Even if you’re not preparing for the TOEFL, TOEFL Cafe can be a great resource. Here are three ways I like to use it with students.
1. Assess Your Speaking Speed. Since TOEFL Cafe has a timer for your response, it can give you a better idea of how quickly you speak. Of course, speed doesn’t necessarily equate to clarity, but it can indicate some other problems, like inadequate vocabulary or pronunciation issues. If you constantly run over the time limit despite having a well-focused response, you might want to think about asking a tutor to help you with intonation because it can help speed up your speaking.
2. Use the Prompts as a Jumping Off Point. Many of the prompts ask questions about your opinions or beliefs. Students can use these questions to design interviews for peers in order to practice their speaking and listening skills. After picking a question they are interested in, students can do research and conduct interviews to assess public opinion on the topic. Once they are done with their research, they can develop it into a presentation.
3. Develop Your Note-taking Skills. How do you organize information into easy-to-read notes? If you take notes, can you understand them the next day? With short listening and reading passages, TOEFL Cafe can be a good tool for practicing note-taking. Some questions, like prompts #3, 5, and 6 are particularly useful because they involve different speakers and sources of information. TOEFL Cafe can help you create a note-taking system to help you in other situations later on.
What do you think? How would you use this free resource?
East Bay ESL is an English language school for adult students in the San Francisco East Bay.