Target Exams | Target KET Author Interview

Target First

Interview with Sue Ireland and Joanna Kosta, authors of Target KET for Schools

Can you tell us something about yourself?
  • Sue: It seems incredible, but I’ve been in ELT for over 30 years now. I taught in London, Europe, Africa and Japan before settling down in front of my laptop, in my 300-year old cottage in the depths of rural Suffolk.
  • Joanna: I live in north London, with my husband and my two sons, who are 10 and 12. They both play the electric guitar, so it’s often very noisy in our house. Luckily my office is at the back of the garage so I can escape if necessary!

How did you first get involved in ELT?
  • Sue: After doing a degree in German, I spent a year teaching in Sweden before taking a PGCE in EFL.
  • Joanna: I did a degree in English literature and then trained to become a teacher of EFL. I taught English in Greece, Portugal, Turkey and Hong Kong, before returning to the UK. I got a job teaching in a language school and after a couple of years became director of studies there.

And what do you do now?
  • Sue: Nowadays I am a freelance materials writer, working for Cambridge English Language Assessment on a number of papers, as well as for Richmond.
  • Joanna: I work freelance as an examiner and exam writer for Cambridge English Language Assessment. I also write books and practice material for EFL students.

How did you get involved with the exams side of ELT?
  • Sue: While I was in Japan, I did some oral examining for UCLES, as it was then, and on my return to the UK got involved with marking the written papers, which in turn led to item writing. I contributed to the development of the KET exam and worked on the papers right from the start. Of course it has continued to develop and change since those days, as has the PET exam.
  • Joanna: I also began with examining and then moved over to item writing after a couple of years.

What is different about writing an exam course compared to a general English course?
  • Sue and Joanna: Well of course in writing an exam course you are constrained by the requirements of the exam, in terms of vocabulary, structure, task types and so on, though topic-wise we had a slightly wider range than in the actual exam. However despite the exam focus of the books we were able to include much that you would expect to find in a general English course.
What makes Target KET for schools different to other similar courses?
  • Sue and Joanna: Target KET for Schools and Target PET are underpinned by the authors’ in-depth knowledge of every aspect of the KET and PET exams. At 40 – 50 teaching hours the books are perfect either for a short intensive exam preparation course, or as an adjunct to a general English course.
What do you think students will like most about Target KET for schools?
  • Sue and Joanna: On a quick flick through the pages of Target KET for Schools or Target PET, students will be immediately attracted by the colourful layout and illustrations. We have gone to a lot of trouble to ensure that the topics are appealing and accessible to young people and relevant to their interests. We’ve also tried to include lots of variety in the book, in terms of task types and skills practice.
How does Target KET for schools make teachers' lives easier?
  • Sue: The Teacher’s Books provide fantastic support for the busy teacher, with lesson plans, ideas for extension activities, photocopiable worksheets, background cultural notes – in fact all the support we would have loved to have had when we were in the classroom! There are also plenty of practice tests, both in the books and on the electronic components, which will ensure students are well prepared for the exam.
What did you find most interesting about writing this course?
  • Sue: Fitting so much material into such a tight format was a challenge, but scouring the media for items that would be of interest to students led to many interesting discoveries.
  • Joanna: Finding interesting ways to present and practise the language, while at the same time providing enough exam practice was challenging but rewarding work.

© Copyright    Contact us