In today’s speaking class, we discussed four questions (out of six), one of which was an academic topic. As a teacher who teaches students ranging from high schooler to business executives, I found this academic topic very interesting.
That was on “offshore outsourcing.”
The reading passage provides a general idea…a definition of offshore outsourcing, which is followed by the lecture which introduces both advantages and disadvantages of this way of operation.
When a businessman hears the phrase “offshore outsourcing” s/he will suddenly become confident of what s/he is doing. By the time the lecture ends, the response will be ready and is just about to burst out.
Which was not the case with today’s class. Everyone was high school students. When they read the definition in the reading passage, it took more than 60 seconds (it was supposed be done in 45 seconds), and yet everyone looked like “WTF?”
OK, this is what I always emphasize. The more you know about academic topics, the better understanding will follow. The better you understand the passage, the better summary you can make. The better summary you can make, the better score you will see on your score report. Did I talk about “the English ability” here in this discussion? No, I didn’t, because so long as you know the topic, language doesn’t matter much, does it? (Of course most people can read and listen a bit.)
Cramming vocabulary may be important to get a passing score of the TOEFL, but learning about topics is just as important. That is what the TOEFL is all about and I like it a lot.