The wonderful StoryCorps stories on NPR are great pieces to read and listen to on the radio. They also have converted a number of them into short video animations, and many of them (though not the one I’ve embedded below) are closed-captioned.
Here is one of my favorites — with the late, great Studs Terkel:
More importantly, though, it’s the first English Central video that I’m embedding in my blog. It’s easy to do, and I just learned it was possible through David Deubelbeiss’ blog — check out his post with screenshots.
For leaders, listening is a central competence for success. At its core, listening is connecting. Your ability to understand the true spirit of a message as it is intended to be communicated, and demonstrate your understanding, is paramount in forming connections and leading effectively. This is why, in 2010, General Electric—long considered the preeminent company for producing leaders—redefined what it seeks in its leaders. Now it places “listening” among the most desirable traits in potential leaders. Indeed, GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt has said that “humble listening” is among the top four characteristics in leaders.
Excellent Post On The Different “Levels” Of Listening
Several other parts of their site are equally as good, but I’m not adding it to that list because they include YouTube videos. I only include sites that most students can use on their own in that “The Best…” list and, since YouTube is blocked by most schools for student use, I can’t include them in that list. However, it has prompted me to think about creating a comparable “all-time” list for useful teacher sites. In our district, teachers can access YouTube, so these following pages are excellent to use in a whole class lesson using a computer projector. They have short video clips along with lots of interactive reinforcement exercises (students could use them at home, too):
As regular readers know, ever since I discovered them, I’ve believed Henny Jellema’s online TPR Exercises to be not only the best listening exercises for English Language Learners on the Web, but the best ELL activity — period.
Well, I don’t know how I missed it before, but has a number of other similar activities that are just as good:
Lyrics Gaps lets you choose a song and the language you want it sung in and then gives you the option of seeing/hearing it in different modes — karaoke, beginner, intermediate, expert. Apart from karaoke mode, you’re then shown a YouTube video of the singer, along with the lyrics on the side including blanks (fill-in-the-gap).
I especially like the beginner mode, which provides several options to chose to complete the sentences. The higher levels don’t give any hints.
Dictogloss is primarily a listening and writing activity used with English Language Learners. It can certainly be done a number of different ways but, very simply-put, the teacher reads a short text, often one students are familiar with. Then, after the first time of just listening, the teacher reads it again and students write down notes of what they have heard. Next, the teacher reads it a third time and, again, the student writes down additional notes. The student then compares his/her notes with another student’s notes and they work together to develop an accurate reconstruction of the text — one that is not necessarily the exact wording, but that demonstrates its meaning accurately. Finally, the teacher reads it again and students judge how well they did.
Again, there are many variations on how to implement this engaging instructional strategy.
Here are few of the best resources that I’ve found on using the dictogloss strategy. They include reproducibles, research on its effectiveness, and examples of how its used in different classrooms:
You can now create your own “mashups” of their clips. In other words, you can search for a certain them — let’s say, cooking — and put the clips related to cooking together and save them. Instead of searching for the ones you want on the site, you have them all set-up in a row.
Even better, it appears they plan on providing the ability to “trim” the clips just to the portions you want. It says “trim” right now, but it doesn’t appear to work (at least for me). Their search system for the Mashups appears to have a few kinks in it, too, because everytime I searched for something I got the message “Sorry, No results.” Then, when I clicked “Search again with less restrictions” all the results I wanted showed-up.
I’m sure these are just the typical problems of new service. But the usefulness of these mashups are worth the temporary inconvenience.
You might want to read the TechCrunch post that shares more information about future site plans.
Years ago I went to a couple of conferences that had incredibly talented people “take notes” about what was happening at the conference. They did it by rapidly drawing/summarizing the important points on huge pieces of paper taped on the wall. I found it quite mesmerizing, and would often just watch what they were doing instead of who was speaking (in the same way that I sometimes just watch the amazing interpreters for the deaf at entertainment events).
I was able to find some absolutely amazing video examples of this method that made some academic talks incredibly accessible, including one from Daniel Pink talking about his book, Drive. I’ve written a lot about Pink and his research on motivation.
Lyrics Training looks like a neat new website using music and lyrics to help people learn English. You can read more information about it at The English Blog.
The big problem, however, is that it appears they only use YouTube videos, which pretty much makes it inaccessible to most schools in the United States (since most content filters block YouTube). Because of that, I won’t be it on The Best Music Websites For Learning English.
Too bad they don’t “rebrand” their videos like some other websites so they can be accessible.
I’ve posted about E-Learning For Kids in the past, but I recently learned they changed the url address that will give English Language Learners free access to math, science, health, and language games and activities.