Misconceptions During Stimulus-Based Conversation

Oral: Top 5 Misconceptions During Stimulus-Based Conversation

With the prelims and PSLE Oral looming ahead, we are starting to prepare the children for their oral examination. Today’s post seeks to answer 5 Misconceptions During Stimulus-Based Conversation that children and parents have. During my conversations with parents and children, I realise that these 5 Misconceptions During Stimulus-Based Conversation often create unnecessary fear and are even stumbling blocks for children. Let’s see what they are today!

Misconception #1: The longer the answer, the better it is.

Why it is untrue: If an answer is long but irrelevant to the question or topic, it does not reflect the child’s understanding and answering of the question. Take the following as an example:

Q: Have you made any of the following desserts before? Tell me more.
(based on a stimulus that showed different types of desserts)

A: Yes, I have tried making the cupcake before. Last year, I was at my grandmother’s home and my aunty taught my cousins and me how to make cupcakes. We used flour, sugar, chocolate and a big mixing bowl to place all the ingredients in. However, we started playing in the kitchen and my aunty chased us out of the kitchen.

After we were chased out, we went to the garden and I saw some snails. I picked up a snail and…

At this point, I interrupted the child and proceeded to ask the child if the snail is going to be related to the making of the cupcakes. The child gave me a cheeky smile and answered no. I praised him for his effort as we both knew that he had made some good points at the beginning and was trying very hard to extend his answer about the making of the cupcake. However, it is also true that the details he was adding in later are not relevant to the question.

In some children’s attempt to lengthen their answers, they must be aware that the details added or the new topic initiated should be related to the question. They should also be able to make a link back to the question very smoothly and easily at the end of the sharing. With a good link made to the original question to show the relevance, the details in the developed (or long) answer will then serve to to help the child score.

Misconception #2. As long as my answer is long and interesting, I will do well.

Why it is untrue: As much as an engaging conversation that is interesting and relevant does capture the examiner’s attention, it is important to remember that the language used to express this answer is of equal importance. I remember how a child had provided interesting experiences and responses but was penalised rather heavily due to his usage of Chinese and Singlish during the examination. It was really an area which I wish he had been more careful in.

Looking at the assessment objective (AO) for the PSLE Oral examination, you will see that:

assessment objective (AO) for the PSLE Oral examination

Source: http://www.seab.gov.sg/content/syllabus/PSLE/2016_PSLE_Subject_info/0001_2016.pdf

Some important language features to take note of include:
1. using the correct tenses and subject-verb agreement, (My mother say… should be My mother says/said…)
2. using a wide range of vocabulary (sad, crestfallen, devastated etc.)
3. standard English (No slangs or switching to other languages except for names of food e.g. Nasi Lemak)

You may wish to use the Blare Conversation Checklist to take note of these language features during your practice!

Misconception #3: I must always agree when answering yes/no questions.

Why it is untrue: There is actually no standard answer that is given for each question stating points that you must mention in order to score points during the examination. Do not be pressured into thinking that you must always agree with what the question is asking about.

Hence, for a yes/no question that asks you for your opinion (e.g. Will you wish to take part in this event?), what is more important is for you to give an opinion which you are confident in developing as an answer. At times, by agreeing with the question, you may realise you do not have much to say to support why you chose that option. On the contrary, by disagreeing, you may find it easier to support that decision.

Another route which you can take is to discuss both opinions, weighing the pros and cons before sharing your decision.

Misconception #4: I must make up stories if I do not have the relevant experience.

Why it is untrue: There are other ways that you can share stories and experiences. Some children have the impression that the story must involve them and thus, they must create unreal experiences. The problems with this are that some children are uncomfortable to do this (I have a child who was very distraught and told me that he did not wish to lie.) and for some children, the stories which are created tend to lack logic.

Instead of spinning stories and creating these unreal experiences, what you can do instead:

1. Relate experiences of family and friends.

2. Relate stories which you have read about (in stories or the newspaper etc.) or watched (in videos and movies etc.)

3. Think about a hypothetical situation. Express what you will wish for if you have not had the experience. (E.g. Have you kept a pet before? Tell me about your experience.)

Child A: No, I have not kept a pet before. (…and the response ends there. This is definitely not what we hope for.)
Child B: Although I had not kept a pet before, I have always wished to be able to keep a dog. (Child went on to discuss why he/she would like to keep a dog and what he/she thinks keeping a dog would require him/her to do.)

Misconception #5: If the examiner asked me a lot of questions, I must have done poorly.

Why it is untrue: There is a set of questions (usually 3) which each examiner is required to ask each candidate. Depending on the child’s response, examiners have the flexibility to ask all or most of the questions and prompts or ask fewer questions if the examiner has heard enough to assess the candidate.

