English Language Fellows Jennifer Roberts and Meg Merwin led a series of four workshops on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) in Sumbawa Besar, Indonesia.
Roberts presented information on the first and third sections of the TOEFL test, listening and reading comprehension, and Merwin presented on the second section, structure and written expression. Roberts’s counterpart at the university, lecturer Ibu Ni Wayan Mira Susanti, also helped in the workshops, which took place at Universitas Teknologi Sumbawa (UTS).
UTS opened only two years ago, so both students and lecturers are new. All of the students will be required to take the TOEFL exam to graduate from the university. The director of UTS is also eager for the lecturers to complete their Master’s degrees, which places a high demand on the lecturers to score high points on the TOEFL in order to receive scholarships for further study in countries like Singapore. Other community members in Sumbawa Besar must take the TOEFL for career advancement. For example, members of the internal tax system and bank employees attended the workshop in addition to university faculty and students.
During the workshops, trainees were taught skills specific to the different areas of the test, then given time to practice questions in groups, pairs, and individually. In the final workshop, participants took their first complete practice test of the TOEFL using the knowledge and skills they gained during the first three workshops. For nearly every participant, this workshop was their first exposure to any TOEFL questions, let alone an entire practice test.
Faculty at UTS scored the tests and delivered results to participants so they could see which sections they could improve on. These workshops provided lecturers with materials and strategies for teaching TOEFL, introduced trainees to the style and content of TOEFL questions, and boosted the confidence of all participants in their TOEFL ability.