their kids to school. And that goes to talk about trespassing as well.
MARTIN
It's widely accepted that each person owns a particular plot of land. You have your house, you have your gardens on it, and if people go on that without invitation, they're trespassing. But does that apply to the airspace above that? I think there's ambiguity in the law as to what is trespassing.
And that exploits that ambiguity, which can only be a bad thing. I'm not a celebrity, so no one's interested in what I'm doing. But for people who are of interest to the public, that must be a nightmare.
CAROLINE
That's just some of the bad things that we're talking about, but they can be used for good as well. So for example, for medical purposes. So if you think about a village in Africa, a very remote village where there might be a clinic that's miles and miles and miles away, no transport, drones could be used to drop vital medical supplies, especially if there's an outbreak of some communicable disease or infection. It could be really lifesaving.
ALEX
That's incredible. That's what I like about it, is saving lives, saving lots of lives. I like that.
MARTIN
Yeah, you hear of situations and you see on things like Comic Relief people walk for days to get to a hospital or get to a clinic. And that takes too long because they're too far away, so they don't make it and the children don't make it. But having a drone that can actually deliver the medicine means that more people will survive. Can only be a good thing.
ALEX
If there's an earthquake or a tsunami or anything like that, they need to get supplies out there. And you might not be able to get there via truck or car or any kind of a helicopter, so a drone might be perfect for that.
ALEC
Well, the good thing is that they have cameras attached. I think I heard that they use thermal imaging cameras -
MARTIN
They do.
ALEC
- that can actually find people in trouble.
CAROLINE
Yeah, that's a really good point, Alec.
ALEX
Oh, that's brilliant.
CAROLINE
Yeah. So that's a really positive use for drones. And then there's a commercial use and a creative use as well. So for example, I read somewhere about drones being used to deliver goods. That might be quite good.
MARTIN
I'd like to see a drone come down and manage to open a letterbox and put post in.
ALEX
That would be good.
MARTIN
But maybe that's to come in the future.
ALEC
I think definitely.
ALEX
Oh yeah, definitely.
ALEC
I can just imagine it with little arms. We already have the little drones but on wheels that go around posting around. I think they've started piloting that with some towns and cities in England.
CAROLINE
And what about for photography or video making? That would be good for that as well, especially taking photographs or video of landscapes. And also, when you think about nature programmes as well, when you see migrations of animals as well and you see it, it's all aerial views.
ALEC
Yeah.
ALEX
Yeah. That's incredible.
ALEC
Well, it's definitely brought the costs down.
CAROLINE
Definitely, yeah.
ALEC
For those wildlife shows or in films, they would have had to use a helicopter. So that cuts that out. It also means amateurs can just get a cheap drone too. People online that do vlogs might include a bit of drone footage to make their video a bit more exciting.
CAROLINE
That's really interesting.
ALEX
There are the cheaper versions of drones, the 70 or 30 quid drones which the kids are into.
CAROLINE
Yes, of course. That's right.
ALEX
Which is fabulous. They can go on holiday or go to the local park and do it. But then, I think that's when it crosses into who owns the land, the airspace, and everything like that. Then that's when -
CAROLINE
And privacy as well.
ALEC
Exactly. And then when you've got children like that and then the parents are responsible, it gets a bit sticky, I think, and then it's a bit difficult.
CAROLINE
And I think at that point is a good point to wrap up, then, just to sum up, each of us, what we think about drones. Alec, what do you think about drones then?
ALEC
Well, we discussed the negatives, but I'd say on balance, they're net positive for mankind just because of all the cool things they can do. So yeah.
CAROLINE
OK. Thank you. Alex?
ALEX
I'm pretty much the same. I really like the commercial side and the photography side. But I really don't like the privacy side, and obviously we need to sort that out. And I don't know if that's going to be a long journey or a short journey to figuring out the end. But yeah, I think overall they're quite good.
CAROLINE
OK. Thank you. Martin?
MARTIN
I think there's huge potential with them to do a whole load of good things with them. But I think at the moment there's a bit too much ambiguity in the law, in the regulations. So if that gets sorted out, then hopefully that will make things clearer as to what can be done, what can't be done. And then we can focus on the positives they bring.
CAROLINE
OK. Thank you. I pretty much agree with all of you. As technology advances, it would be really good to see what the next stage will be and what we can do for good.
MARTIN
Absolutely.
CAROLINE
So thanks very much.
MARTIN
Thank you.
End transcript
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Discussion

The participant on the right meets the criteria to pass both assessments.

  • She had clearly prepared – saying she had looked online – and she shared the information she had found.
  • She contributed regularly throughout the discussion, taking the lead role and opening and closing the discussion and asking questions of each of the others more than once.
  • She offered facts, opinions and ideas about drones and made more than one extended contribution.
  • It was clear she was listening to others as she prompted and agreed when others were speaking, and nodded and smiled appropriately.
  • She allowed others to speak and if she did add comments they were often supportive and encouraging.
  • Her use of language was suitable for the topic and the situation; it was considered, audible and clear at all times.
  • Her body language was positive – she sat upright and used hand gestures positively throughout.

It was a strong performance.

FSE_1

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