Successful free development workshop hosted by the TOEFL® programme

The TOEFL® programme conducted professional development workshops in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney in September for English-language professionals in Australia. These workshops helped educators reinforce select skills used in the classroom. The two sessions provided in September were on helping students with reading skills through better understanding of textual cohesion, and on developing item writing for the TOEFL test.

The first workshop, Minding the Gaps: Helping Students Increase Their Understanding of Textual Cohesion, focused on demonstrating techniques for creating reading tasks that help students build their skill in understanding textual cohesion. Participants gained skills at identifying inferences embedded in texts and writing tasks designed to increase students' skill in bridging textual inferences.

"It was great to get an insight into the way the TOEFL test conceives of and tests for understanding of textual cohesion. The presentation and practical exercises had a different approach to the one I am used to taking, and this was of great interest. A very precise and well thought through methodology was explored," said one participant.

ETS experts also led a one-day seminar on creating writing items for the TOEFL test, following a successful session on item writing for the Speaking section. Participants practiced preparing test items using pre-selected source material. There was also discussion of how this item type can be customised for classroom use.

If you are interested in future professional development sessions, please contact Cath Moore at cmoore@ets.org.

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