Sometimes, when an examiner asks more questions maybe that he/she just wants to hear more to give a better assessment of you. There are situations too when examiners may ask more questions that are related to the child’s response simply because he/she is engaged by what the child has shared. As a candidate, as long as your responses are relevant and developed (not just two or three lines.), do not worry if your examiner has asked more questions. If the examiner is smiling and seems interested, you should know that you are engaging him/her and that is always a positive thing.

I hope that with the above 5 Misconceptions During Stimulus-Based Conversation are clarified, you will be more confident in your answers and be aware of what makes a good answer. Fire away in the comment section or drop us an email if you have any other queries or requests for topics that you would like to see us do a blog post on!



The Lil’ Chatterbox Course

If you are still looking for a way to do better for your oral and need a structured approach to craft your answers in the stimulus-based conversation section, we are happy to share with you that our online oral course, “Lil’ Chatterbox” is now available!

Other than our compilation of vocabulary, you will also be getting the videos to walk you through our simple yet effective framework to answer the SBC questions as well as the Oral Workbook consisting of 9 practices with model answers. Find out more about this essential PSLE English oral course here now.

Mrs Chew

With her passion to create relevant and easy-to-understand materials for the lil’ ones, Mrs Lily Chew works alongside her team of teachers to design the Lil’ but Mighty curriculum. Constantly looking at best educational practices and thinking of ways to improve the curriculum, Mrs Chew finds pure joy in unlocking creative and different ways of helping each child achieve his or her personal best.

Have something to share? Drop us a comment below!

Leave a Reply


Other related posts

5 Tips To Help You In Your Primary English Exam Revision
Authentic Learning Activity | Editor on the Move!
Free News Sources for Kids
Holiday + Learning = Fun!
Primary 4 Marching Onto Primary 5: Changes You Need to Know for English
Continuous Writing | 4 Tips to Address the Topic
Reading | Video: A Totto-ly Delightful Read!
4 Fun & Interactive Classroom Display Tools!
Teachers Who Love English, We Want You!
5 Commonly Confused Pairs (or is it Pears?)
Steps to Score Well in Situational Writing for PSLE English
I Love Reading | 3 Tips for Reluctant Readers
The First Write Recipe Workshop at Greenridge Primary School!
Understanding IF Conditionals!
5 Graphic Novels To Check Out This Holiday
Paper 2: Don’t Lose the Marks Everyone is Getting!
PSLE English Specialist Teacher Wanted!
How to Execute Direct and Indirect Speech Transformation Confidently! | PowerPoint Slides
Comprehension | What Do I Need to Highlight?
Post Exam | 3 Important Things to Do After Receiving Your Exam Script
Authentic Learning | A New Way to Read the News
Learning Idioms: Have The Upper Hand With These 3 Tips
Tricky Prepositions to Clarify Before Your Exam
More importantly, your knowledge of prepositions can be tested in numerous sections in Paper 2 - Grammar MCQ, Vocabulary MCQ, Grammar Cloze, Comprehension Cloze and Editing. That’s more than half of the components in Paper 2!
App-y Tuesday: Prep Your Prepositions with These Apps!
As a follow up to my previous post on prepositions, I thought I would share with you three apps which you can download if you’re looking for an effective and fun way to learn prepositions.
Bingo Revision 4 Ways!
In this post, I am going to show you how the modest game of Bingo can be used as a fun revision tool.
Insert Exciting Dialogue Tags to Your Primary School Composition!
To start off with, let me share with you the power of using dialogue. Dialogue is an essential part of the story.
How to Pronounce the /th/ Sound?
In this post, I would like to help you to start mastering the /th/ sound with 2 simple steps.
Perfecting the Paragraph: Know When To Start A New Paragraph
We all know that to write a good story, we need to have a clear structure. But how do we structure our stories? If your answer is, “by having paragraphs”, then you are very nearly correct.
7 Essay Types at the O Level
Five Essentials to Score for Formal Situational Writing
Let’s Go On A Learning Journey | Two Awesome Places To Visit During the December Holidays!
Activities for the Holidays!
Between Two Commas: How to Deal with Extra Information
Continuous Writing: 3 Specific Things to Check For!
Fans of Fiction: 3 Websites to Check Out This Holiday
NYT Copy-Edit This: Free Editing Resource
3 Writing Skills to Start Nurturing from Primary 2
Tackling 3 Important Question Types in Comprehension: True/False, Referencing and Sequencing
Visual Text Comprehension | 4 Types of Non-Linguistic Features You Need to Know
4 Examination Components That Test You on Irregular Verbs
Grammar | “I” vs “Me” (Subjective VS Objective Pronoun)
Vocabulary | 5 Common Homophone Mistakes
Writing a Composition | 3 Ways to Write A Good Line of Dialogue
3 Ways to Build A Confident Child With Your Choice of Words!
Look Back in a Flash! 3 Ways to Craft Effective Flashbacks
Building Grammar Foundations: Start Young, Start Now

Like what you are reading?

Subscribe now to receive news and tips hot off the press!

Primary School English Tuition| Lil' but Mighty English