TOEFL Q16: Teaching Rules


In this lesson, your tutor will help you go over question four from the TOEFL speaking test. Read the text below out loud with the tutor.

Teaching Rules

One of the most important lessons students learn in school is how to follow the rules. Students learn how to share, to respect others, and to complete assignments on time. However, teaching students these ideas is sometimes difficult. As a result, teachers have to rely on a variety of strategies to help students learn to follow the rules.

Reading time: 45 seconds


Listen to a short conversation related to the reading.
Note to tutor: read the text to the student. The text is not presented to the student in the actual test.  

Let me tell you about my experience as an elementary school teacher and how I taught students to follow the rules. If you’ve been around young children, then you know that they love to ask “why?”. This is especially true of the rules. Young students need to know why a rule exists. Otherwise, they won’t follow it. This mean we should always explain the purpose of the rule after making it. I’ll give you an example to help you understand. I didn’t want my students to eat snacks in the classroom. So I made a rule against eating in class. At first the students didn’t follow the rule, but then I explained why I made the rule. I told them that I wanted to keep the classroom clean. Once the students understood the purpose of the rule, they followed it without a problem.


The professor describes her experience teaching students to follow the rules. Explain how her experience relates to teaching rules.

Preparation time: 30 seconds l Response time: 60 seconds


Use the chart below to explain the main idea and the key points of the lecture.

Topic The lecturer explains how she taught her elementary students to __.
Detail 1 First, she explains that young children love to __. She says that young students need to know the __ of a rule. Otherwise, they will __ the rule.
Detail 2 The lecturer made a rule against __. The students did not follow the rule __. However, after she __ the purpose of the rule, the students __ without a problem .


Give a brief spoken response to the questions based on the announcement and the conversation.

  1. What does the reading passage say about teaching students to follow the rules?
    • The passage says that it is difficult and that teachers must rely on __.
  2. What rule did the instructor create in her elementary school class?
    • She created a rule against __.
  3. What strategy did the instructor use to get her students to follow the rules?
    • The instructor would __ of the rules to get her students to follow them.

Sample Answer

Reading great sample answers is one way to improve. Go over the sample answer with your tutor. Ask questions if you have any.

Sample Answer
The passage deals with teaching rules to students. It explains that teachers must use a variety of strategies to teach students the rules. In the listening, the lecturer claims that young children will not follow a rule if they don’t know why it exists. She gives an example to help explain. The lecturer made a rule against eating in class. At first, the students didn’t follow the rule. But after she explained the purpose of the rule, the students followed it without a problem.

Further Study

Got more time? Here is a list of common vocabulary words related to the text you studied today. Go over each one with your tutor.

Additional Expressions
lesson (n) something learned
e.g. I’ve learned my lesson; I’ll never do that again!
respect (v) to act politely toward others
e.g. The students respect the principal’s honesty.
rely on (phr v) to need something
e.g. My mother relied on me for financial support.
variety (n) a number of different things
e.g. The company sells a variety of gardening products.
experience (n) something that has happened to someone
e.g. The best way to learn is by experience.
especially (adv) particularly; very
e.g. He was especially concerned about the terms of the contract.
exist (v) to be real
e.g. She believes that ghosts really do exist.
purpose (n) a reason
e.g. The purpose of the new resort is to attract more tourists.
create (v) to make something
e.g. The president has announced a plan to create new jobs.
claim (v) to say that (something) is true when some people may say it is not true
e.g. The man claimed he was my long-lost uncle.

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