Testing English for teaching purposes

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Book Chapter

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The majority of English language tests are constructed to assess the global language proficiency of the learners. Since the 1970s, however, testing for special purposes has become much more common. Although the debate between those who advocate general language testing and those who wish to test for specific purposes is still ongoing, one would agree that in teacher education courses, the ability to use language founctions effectively in teaching should be a basic criterion for certification. In Hong Kong, very few teachers use English as a mother tongue. Yet most of them have to use English for teaching purposes. The ability to use English effectively, where necessary, in teaching is the focus of this chapter. This does not mean that the chapter is attempting to discover whether there is a special English for the classroom. Instead, it attempts to construct an instrument to discriminate between effective and ineffective second language teachers, using English as the medium of instruction to Cantonese-speaking students, following modern theories of language testing which focuses on the communication strategies of the testees. The chapter outlines the research project carried out under the auspices of the Hongkong Bank Language Development Fund. The purpose was to design tests and courses of English for student teachers in the colleges of education. This chapter describes the aims of the research project, the research which informed the design of the tests and present sample tasks for Tests of English for Teaching Purposes (TETP) for student teachers of English, History and Science.

Source Publication

English Language Testing in Hong Kong

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