a lucky charm

 In Emotional Intelligence in ESL classrooms

Only just a little note before we start to share this story with my readers:


June 2012 marked the beginning of a new era for students at Official Schools of Languages in Andalucia as new assessment criteria were followed, which also modelled teaching methods in the classrooms and students skills and performances.

In those exam days the students felt more and more pressure as the new procedures for examinations were rather strict and meticulous in an attempt to assure that candidates were sitting identical exams in any school within the Andalusian region: same exam, same timing, same requirements, same certificates.

L-o-n-g sessions.

Speaking tests became more specialised in form and content asking students to deliver monologues and dialogues based on the CEFR fourteen general categories for speaking tasks.


The case of B1 students 

In those times between 2012 and 2018 I developed an enduring appeal of B1 groups. The reason was to be able to prove whether students leaving A2 in June could actually become proficient students in B1 only one year later. What was proven each year really was how hard promotion was for our B1 students who most times were obliged to take the course once more. And even once again in the event of an illness or change of workplaces as it very sadly was the case of this hardworking person who became my student at one point. The paradox being his University degree would have no effect before his B1 certificate was issued.




a lucky charm

It was then that this idea was born for my B1 students who had worked really hard all year and were feeling anxious and stressed up in front of the exam papers: a few minutes before the exam begins hand out these tokens as a symbol of encouragement for the students. Walk around their desks giving one cut-out clover each as you wish best of luck. Slowly and meaningfully.  You will see it in their faces… it will show later on in their results.


Another turning point in Legislation occurred most recently in June 2020 with newer skills being introduced, along with newer criteria expanding B1 level into three years instead of one which will hopefully be more student «friendly». I couldn’t be more in favour of this.

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