Tag Archives: listening

Education: Enhancing Collaborative Listening in Class using QRCodes and Group Chat

Just like everyone else on this planet, I’m dealing with a pesky flu. The good news is that I’ve almost managed to defeat it. Now I just need to regain my voice.

These days, in class, all activities revolve around the topic of Education and the problems in our education system. The video shared in this post proves to be an excellent resource for engaging discussions on these issues.

This video is perfect as it hits several birds with one stone. In the video, we’ll find a brief introduction, followed by the presentation of six potential problems in our education system.

Wondering why I say it hits several birds with one stone? On the one hand, students enhance their listening skills and work collaboratively, and on the other hand, we get a starting point to discuss the challenges in our education system. Besides, it doesn’t obviously hurt to introduce beautiful QR codes in class, does it?

Note: before the class, ask students to bring their earbuds and ensure they have a QR Code reader installed in their mobile phones/devices

LISTENING. Level. B2+
  1. Play the introduction (0:00-0:32) for the whole class.
  2. Explain that after the introduction, 6 problems related to our education system will follow.
  3. Form groups of up to 6 students and assign each student a problem.
  4. Direct the students’ attention to the walls of the class, where they will find a copy containing the QR readers for each student/problem.
  5. Students scan their assigned QR Code and listen, taking notes and jotting down as much information as possible.

RETELLING AND DISCUSSING IN THEIR GROUPS

After wrapping up the listening phase, everyone in the group takes a seat. Student 1 takes the lead by sharing what they’ve gathered about their assigned issue. Once their account is complete, they invite group members to contribute with comments regarding the discussed issue. Then, it is Student 2’s turn.

These are the instructions I wrote on the board

  • Clearly state the problem
  • Summarize the information you have heard in the video
  • Ask the group’s opinion. Is it a problem in our current education system?

Note: they talked so much that we didn’t have time to discuss all the issues. I guess this is a good thing!

Materials: here

 

Talking Avatars and Cleft Sentences? Yes, please!!!

A talking avatar + cleft sentences? Yes and yes!!! It only got better when one of the  available options was a Santa Claus. Lucky chick!

The words “artificial intelligence” have become a constant hum in the background of our teaching world. But let’s get real – AI isn’t a magic wand. It might help you capture the interest of the students the first time you use them, but if they don’t learn anything from it, the interest will quickly fade.

Playing around with AI can be a blast, but the real payoff comes when learning and enjoyment are combined. Talking avatars are not new in the class and I have been using them on and off to spice up my lessons for a long time ( remember Voki or ChatterPix)  but now…, now they have reached a new level. Our options are limitless when it comes to what we can do with them and how they can benefit students.

Let me share with you how I am going to use talking avatars with my students today.

In my C1 class, and in the last two sessions, we have been working with Cleft Sentences. Remember Cleft Sentences? Yes, those we use to emphasize or correct information.  Well, so let’s ask a Santa Claus male and a Santa Claus female to help us with an exercise on Cleft sentences. Are you in? Follow me, then.

What I did and how I did it
  • Think about your previous lesson with the specific class you are going to give the exercise to; think about things you or your students did or said and then, feed the talking avatar with some wrong information. For example:

Information to feed the talking avatar. I have highlighted the inaccurate information so that my students can create cleft sentences.

On Tuesday, Cristina, our English teacher, decided to wrap up Unit 4.  We revised Conditional sentences and then talked a bit about unusual people in our Spanish homes. Cristina invited Aisha to leave the class because he was not feeling very well. The class finished with a listening exercise.

  • Now go to  D-ID and sign up to create your talking avatar.

Note: I have gone the extra mile and used Canva.com ( I am a Canva Addict) to put together a more beautiful exercise, but don’t follow me here if you don’t feel like it. Creating the avatar should be enough.

Revising C1.1B CLEFT SENTENCES by cristina.cabal

  • Done!!!! Use the computer to display the avatar and have the students generate the cleft sentences, correcting the information.
  • Note: Although students might be tempted to correct more than one piece of wrong information at a time, instruct them not to. You want 5 cleft sentences.

