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Working on Reading and Listening


Part One: What should I read or listen to?

To learn any language it is important both to read and to listen so that you can understand, elaborate the way the language works and hear how it sounds. If you can hear the way people use language you will be able to produce that language too. So listening and copying the way people speak can be very helpful. What you read and listen to depends a lot on:
  1. your interests
  2. your level
If you can only understand two or three words out of thirty, what you are reading or listening to is probably too difficult. Choose something else. If you can understand most of the text but a few words are difficult this is the right level for you.

You should read something you are interested in too. There is a lot of information around. You can choose magazines like "The Economist" online for example and they often have podcasts too for you to listen to.

The Economist
There are various links for this such as:
http://www.britishcouncil.org/central.htm
or if you have iTunes:
itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/ the- economist/id151230264
These are podcasts that I found particularly interested but you need to be at a B2 level to understand them.

The BBC
This language learning site developed by the BBC is very good and has material at different levels.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/
You can read news articles and listen to the audio files for them and there are exercises to do too. You can also listen to podcasts such as:
6 MInute English ( B1 level+) You can download both the script and the audio file so it is very useful.
There is even a "soap" called "Then Flatmates" that you can follow.

The British Council
The British Council also has an excellent online learning site with materials. You can choose from the magazine articles or stories and poems. (Just go to the home page and then choose one of the tabs under the top bar.) They provide the scripts and audio versions and exercises as well. Oh, and there is a soap on this site too.
There is also a version of this site for young learners

Macmillan's Global English
This site includes complete lessons for teachers but with worksheets that can be used by you, the learner as well. Sometimes the lessons are based on articles and sometimes videos or audio files. Browse the archives to find a topic you are interested in and then download the lesson plan.
http://www.macmillanglobal.com/

Breaking News English

.This is a good site with complete lessons on topics that are in the news (B2 level+) You can download the whole lesson and they include both the script and the audio files.
They even have a widget that you can add to your iphone etc. so that you can subscribe to their lessons.


Of course.... there is a lot more on the Internet and in bookshops too. But I suggest starting with one of the above sites. Remember not to try to do too much. One article a week would be a fantastic help to your English.

Part Two: What should I do when I read and listen?

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1. First of all you should read or listen to something you find interesting because that will make you think.
2. If you choose an activity from a site that provides exercises then you can do these.
3. You can work alone or with a friend. Small study groups of 3 or 4 learners, where one person chooses the material every week work well.
4. You can Read and listen for the ideas and information first
5. Then read or listen again and look at interesting language or phrases you like and want to remember. (TIP: Better phrases than single words as you will remember which words go together in this way.)
6. Extend the work by discussing ideas (in English) with other learners, just experimenting with the language will help your confidence without worrying too much about error (at this stage).
7. If you want to you can write a summary or a blog entry. You can do this privately or if you are feeling really brave you can write it here (see the discussions thread at the top of this page) or even on the blogs on the Internet sites above.
8. You can ask your teacher for ideas.


Discussion

You can also go to the discussion section at the top of this page and tell us any more ideas or interesting sites yu have found. Podcasts are a wonderful resource and you can listen to them anywhere. So make your English fun, just one more interesting part of your day.

The above was originally published April 1, 2011 at http://hartlelearning.wordpress.com/2011/04/01/aducating-not-educating-new-ways-of-learning-for-a-new-world/
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Learners looking for information autonomously
Learners looking for information autonomously
Teach them to seek for themselves
Hi everyone,
Hope you’re doing well and enjoying the first days of spring which are emerging with sunlight and budding plants despite all the horror that seems to surround us, or bombard us constantly from the news. Anyway, the only answer, I think, is to carry on doing the best you can, little by little, in an attempt to do something worthwhile, so here are my thoughts on teaching and learning for this week. As you probably know I’ve launched out into distance learning and have been experimenting with online classes at WizIQ, an excellent site that I would wholeheartedly recommend to anyone interested in this field.
Aducating not educating
After doing a few lessons, and attending other lessons online, and in the light of Salman Kahn’s inspiring TED talk on Kahn Academy and what people are accomplishing as a result (see video link at the bottom of this post), I have begun to think that we are in the middle of the next revolution where we are no longer going to be educators but are becoming “aducators”. In the past educators aimed to help learners to “interiorise” information and skills, by memorising or by elaborating and exploring, but in our world memorising input which is provided for you by teachers is no longer necessary because we are surrounded by information sources. In an aducation system we would be leading learners to those information sources and helping them to learn how to use them, how to distinguish between what is banal or simply wrong, and what is enrichening and thought provoking, we, as aducators, would be using our skills and background knowledge to help a new generation of learners process, elaborate and explore information, in a fruitful positive way, so that they are empwered and can learn to think and draw conclusions for themselves, and, as a result… dare I say it, learn.
I had already begun to think along these lines after listening to Gavin Dudeney at the Iatefl Conference in Cardiff 2009, when he talked about Google and Wikipedia, and how we can teach learners to eplore these resources. His common sense ideas, to my surprise, were met with quite a lot of resistance from educators in the audience, and I have heard of people who ban the use of Wikipedia for research purposes. This, to my mind, is throwing the baby out with the bath water, as Wikipedia is an excellent starting point for learners to begin their searches.
In short, the world is changing and we can choose to change with it, and use our expertise to help our learners discover theirs. So, I will stop here and let you follow the links and form your own opinions.
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