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Who is an interlocutor?
The interlocutor is responsible for conducting the spoken exams. They elicit the spoken performance of the candidate by asking them questions or setting up speaking tasks using the Interlocutor Framework.
The Interlocutor may be a native-speaker or non-native speaker of English. They must have a good command of English and be able to use the language to high degrees of skill in order to elicit language at an appropriate level from the candidate.
The interlocutor plays no part in the actual assessment of the candidate as exams are recorded and sent to City & Guilds to be marked.
Guide for Interlocutors
The purpose of this Guide is to provide information and guidance for Interlocutors on all aspects of the City & Guilds International SESOL tests.
What qualities and skills should the interlocutor demonstrate?
- a thorough understanding of the language and linguistic forms being tested at each level
- attentive to the administrative demands of the role
- skilful in elicitation
- able to keep to the framework to direct discourse smoothly
- patient and encouraging
- keep to the time limit of the test
- know how to operate recording equipment effectively
- appropriate English language teaching qualifications
- proven professional competence
- teaching experience at an appropriate level
- manage the interaction at the test and facilitate the candidate's performance
- be completely familiar with the scripted framework for each level of the test
- read each test paper thoroughly before the first candidate starts the examination
- adjust their level of English as is appropriate for the level of the test
- keep to the prescribed time for all parts of the test
- ensure that all candidates are treated equally
- ensure that all the administration is carried out accurately
- take regular breaks between a number of examinations
- check the equipment used for the recording
- help set up the examination room
- complete the necessary administration in connection with the exam
General advice to interlocutors
- Be as friendly as you can! Smile!
- Concentrate fully on the candidate!
- Respect candidate's right to privacy!
- Give clear and effective instructions!
- Keep to the Interlocutor framework!
- Give the candidate every chance to speak!
- Watch the time!
- Show interest!
- Behave consistently with each candidate!
- Be patient and reassuring!
- Call candidates by their name!
- Don't correct mistakes!
- Don't dominate the interaction!
- Don't pitch your language level too high or too low!
- Don't show off!
- Don't ask very personal questions!
- Don't ask questions that test general knowledge!
- Don't be extremely humorous!
- Don't ask obvious questions!
- Don't be a teacher!
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