What level is the course aimed at?
It is aimed at B2 (IELTS 5.5 - 6.5) and C1 (IELTS 7 - 8) language users. C2 (IELTS 8.5 - 9) users will find the tutorials about strategies and independent practice tasks helpful.
What are themes and topics?
A theme is the general idea the topic falls under. Themes for YES! IELTS for Schools are based on those given in the Common European Framework of Reference.
Current YES! IELTS for Schools themes are:
- Social Issues
- Science & Technology
The topic is the essay question. Topics are created and chosen that have relevance to the current affairs of the country where the school is located, and uses vocabulary that is common in that environment. For example, for schools in Australia, there is a topic that mentions TAFE (a vocational training school for Technical and Further Education). This keeps the topics relevant to the students' learning environment, and meaningful for their day-to-day interaction in their school's location. Topics are not political, but may generate political discussion.
Where do the topics come from? Are the they previous IELTS topics?
Topics are original to YES! IELTS and have been carefully created to be similar to real IELTS topics. Some topics might be slightly more challenging than real IELTS topics. They are designed to be country-specific and therefore not as broad as real IELTS topics. These original topics mean that students have not seen the topics previously, and will find it difficult to copy model answers from other sources.
Are there any model answers?
There are no model answers given for topics that require students to write their own essays. This is because there is no particular 'one' answer for essay topics.
What is scaffolding?
"In education, scaffolding refers to a variety of instructional techniques used to move students progressively toward stronger understanding and, ultimately, greater independence in the learning process." (Source: http://edglossary.org/scaffolding)
YES! IELTS for Schools scaffolds student learning in the following ways:
Within the Practice Activities, students choose an answer from a dropdown menu of options. These get progressively more difficult as the student works though the Practice Activities. In Practice Activities 1, the students have a choice of 2 options in their dropdown questions. In Practice Activities 2, there are 3 options and it Practice Activities 3 and 4 there are 4 options.
In addition to this, Practice Activities themselves are designed to build a student's confidence by working from Guided through to Independent. In Guided activities, the student selects from a dropdown menu of options for all questions (showing 5 Steps). In Semi-Guided, the student has dropdown options for the majority of the questions but must complete the essay by themselves, using the brainstorm and plan that are provided. Semi-Independent activities are similar to Semi-Guided, but this time the student writes both the plan and essay, based on the brainstorm provided. For Independent activities, there are no dropdown choices and the student must complete all tasks independently.
This encourages the student to work through increasingly challenging tasks to gain confidence in all aspects of writing an IELTS essay.