Developing Cambridge English: First Writing using tools from English Profile
After my seminar on B2 Writing (relating to Cambridge English: First) in San Sebastian last Friday, I thought I’d share some of the activities and tips iI shared in the session, based on English Profile.
In the seminar, we looked at writing a review.
Now in the past, this might not have been a ‘real-life’ skill for many of our students, but nowadays, with sites like Tripadvisor or booking.com, many of them ARE submitting reviews of hotels, restaurants, tourist attractions, etc.
First (for Schools) writing
Very often, in students’ writing at this level, the use of adjectives, for example, may be limited (or virtually non-existent in some cases!)
In order to advise our students as to which adjectives it would be useful to include in a review of a place, you can use the English Vocabulary Profile.
I’ll copy and paste the description of what the English Vocabulary Profile is from the English Profile website:
The English Vocabulary Profile offers reliable information about which words (and importantly, which meanings of those words) and phrases are known and used by learners at each level of the Common European Framework (CEF).
I went into the search tools and selected B2, then in the Advanced Search, I selected adjectives and Describing things. Here is a screenshot (of part) of the results.
The task next was to insert 3 or 4 of these words into a review (of a local hotel from Tripadvisor.) Words inserted are blue, slight rewriting needed in red.
Challenging students in this way is a key way of building up microskills to make the whole piece of writing better.
Another area which students can work on is their grammar and especially the way they link their ideas together and vary their sentence structures.
Again, the English Profile website provides some very useful insights here.
This time, using the Grammar Profile.
The English Grammar Profile again lets you search by level. If you search for all the entries for B2, you will get 248 results. These will include things like: Can use an increasing range of compound adjectives (‘up-to-date’, ‘state-of-the-art’).
For writing, I searched for conjunctions and got these results:
In class, I often use the following activity both to generate ideas for an essay or a review, etc and also to work on different ways of linking ideas.
And then, I searched for the word ‘Focus’. Focusing attention on a piece of information, a point you’re making, is important when you’re writing.
And I got these results:
So, I would ask students to continue this sentence in different ways:
This would again give them practise in both generating ideas and in using B2 grammar to organise ideas.
I hope you’ll try out these activities and investigate both the Vocabulary and the Grammar Profile on English Profile.
Looks like a a great activity for getting students to develop their B2 writing skills. Look forward to trying it out soon with my students. Thanks Anne!