ELC 2019 - Information for teachers


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Aims

The aim of the competition is to motivate students to learn English and if done well, they will enjoy preparing for and doing the competition. However, the aim isn’t just to motivate the students, but also to find the best (winners).

In order to achieve this, we try to have a balance between easy exercises (motivation) and more difficult exercises (finding the best students). This is why we have questions scoring, 3, 4 or 5 points. Students will have some questions that they can easily answer, but that there might also be some questions that they can’t answer.

Categories and levels

Many teachers have asked us to increase the number of categories, since they feel that their students are at a disadvantage. Unfortunately, this isn’t as easy as it sounds. First of all, students have different backgrounds in English (started from the 1st or 4th grade, number of lessons per week, special English groups, bilingual schools, private lessons, …), so we will always have different abilities in a category. Secondly, additional categories would mean higher organisation costs, and we prefer not to increase the price of the competition.

With the choice of grammar structures and vocabulary, the categories are based on the following books:

Mercury                Young Stars 3

Venus                   Get to the Top 1

Mars                     Get to the Top 3

Jupiter                  Pioneer pre-intermediate

Saturn                  Pioneer B1

It isn’t important that students actually learn from these books. Since all coursebooks follow the CEFR, students who use a different series will learn the same structures, so they won’t be at a disadvantage.

If you feel that your students need to enter in a different category, please contact us.

The questions

All questions are multiple-choice (ABCD) and the students need to find the best answer (which doesn’t necessarily mean that one answer is correct and 3 are clearly wrong).

Half of the questions will be about the reader and as much as possible, we try to avoid asking about small little details, though the readers for the lower levels have such a short storyline, that we sometimes have to.

The other half consists of questions about grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, communication and culture. As far as culture is concerned, we are careful to ask questions that the majority of the students can answer, so they won’t be too difficult. Please note that we always look at the English meaning of the word, and not the Hungarian translation (since this could have a slightly different meaning).

How to prepare students?

Obviously, they will need to read the reader, but also to understand it well. We expect them to know the sequence of events, the different characters (what they are like, what they did, what they said) and reason/result of vents. Unless the story is short, we won’t ask about small details, so there’s no need to memorise everything in the reader.

For the other part, it’s useful to do the exercises from previous years. This allows students to understand how to answer the questions. However, there can be different kinds of questions. We don’t use the same writers every year and based on the evaluation of earlier competition, we can decide to make changes to certain types of exercises.

What to do on the day of the competition?

The competition can be done at any time of the day, and since the time limit is 45 minutes, it easily fits in an English lesson. If you can’t do the competition on that specific day, please contact us to see if (and how) it can be arranged for a different day.

The students need to be supervised, but please note that the teacher isn’t allowed to help, this includes explaining the task, giving hints as well as giving the correct answer.

Why teachers shouldn’t provide the correct answer

Students want good results, the school wants good results and the parents want good results, and this pressure might lead to some teachers helping their students (especially when students come across something that they haven’t learnt yet). However, …

  • It isn’t allowed. The answers should reflect the students’ own work. It might sound surprising, but it’s quite obvious when the students didn’t do the work on their own. When we see that a class has identical answers, this is highly suspicious.
  • It’s cheating, and you are setting an example of what behaviour is acceptable. If you show the students it’s OK to cheat, what can you say when they cheat at the next test?
  • It’s not fair on other students who have the same questions and have to answer them without any help.
  • No minus points for wrong answers. Although the idea of minus points as a correction for guesses was a good idea, this doesn’t really affect the results. Not everybody understands or agrees with the system of minus points, which is why we will drop this from this year’s competition.
  • Results per county. Next to the national results, we will also publish the results per county (though county winners won’t receive any prizes).

What’s different from last year?

  • No minus points for wrong answers. Although the idea of minus points as a correction for guesses was a good idea, this doesn’t really affect the results. Not everybody understands or agrees with the system of minus points, which is why we will drop this from this year’s competition.
  • Results per county. Next to the national results, we will also publish the results per county (though county winners won’t receive any prizes).

Final task

It is likely that several students will receive maximum points. In that case, we will need a final task to decide the prize winners. In previous years, this was a creative task (such as creating a poster), but we are exploring other options as well.

Some teachers suggested to have a central final, but since a majority of teachers prefer not to travel, we will organise a final task that can be done at school.

Final words

With this competition, we hope to motivate the students and encourage them to learn more English. However, this depends a lot on the teacher. We would like every student to win, but this is not how a competition works. Be realistic about the students’ chances of winning any of the prizes, so they won’t be disappointed when they don’t. When done correctly, this competition will help to motivate the students, and this is how everybody really wins.