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Re: [evonline2002_webheads] Using authentic listening material in ESL/EFL

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  • Aiden Yeh
    Arlyn, Thanks for the morale support. I m not giving up on the use of authentic listening materials in class. I do believe that they are so much better than
    Message 1 of 2 , Oct 4, 2002
      Thanks for the morale support. I'm not giving up on the use of authentic listening materials in class. I do believe that they are so much better than using books in terms of relevance and timeliness. Although, I will have to find some easier materials, long in-depth analysis is too difficult for them, so I might settle for news summaries, short interviews, etc. Voice of America is a good resource, but, am not sure if there are transcripts available. Elizabeth mentioned voice to text software but I haven't used one yet (Does anyone know a particular voice to text software that works well?).
      For pre-listening activities, we discuss the given topic and I try to gauge how much they know about the subject and their attitudes toward it. If you have other activities in mind, I would love to hear them, Arlyn. I'll be spending my Saturday browsing materials available on the net. I'll be meeting my class next Wednesday- so am hoping i'd be ready by then.
      Thanks again, and email me soon.

      Arlyn Freed wrote:Dear Aiden,
      First off I have to ask that you keep your standards
      high... This is tough to do, especially when there
      are many more students than teachers (you're
      out-numbered!); it's even tougher when the other
      teachers don't use the same sort of materials.

      I can tell you (from personal experience) students may
      dislike your methods (and yes, even you) for taking
      the high road. Students have contacted me after
      leaving my class and thanked me, saying that my class
      had been harder than all the others combined, it was
      in my class they learned the most. Of course, it
      really isn't much fun to "force" your students to
      complete an exercise, especially when they don't yet
      have faith in your methods -- it's very difficult to
      face that sort of opposition. But there is a pay-off,

      Finally, regarding the material itself, can I ask what
      sorts of pre-listening tasks were used to "activate
      the schema" of the students? This is often the key to
      helping students up over the hump with difficult to
      manage material. I find PBS to be a great source of
      all sorts of material, at many different levels. How
      I present that material (as you noted, the physical
      room can be an obstruction) and the tasks that lead up
      to it can "make or break" a lesson.

      I use all sorts of "little tasks" to prepare the
      students for authentic material. The preparation is
      time consuming, which is why many other teachers
      prefer to use the books. For me, one of the benefits
      of using authentic material is that it is often more
      current than a textbook or I can find material to
      support the lessons in a textbook.

      As you can see, this is an area I really love and
      could chat about forever... So, if you'd like to
      discuss actual lesson approaches, let me know. But
      please, don't give up on this idea -- in the end, my
      students have benefited the most (their words, not
      mine) from the authentic resources than
      listening/speaking textbooks.
      Best regards,

      Aiden wrote:
      I am also teaching listening and conversation skills
      this semester to
      graduating college students. [snip]For my first
      lesson, we used
      the assigned book and listened to an interview about
      smoking. It was a
      disaster because we weren't in an audio lab, so the
      sound echoed all
      along. We transferred to an audio lab for the 2nd
      hour, which went well
      just fine. However, since audio lab have plastic
      panels in front of each
      table, open discussions were difficult to do. The
      panels blocked my
      view and the students', it was like talking to
      plastics! They also
      requested if we could use other resources. Yesterday,
      was our 2nd meeting and
      was happy because I found another computer/audio lab
      without plastic
      panels. Hurrah! The hitch. They found the material I
      chose too difficult.
      It was an audio material available at pbs.org designed
      for students who
      are native speakers of english. It required some
      in-depth analysis of
      issues (how we live: shopping, an interview by ray
      suarez with Rem
      Koolhaas, the architect/designer for Prada). I
      thought, it was cool. We may
      not have massive malls in Taiwan, but Taipei is full
      of street vendors
      and night market which reflects the attitudes and
      culture of the
      people). But there were some, 3 I believe who liked
      the challenge. These 3
      will pass, definitely! I was disappointed to the point
      that my husband,
      Miki, saw my disappointment printed all over my face
      as soon as I
      entered our living room. The students now would like
      to use the book, again,
      and I felt that these students wanted an easy way out.
      The answers to
      the listening activities are printed at the back of
      their books. So, by
      the time we go to the activities, they will already
      have known, have
      guessed, have cheated on their answers. You can't
      please everyone, that's
      for sure. So, last night, I have made up mind to use
      three different
      topics for the three hour class. The first hour, we'll
      use the book (to
      please them). The 2nd hour. listen to some
      music/entertainment clips,
      while they fill in gaps or cloze or what have you. The
      third hour, we'll
      listen to news clips/editorial. My husband told me,
      again (he told me
      once last semester) that I have high expectations from
      my students. But,
      surely I could tell the abilities of my students, then
      again, perhaps
      I spoke too fast. Perhaps, Miki's right. I'll see this
      class next week
      with my new plan, hoping that it'll work this time.
      I'll let you all

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