In IELTS dialogues, meaning is often CO-CONSTRUCTED between the two (or more) speakers.

Speakers often gradually come to a mutual understanding of what they are talking about by regularly checking they understand what the other person has said, using phrases such 

• ‘…so you mean …’

• ‘Ah, I get it, you are saying that …’ 

and also regularly checking that their message is understood, by asking such questions as

• ‘Do you see what I mean?’

or clarifying with phrases such as 

• ‘No, that’s not what I meant’

Because of this ‘negotiation process’, answers in the exam may become somewhat MODIFIED as the conversation evolves.

To help your learners notice this (so that they remain alert until a ‘theme’ is fully closed in the conversation), have them listen to different excerpts of the same conversation, where meaning gradually changes.

Pause the tape after each section, and get them to answer THE SAME question after each excerpt, to see how the message is being modified as new information emerges in the dialogue. 

Comments: If necessary, ask your learners prompting questions to get them to analyze why they chose their answers.

For example:

· What evidence in the conversation did you base your answer on?

· What were the traps (i.e. distractors)? 

· How was each excerpt answered differently each time by the speakers?

· Did you modify your first choice as the conversation progressed? Why?

Are you going to try this? 🙂

— —

Hi. I’m Fatime. I’m an IELTS Teacher Trainer, helping CELTA-qualified English language teachers become better at teaching SKILLS, as opposed to just testing them. 

Check out my courses here:

How to Teach IELTS Listening:

How to Teach IELTS Reading:

How to Teach IELTS Writing:

How to Teach IELTS Speaking: