(36 of 50) CLT & TAIWAN: 6th Sign of Fakeness/Not being real

By | June 8, 2018


So, let’s continue with the last sign of being fake/not-real.

Sign 6 of a Fake/Not-Real Teacher

The school or teacher makes the absolutely impossible claim: “I can predict the answers in the IELTS test.”

I could link this to Sign 3: the claims of ‘guarantee IELTS 7’. The same logic applies here.

But let’s look more specifically at “I can predict the answers.’ This is the new trend in Taiwan right now as I write. Fake students are putting messages on the social media about how their teacher ‘knows the answers in the IELTS test.’ Why is this claim a sign of fakeness?

Because saying this is an outright and blatant lie. And a real teacher – one who cares about your learning – would never lie like that. Your first questions should be …

What do you even mean by ‘know the answer’?

Do you mean just a vague prediction such as ‘Task One will be a bar chart’ or ‘It will probably be a map’? If that bar chart has ‘change over time’ – that is, a time axis, for example, 1980 to 2000 – then this item is actually equivalent to a line graph (with the bars holding up the lines). The same logic applies to pie charts (one for 2005 and one for 2010). If it doesn’t have change over time, then it is all about comparison, but every single task is different to every other task. I have seem hundred of IELTS Writing Tasks over my teaching career, and they are all different! So, even if the teacher is lucky to guess the general type of writing task, does such an ambiguous prediction mean ‘predicting the answers in the IELTS Test?’ If it does, it is next to useless to you, the test-taker.

In other words, all IELTS Task Ones and Task Twos are unique, different, and need individual thinking (rather than memorisation). The real teacher prepares you with the thinking skills, and grammar and writing skills, to deal with IELTS. The teacher doesn’t boast about ‘predicting’ things.

If these people claim anything more specific, the next question is what magic knowledge do they have to make this prediction? Do they have paid spies in IDP and British Council and the IELTS Asian Regional Management Centre? Do these people slip them the real questions the day before the test? Is such behavior ethical? Is it the sign of a professional teacher? Is it the way you are supposed to have your English tested?

I have worked in the IELTS industry for 20 years, and I don’t pretend to be able to predict the questions. Consequently, I don’t say I can predict the questions. But I am an honest (and real) teacher of IELTS preparation. Even if I could predict the answers with some degree of certainty, I don’t think I would give this information. As I mentioned, it is actually quite meaningless

Anyhow who says they can predict the answer is NOT. Got it?

Well, that’s the end of the ‘six signs of fakeness’. Here’s a summary.

The Six Signs Of Being Fake/Not-Real

  1. The teacher speaks mostly in Chinese.
  2. The teacher uses memorisation, or use books and material that do this.
  3. The teacher/school makes claims of ‘guaranteed scores’.
  4. The teacher talks and ‘explains’ all the time in class.
  5. The teacher advertises, ‘You only talk to me’.
  6. The teacher claims (s)he can predict the answers in the IELTS test (whatever that means).

Now, let’s move to signs that should make you worried about the school or teacher.

Some of these should make you very worried indeed. The signs don’t mean the teacher/school is necessarily bad or not-real or fake, but …. well … to repeat, you should be worried, and investigate further. The next post will consider the first of these signs.

Now, check that you know the meaning of the underlined vocabulary (also repeated below).

  • to be blatant (adj)
  • to be vague (adj)
  • to be equivalent (adj)
  • to be unique (adj)
  • to be ambiguous (adj)
  • to be ethical (adj)
  • to investigate (v)
Author: Andrew

Andrew Guilfoyle Cambridge CELTA, Cambridge DELTA, Cambridge CELTA teacher-trainer, M.Ed