Англійська мова в Україні

Making Friends As Perpetual Motion

Интервью А. Зарахович и А. Алексийчук газете English

There is something behind the expression about friendship which will solve anything. Aliona@Aliona are two women with one name who are associated with Dinternal books by many people and of course Sean Harty, who is an owner of the company, they are the people who create, invent and, what is more important, put into practice their thoughts, projects and ideas. Our newspaper decided to ask Aliona Zarakhovich and Aliona Aleksiychuk about new projects of one of the biggest distributors of English publishers in Ukraine.

Aliona&Aliona

— Aliona, you as a representative of one of the most famous dealers of English publishers – Dinternal, that is quite known for teachers of English.

A.Z: Thank you, I think that it’s not only me but all Dinternal managers who are known by most of progressive teachers. You know, it is said that friendship and business don’t mix but I’m happy that our relations with teachers disprove this expression and in our case I would say that friendship and business do mix if it’s cooperation in one of the most important areas.

— You mean education…

A.Z: Exactly. Teachers give us ideas, make reasonable propositions and, as a result, help us to understand the market demand and we, from our part, offer them proper books and new ideas for teaching, organize seminars and presentations; Pearson-Longman every year represents us so many new things for teaching! We’ve just learned how to use all these new digital products from electronic textbooks up to a vocabulary trainer for mobile telephones and what do you think, – this year we’ll have lots of completely new inventions; but I think that we’ll talk about brand-new things when we try them and are able to show you.

— It seems “relax” is not your motto. Our ELT have been interested in assessment for the last couple of years, especially after first attempt in June 2009. Can you tell our readers if you have anything special to offer to our teachers so that to help them be more aware in this field?

A.Z: Yes, we have started a new 2010 year with several new projects. First thing we did (we, I mean myself, Aliona and Sean) set up a new educational company ECTUA and one of our projects are Pearson Tests.

— Look, let’s put everything in order: what does ECTUA mean?

A.A: It means English Centre of Testing in Ukraine and it also means the exclusive representative of Pearson Language Tests in Ukraine.

— Well, you mentioned Pearson Tests… up to now I have known about Pearson-Longman books but not about tests.

A.Z: To tell you the truth, we’ve learnt about Pearson Tests recently too. The Pearson Group is made up of the world’s leading education companies and publishing houses; it has more than 100 affiliate companies under its umbrella, we all know Longman but such famous names as The Financial Times, Penguin and Prentice Hall are also one of the Pearson Group. Pearson Language Tests is a relatively new business unit of the Pearson Group, which dedicated to language testing and these are examinations to assess and accredit English Language competence. A.A: I’d like to add that they provide an internationally recognised English Language Test, which is of the highest quality.

— Do Pearson exams have the same format as other British or American exams?

A.A: As you know, each exam has its own quite special format and when you need international certificate in English, you’ve got to have at least a year of preparation for this or that exam. I remember when I needed a certificate in English, I had been preparing for FCE certificate the whole year and after a year of preparation I had the same level of English as a year before but I knew how to pass the exam… A.Z: That’s true and the main area that differentiates Pearson Tests examinations is that they don’t have special format of examinations. Pearson designed tests with the emphasis on practical ability to use the English language on communication and language capability which are, I believe, the real needs of modern Universities, colleges and potential employers. The Pearson tests assess how well candidates can use the language they know.

Aliona&Aliona

— Exactly what we need nowadays, but each test must have the format; I mean types of exercises and questions, the special format for writing and reading tasks.

A.Z: Yes, you are right. Pearson tests have their format, however, it’s not a special format for exam tasks and examinations can be run by using any course book based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. PTE are based on CEFR, offered at six levels from A1 to C2 and check all four skills: speaking, listening, reading and writing. So, choose the level and you have the possibility to have an international certificate. A.A: Moreover, grammar doesn’t have a separate section; it’s checked through speaking and writing. Actually, we do need grammar to have proper ability to speak, write and understand but not as a separate unit that’s why ability to use grammar in communication is more important than knowing grammar rules or how to open the brackets.

— Why did an idea appear to design these exams? By whom have they been prepared?