For example: It was on Monday that Cristina decided to wrap up the lesson ( not on Tuesday)

More fun? Yes!!!!
  •  I created a QR code with the URL generated in D-ID of the avatar. I use this one
  • I asked students to form groups of three or four and asked one student in the group to scan the code.
  • Groups listened to the talking avatar and generated 5 cleft sentences, correcting the information.
  • The winning group is the first to get them all right. The rest of the groups will have two more minutes to complete the exercise. Add a bell for more fun – and more noise.

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Beyond Textbooks: Free TV Channels Access from all over the World

Learning a language isn’t just about grammar rules and vocabulary lists; it’s about immersing yourself in the culture and language. And what better way to do that than by tuning into TV channels from all over the world? The icing on the cake? It is free, and you don’t even need to register.

I know. I know you don’t have much time, but let me suggest a couple of situations when you might want to take advantage of this free website.

  1. While ironing: ’cause you iron, don’t you? (my son says only oldish people iron 👿 ) So, how about watching an English talk show while ironing away? Your clothes will thank you, and so will your language skills.
  2. While doing exercise: (you know, New Year’s Resolutions and so on and so forth) . Imagine watching the BBC while walking on the treadmill or striding on the elliptical. Exercising your body and your brain? That’s what I call a double win!
  3. While cooking : Forget about convenience food, so convenient btw, and pick up some yummy phrases while preparing a delicious Asturian “arroz con leche”.

I am sure you can think of more situations where this website Free Inter TV.com will effortlessly help you boost your English.

How to watch TV for free?

  • Go to Free Inter TV.com
  • Choose the country
  • Choose the category
  • choose the TV channel
  • Enjoy!!

How Parliament Works: a Listening Comprehension Activity Created by Artificial Intelligence

May is a month when many of us may feel exhausted and in need of some support with our work. As the school year draws to a close, we are often faced with a growing to-do list that can feel overwhelming. This is where the use of AI technology can come in handy, providing us, teachers, with the tools we need to simplify our workload and reduce stress. With an AI you can generate personalized listening exercises that can save time and energy and that will allow us to focus on other important tasks that require our attention.

So, here we go!!! I want to share with you this listening activity. Honestly, all I did was search for a video on YouTube and Twee.com did the rest.

Click here to see the PDF where I copied/pasted the activities generated by Twee.com. It also contains the answers; also provided by the app. Yay!!!

Step 1. Before watching the video: Working on vocabulary

I just love creating visual content so much that I couldn’t resist making some exercises a tad more engaging. I decided to get creative and combined traditional paper exercises with WordWall to bring the material to life. It was a bit of extra work, but totally worth it!

 Step 2. Students Watch the Video.

It only lasts 1:25

Step 3. The exercise: While Listening.

Are the following statements true or false?

1. Parliament only debates issues of the day.
2. The House of Commons is made up of MPs.
3. The House of Lords is made up of elected members.
4. The monarch’s role in Parliament is mainly political.
5. The Prime Minister is questioned in the House of Lords.
6. Committees in Parliament scrutinize the work of government departments.
7. Parliament doesn’t ask for input from the public.
8. Parliament only represents the views of people in London.
9. Parliament makes laws.
10. The opposition sits with the government in the House of Commons.

Step 4. After listening.

Give students the transcript with some gaps and play it again. You might have to play it twice. I am afraid I deleted too many words.

Remember, you have the PDF with all the exercises in a link above.

Relationships: A Multi-Skill Lesson Plan for C1 Students

I find it really hard to stick to the textbook every time the lesson is about Relationships. With any other lessons, about any other topics, it might be easier to be content with following the dictates of the textbook. But I think Relationships, and all sorts of ideas spring up. Not all of them are good, to be honest. But these, I have tried and tested in class. They work.

This lesson is divided into two chunks:

  1. The first part is dedicated to revising, reinforcing, and introducing new vocabulary.
  2. The second part is dedicated to honing students’ listening and speaking skills using different visual inputs: images, audio, video, and cards.

VOCABULARY

GUESSING THE TOPIC WITH A FRIENDLIER VERSION OF THE GAME HANGMAN

Students will need to guess what topic we will cover in class next, But…. There are rules to follow:

  • The class is divided into 2 teams. Each team names a spokesperson.
  • Let’s say Team 1 starts. Now, to get the chance to say a letter to solve the puzzle, they’ll have to answer a content review question.  For example: “what preposition collocates with the verb “depend”?”. After a quick discussion with the members of their group, the spokesperson will give an answer. If correct, they can suggest a letter. Whether it is a correct or incorrect guess, the turn will pass to Team B, who will get another content review question and the chance to guess a letter if the answer to the review question is correct.
  • Important: Teams can’t try to solve the puzzle until half the letters have been guessed(i.e. if the word has 14 letters, 7 must have been guessed) and only the Team playing will have this chance.
  • If they guess and fail, their turn will be skipped.

