Number one for English language teachers

Introduction to TKT

This introduction to TKT is a brief overview, describing the aims, modules and task types in TKT. It talks about the skills you need to pass the exams. It is for teachers who are TKT candidates and also for their trainers.

Each of the three Modules takes one hour and twenty minutes and consists of eighty objective questions. (Objective questions are ones with correct or incorrect answers, rather than, for example, essays that are evaluated subjectively by examiners.) Within each module, the questions are grouped into tasks, usually of about five or six questions each.

You can click on each Part/Module to go straight to it.

Module 1: Language and background to language learning and teaching

Module 2: Lesson planning and use of resources for language teaching

Module 3: Managing the teaching and learning process

Points to note about TKT

Trainers


Anchor Point:1 Module 1: Language and background to language learning and teaching

Anchor Point:2 Module 1; Part 1: Describing language and language skills

What is covered?
Concepts and terminology for describing language: grammar, lexis, phonology and functions.
Concepts and terminology for describing language skills and sub-skills: for example, reading for gist, listening for specific information.

What might I have to do?
You might have to read a short text. Various words would be underlined in the text. Working from a list, you would have to identify which part of speech (for example, reflexive pronoun, possessive adjective, etc) they were.
Note: This is just an example of a possible task.

What do I have to know about?
You need to know about:

  • language and language use
  • the terms used for describing different parts of language
  • identifying and distinguishing between these parts of the language
  • the terms used for describing different skills and sub-skills in language use
  • identifying and distinguishing between these different skills and sub-skills

Anchor Point:3Module 1; Part 2: Background to language learning

What is covered?
Factors in the language learning process, including:

  • motivation
  • exposure to language and focus on form
  • the role of error
  • differences between L1 and L2 learning
  • learner characteristics (for example, strategies)
  • learner needs

What might I have to do?
You might have to read a list of students’ actions and also a list of learning strategies. You would then decide which action matched which strategy.
Note: This is just an example of a possible task.

What do I have to know about?
You need to know about the range of different factors that can affect how learners learn. You also need to be able to identify examples of these factors and to relate them to their implications for teachers and teaching. 

Anchor Point:4Module 1; Part 3: Background to language teaching

What is covered?
The range of methods, tasks and activities available to the language teacher, including:

  • presentation techniques and introductory activities
  • practice activities and tasks for language and skills development
  • assessment types and tasks

What might I have to do?
You might have to look at a series of practice activities a teacher gave students to do. There would be three possible categories that these activities could fit into. You would have to say which category each practice activity fitted into.
Note: This is just an example of a possible task.

What do I have to know about?
You need to know about the range of ways a teacher can set about teaching language to learners. You need to be able to say what techniques and resources are appropriate in different situations. You need to be able to identify and distinguish between different types of assessment and assessment activity. 


Anchor Point:5Module 2: Lesson planning and use of resources for language teaching

Anchor Point:6Module 2; Part 1: Planning and preparing a lesson or sequence of lessons

What is covered?
Lesson planning, including:

  • identifying and choosing aims suitable for the learners and the situation
  • planning a lesson or a series of lessons by organising appropriate activities
  • choosing suitable assessment activities

What might I have to do?
You might have to answer a series of multiple choice questions. Each one would describe a classroom activity and then list three possible aims when using this activity. You would then decide which of the three possible aims was not appropriate.
Note: This is just an example of a possible task.

What do I have to know about?
You need to know how to plan your teaching. You need to have a good understanding of how aims and activities relate to each other. You need to be able to show you understand how to put activities into lessons, or lessons into a sequence. You need to know about the purposes of assessment activities.

Anchor Point:7Module 2; Part 2: Selection and use of resources

What is covered?
Consulting reference resources when planning lessons, including:

  • coursebook materials
  • teaching aids
  • supplementary materials

What might I have to do?
You might have a jumbled list of stages from a coursebook unit. You would then have to put the stages into the correct order to make a logical whole lesson plan.
Note: This is just an example of a possible task.

What do I have to know about?
You need to know something about the sorts of materials and resources that are generally available. You need to understand how to plan to use them effectively in teaching. 

Click here to access practice materials for Module 2: Part 2.


Anchor Point:8Module 3: Managing the teaching and learning process

Anchor Point:9Module 3; Part 1: Teachers’ and learners’ language in the classroom

What is covered?

  • The appropriate use of language by teachers, including: instructing, prompting learners, eliciting, explaining
  • Functions of learners’ language
  • Categorising learners’ mistakes

What might I have to do?
You might have a list of things teachers have said in class. You would have to match these things to a list of possible purposes for a teacher speaking at a certain point in class.
Note: This is just an example of a possible task.

What do I have to know about?
You have to understand what affects the way teachers need to use language in the classroom. You have to be able to identify appropriate ways of using language. You need to understand what can be understood from the ways learners use language in the classroom. You need to know how you can give feedback to students.

Anchor Point:10Module 3; Part 2: Classroom management

What is covered?
The various ways in which teachers can manage learners and learning environments appropriately, including:

  • teacher roles
  • grouping learners
  • correcting learners
  • providing feedback

What might I have to do?
You might have a list of situations in which students need feedback. You would have to match these with various ways of providing feedback according to the context.
Note: This is just an example of a possible task.

What do I have to know about?
You need to know about the range of ways a teacher can use to manage classes in relation to the students’ level and the aims. You need to understand how and why teachers can vary the groupings, pace, language level, etc. that they use. You need to understand appropriate ways of telling students about their progress and how to improve.


Anchor Point:11Points to note about TKT

  1. It doesn’t test knowledge of particular books or resources.
  2. It does expect you to have a reasonable knowledge of the general kinds of materials and resources that are commonly available in many or most general English language teaching situations.
  3. It doesn’t test beliefs or values about teaching.
  4. It does look closely at ways of going about the professional practice of teaching.
  5. It doesn’t assume that a certain style is better than others.
  6. It does expect you to be able to distinguish between what is effective and what is not, and to see the reasoning behind teaching activity.

Anchor Point:12Trainers

TKT tests what it says it tests: knowledge.

Of course, someone could get top marks in TKT and be a poor teacher in practice. There are many aspects of teaching – personality, attitudes, dynamics, a whole range of contextual and motivational factors including socio-economics – that are not reflected in the test.
Because of this, in no way should TKT be seen as a teaching qualification of itself.

However, it is a very useful indication of the range of knowledge and understanding that a teacher requires. So it is perhaps true that someone who got a poor mark in TKT would be unlikely to be a great teacher.

What is definitely helpful for the teacher trainer is the comprehensive nature of the TKT syllabus.
Most trainers would probably not wish to train directly according to the syllabus. But you can use it as a guide or reference tool, almost perhaps a checklist, when constructing your own courses.

Because TKT is carefully pitched at an accessible level of English, it can be helpful for trainers, as it gives a model of how complex concepts and techniques can be dealt with in relatively straightforward ways. You can always do the actual training in English.

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Readers' comments (2)

  • Hi Rawand,

    Thanks for your feedback. Did you have a chance to look through the materials here:

    http://www.onestopenglish.com/exams/cambridge-esol-exams/tkt/tkt-materials/

    Best wishes,
    The onestopenglish team

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • The website does not provide sufficient materials for teacher trainers to use as input.

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