A.Z: As we’ve already mentioned, modern world demands development in many areas. The most interesting thing is that the Pearson, after researching the market, came to the conclusion that we need one format of exercises in our books and our exam papers; teachers all over the world can teach English and, at the same time, prepare for exams designed to reward positive achievement in English language learning. A.A: These exams were originally developed by the University of London’s Examination Board and are administered in association with Edexcel, the UK’s largest examining body. A.Z: Aliona, I think we’ve got to explain what kind of organisation Edexel is. It is the largest examining body in the UK and is regulated by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority which is the most important examination controlling organization for quality in Great Britain and today Edexcel is also a part of the Pearson Group and delivers the Pearson Tests of English. Pearson tests are prepared, marked and assessed by experienced independent external examiners in the UK. A.A: What is more, even waiting for a certificate, approved Test Centres can view their candidates’ results on-line. Pearson Language Tests has developed a unique on-line service, where individual performance of enrolled students will be readily available on-line.

— It seems that the Pearson has thought over every detail. When and where will exams take place in Ukraine? Who will be examiners?

A.Z: First exams will be in May on a pre-determined Saturday worldwide including Ukraine, this year it falls on 22 May; exams can be taken 4 times per year in May, June, November and December. Test centres will be located not only in Kiev, we are also planning to open Test Centres in different cities in Ukraine based at Universities and private language schools; all Test Centres will be accredited in the UK and regularly checked by ECTUA. Oral examiners will be trained and certified Ukrainian teachers, they’ll assess the oral exams, however, at the same time all oral exams will be recorded and sent for verifying to London where the main Pearson’s office is.

— Everything is so seriously, I still can’t believe that you don’t need to prepare for exams…

A.A: That is where you are mistaken. You do need to prepare but one’s preparation is completing the proper course of English and the certificate will prove candidate’s level. Teachers may use any book from well known Opportunities up to the new Activate! textbooks to prepare for the exam and the idea is not to prepare for exams but to teach certain level of English with the book teachers enjoy using. A.Z: Teachers may download past papers from the PTE or S2A (ECTUA) websites, however, examination practice doesn’t have to be confined to working through past papers do add communication, student own experience and fun.

Aliona&Aliona

— Fun? Do you mean fun for exams?

A.Z: I mean fun for classes because that makes student love English but as for exams… Pearson Tests have 4 level tests for young learners designed to be interesting, motivating and fun.

— Do young learners need this stress, I mean exams?

A.Z: The tests are not stressful, they are rewarding and interesting.The tests are created around the adventures of the Brown family and designed to make a child’s testing experience positive. The Brown family live in London, Mr. Brown is a busy pilot and Mrs. Brown is a supermum and works as a vet. Their four children have different characters and habits and the grandparents come often to baby-sit. Children learn and take part in their everyday life, adventures and mishaps. So, you see it’s more like an exciting story than exam tasks but at the same time all the skills are checked through motivating tasks, and being a mum I wouldn’t object to my daughter having such a certificate from England and being a teacher of English I’d encourage my students to take the exams, if they like. Oral test consists of a board game with throwing dice, scoring etc and topic cards. In order to avoid stress, there is a 5-7 minute break during which children may rest and play games. Isn’t it fun?

— You persuaded me, you are so enthusiastic about testing but what about validity of Pearson tests, will they be valid in European countries?

A.A: Definitely they will and not only in European countries. The examinations are recognized all over the world and are accepted by universities, employers and national education authorities in many countries as evidence of a required standard of English. The UK Border Agency also officially approves PTE General.

— Thank you, you have a really worthwhile and interesting project.

A.Z: I have some more in my sleeve… But I think I’ll leave it for the next time, just to keep you interested.

— Now I see how everything changes: I started my interview with representatives of one company and ending with representatives of another, however, you are the same people. What can you wish to our readers in a new 2010?

AZ: This year is a year of a white tiger; by the way, wild cats are my favourite wild animals and I hope that this year all your readers will be winners in everything they do and plan. I’d like to wish them never to stop in their life even if one thinks that he or she did so much… A.A: I would wish you to be resolute, take the initiative in your hands, create, love, set your mind on positive things and thoughts! A.Z: Make friends and good fortune will never leave you! A.A. Be happy!

Let me join to your wishes and thank you for cooperation and your time.
The idea of the interview is by Tatiana MYKHAILENKO

Подробнее о тестах Pearson Tests of English, а также о системе Clip для изучения английского онлайн читайте на официальном сайте компании ЭСТУА:
Международные экзамены по английскому языку Pearson Tests of English. Английский онлайн.