GAME: THE 15 SECONDS CROSSWORD GAME TO REVISE VOCABULARY
    • Divide the class into 2 teams.
    • Team A chooses a representative who chooses a number from the crossword puzzle, reads the description, and has 15 seconds to guess the answer with the help of their team.
    • If they guess the answer, they can continue playing until
    1. they can’t guess the word,
    2. they run out of time (remember 15 seconds) or
    3. they guess three answers in a row.

    If this happens, it is Team B’s turn.

    • The winner is the team that solves the last clue.

    In this case, the terms in the crossword were related to the “relationships”
    NOTE: (click on the top right-hand corner to enlarge the crossword)

INTRODUCING NEW VOCABULARY: PEER TEACHING AND PARTNER DISCUSSION.

More Vocabulary here. Give students some individual time to read through the vocabulary, underlining any new terms.

  • Building on the belief that ” to teach is to learn twice” (Whitman, 1998), ask students to get into groups of 4 and help each other with any vocabulary they haven’t been able to guess on their own.
  • Whole class: ask students in Group 1 which vocabulary items are still unfamiliar to them. Ask the other groups in the class to volunteer an explanation if they know. If nobody in the class knows, clarify the meaning. Continue in the same fashion with all the groups until all the vocabulary has been clarified.
  •   Work on pronunciation and then test students by giving a definition and asking them to quickly give you the term.

SPEAKING and LISTENING

MARRIAGE

SPEAKING.

Display this picture and ask students to comment on this picture. Ask:

Who do you feel more sorry for? The bride, the groom, or the mother-in-law?

 LISTENING. Why bother with marriage? Watch from 0:00- 0:34

Play the beginning of the video (0:00- 0:34) In pairs or small groups, comment on the following:

  1. What is the speaker’s view on marriage? Do you agree with his view?
  2. Are there more benefits or drawbacks to getting married in your country nowadays?
  3. What is the right age to get married in your country? And to have children?

FAMILIES: LISTENING and SPEAKING
    • Write NUCLEAR FAMILY on the board and ask students to explain what type of family a nuclear family is and what other different family types they know. Write them on the board. Ideally, they will come up with stepfamilies (also called blended families), cohabitation, extended family, lone parenting, DINKS (I know, unlikely!) and some others.
    • Time for listening.  First Listening: Play the audio once and ask students to jot down the different types of families that are mentioned (stepfamilies. Cohabitation, DINKS, lone parenting and people living alone). Write them on the board. You will probably need to add People living alone.  Second Listening: Note-taking. Form groups of 4 students and assign a different kind of family to each of them. Ask them to take notes, as their final task would be to retell the information they hear about their assigned family structure. NOTE: I have assigned cohabitation and DINKS to the same person.
    • Follow-up: ask students in their groups to comment on the strengths and weaknesses of each type of family structure

Transcript here

Types of Families de cristina.cabal

PARENTS AND THEIR OFFSPRING: SPEAKING AND LISTENING

1. LYING. Play this video where children confess the biggest lie they have told their mums, in front of their mums. Ask students to confess theirs.

2. OVERPROTECTING PARENTS.

Ask these questions

  • What is considered overprotective parenting?
  • What can overparenting do to a child?

FAMILY TRACKING APPS. Display with the OHP this article from the BBC about family tracking apps and ask them to read the first 3 paragraphs. Ask students to talk about the advantages and drawbacks for both parents and children.

SPEAKING CARDS: FINDING THE MATCHING PAIR.

Put students into groups of 3 or 4. Give each group a set of cards and ask them to place them face upon the table.  Student A begins by taking the beginning of the question (in blue) and finding the matching pair (in orange).

Student A has two minutes to express his/her opinion. Then, it is Student B’s turn.

PDF here

Relationships. Conversation questions de cristina.cabal

I know, a long lesson. But, you know, it’s better to have too much than too little.