Ramesh Thapa works in a language school in Kathmandu, Nepal. As an English language teacher, he does more than teach grammar and vocabulary – he helps people change their lives.
Four years ago, Ramesh began teaching preparation classes for students who want to take PTE Academic. It’s no small challenge: His students need a good PTE score so they can study and live abroad – or to get the English-speaking jobs they want at home.
People come to Ramesh because they know they can rely on him to help them prepare for the test. They have big dreams – so the stakes are high.
We spoke to Ramesh to find out more about his experience of preparing students for PTE. He told us all about the challenges, the successes, and shared advice with the teaching community around the world.
How Ramesh teaches PTE preparation
With a maximum of ten people per class, students in Ramesh’s classes get a lot of personal attention and support. He explains that he uses a computer with a projector in the main classroom to share examples of PTE activities. Students get to try each task type themselves – and Ramesh shares with them tips and strategies for maximizing their score.
For Ramesh, the students are the most important part of the equation. As such, peer-to-peer learning and home study are key parts of his preparation course.“I’ll have my students take turns reading aloud and commenting on one another’s speaking,” he explains. “At the end of the class, I’ll give them an assignment so they can keep practicing at home.”
Ramesh is no stranger to technology either. When it comes to PTE, he knows how important it is for students to feel comfortable with the technology. “It is a computer-based exam, so all teachers should make sure that their students are practicing on a computer,” he says. “We have a separate computer lab where students can get unlimited lab access – and this is a big part of helping students get their desired scores.”
In this way, not only do students get a better feel for the exam, but they also get to practice their typing skills.
Helping students to overcome their challenges
Ramesh finds that his students struggle with the Repeat sentence task in the Speaking part of the exam. “They have trouble with the accent when listening and pronouncing the words,” he says.
For the same reason, his students often find the Listening part of PTE the most challenging. “Most of my students find difficulty in listening because our accents differ from the American and British accents,” Ramesh explains.
And of course, as any language teacher knows, practice makes perfect. “The main solution is practice,” he says, “so I ask them to listen to more audio recordings which will ultimately help them be successful.”
Advice for other teachers
“Personally,” Ramesh says, “I think students should get all of the required details, materials, tips and tricks from their PTE tutors.” So, a robust understanding of the exam is crucial for teachers. “It’s helpful to access the free training that is available from Pearson,” Ramesh advises. And, for the best chance of success, students need to do a practice test. “After they have completed a course, students should be provided with several mock tests,” he says.
This builds students’ confidence and helps to reduce test-day nerves.
What about his other students?
Many of Ramesh’s former students have gone on to achieve their goals and are now studying thousands of miles away, in Australia and Canada. It’s been hard work for them, but with thorough preparation with the help of an inspiring teacher, it’s been a great journey.
We’d like to shine a spotlight on the work of our teachers so that we can learn from one another. Each month we’ll be showcasing the work of one PTE Academic teacher from around the globe.
Are you a PTE Academic teacher who has advice and teaching tips to share with the Teacher Community? We’d like to hear from you! Fill out this brief form to express your interest in being featured in an upcoming teacher profile and we’ll be in touch shortly. And for more insights into teaching PTE, sign up for our teacher newsletter.