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Skip to 0 minutes and 1 secondHello, and welcome to our end of Week 3 review. Well done, you've got to the halfway point of the course. Yep! Well, then, everyone. Good morning. Good afternoon. How are you? And this week, we asked you to look at the communication skills. And you all, quite rightly, identified reading and listening as receptive skills, and speaking and writing as productive skills. And Marie Christina, Ruth, and Deny rightly pointed out that receptive doesn't mean passive. And in fact, you're very active when you're reading and listening. Or at least you should be. And Ruth said that actually for her learning Japanese, listening is the most difficult skill. Because you can't stop the speaker. Yes. It is-- It's difficult to stop the speaker. Yeah.

Skip to 0 minutes and 40 secondsAnd especially if you're in-- and also, if you're watching TV or something like that, you can't pause every five minutes and replay. You'll make a movie last five years. So I think the thing, really, is to try and go for making it so that you don't worry if you don't understand every single word. And make your students feel that they don't need to worry if they don't understand every single word. And actually try to put in place strategies to try to get a vague, general understanding. Yeah, I think particularly with listening. But I think a teacher can be a source of listening as well. And I think Christine had a comment to make about that.

Skip to 1 minute and 20 secondsYeah, Christine mentioned about teachers, and teachers being careful or being sensible about the amount of language. Not so much the speed of language, the sheer volume. She talks about the blah, which I think is a really good way of describing teachers that just talk and talk and talk. And the students, they just understood one question. And the next question comes before they even a chance to answer it. Ruth actually talked about wait time, which I think is really important when you talk about teachers speaking in class. There's a kind of American thing that says, you ask a question and you say, one Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi, four Mississippi, five Mississippi. And then you speak again.

Skip to 2 minutes and 8 secondsSo the concept is waiting before you give the answer. Yeah. Or repeat the question. I think the teachers say, so what's the weather like today? What's the weather like today? What's the weather like? How is the weather? Is it sunny? And the students are still processing, trying to deal with what's the weather like today? And then they get hit by, is it sunny? And so, they haven't got the time to-- listening is really complicated. Because you have to hear what is being said, often translate it into another language. Then you have to prepare your answer, translate it into English, and then produce it. So not only is the listening complicated, but the speaking is complicated.

Skip to 2 minutes and 50 secondsSo you need to cater for that processing time. Actually, there's another course that Cambridge English has been offering, which is still open for registration, actually. Selling stuff again. Volunteering with Refugees. Of one of the participants in that course has an interesting interpretation of wait time, which she said was given by her mentor. And her mentor told her to consider, why am I talking as a teacher? Just a question. Why am I talking? And I thought that was a really interesting-- Because I think teachers often just talk to fill a space. Because they fear silence. But actually, there's nothing wrong with just, you ask the question, wait. Give them a minute to answer.

Skip to 3 minutes and 32 secondsOK, so if you're listening, give a reason for listening. Now, moving on to reading, people say, for example, you read a novel for general reading because you're skimming through it. Other people say, no, no, I read every word of a novel. So I mean, people do read things in different ways. But generally, if we just want to have an idea of a text, we will read it for general understanding. And that's called-- Gist. Gist, OK. And then, if there's something very specific that we want to know about the text. So for example, maybe I'm looking at the menu at a restaurant. Or maybe I need gluten-free food. Sure.

Skip to 4 minutes and 7 secondsSo I'm just looking down the menu to find out where the gluten-free recipes are. I have a quote from Rebecca, actually, who I think had a fantastic explanation of the difference between reading for gist and reading for detail. And how she explains this is that when you read for detail, it's important. It's important that you understand it. So she says, for example, when you make a cake, you want to bake it properly. If you don't understand all the details of information about a flight, you'll miss your flight. If you're putting furniture together from a flat pack, and you don't read the instructions properly and really carefully, your furniture won't turn out in the right shape.

Skip to 4 minutes and 48 secondsWhereas when you read for gist, it doesn't matter. It's not important. It's not life and death. The cake isn't going to burn. Or you're not going to miss your flight or something like that. It's really for pleasure. It's something that you can interpret and you can get your own ideas about. Actually, Elena had a really good example with relation to listening, rather than reading. She said, you might be in the kitchen cooking or doing something. You've got the-- listening to the radio. And they're just talking about generally what's going on in the world. You're vaguely listening. And suddenly, they announce a teacher's pay rise. And you're a teacher, so suddenly you're really listening, because when is the pay rise?

Skip to 5 minutes and 26 secondsHow much percent is it going to be of my salary? So that's a really nice example. That's a good example, good example. Yeah, absolutely. So we talked about reading a bit. Have we and we've-- Actually, one point about listening I just wanted to add. Daniel made a point. Don't make the listening too long. You can give authentic listening. And you can set a task. But I think sometimes we make the mistake of giving too long. And that's too much of a strain on the listener, especially if your language level is not very high.

Skip to 5 minutes and 53 secondsAnd if you're doing listening in class-- this is a point that Tamara and Susanna made, actually-- that if you were doing a listening comprehension in class, give them a task. Don't ever ask students, just listen. And they listen. Because they kind of, just stare out the window. You can't. You don't have the-- because they have no purpose. In real life, when we listen, we have a purpose. We listen because we want to know what the weather is going to be like tomorrow or whatever. Or it could be something just like, how many people are talking and what are they talking about? Exactly. It doesn't have to be a written task.

Skip to 6 minutes and 28 secondsJust by task, I mean a reason for listening or a reason for reading. Same applies, really, to reading. OK. So we talked about reading. We talked about listening. Shall we talk about speaking? Speaking, yeah. Now, the comment-- the most frequent comment about speaking was the fear. Everybody said that. Everyone is so frightened of speaking and don't have the confidence to speak. What can we do about that? Because I think, actually-- oh, actually, Catalin made really good suggestions. Because Catalin said, first of all, just try to make the classroom atmosphere positive. And also, there's no such thing as making a bad mistake. Mistakes are OK. And say something positive.

Skip to 7 minutes and 8 secondsIf somebody says something, maybe there's an error in the language, maybe the grammar was wrong. But you can say, that was a really good idea. So respond to the content, not the grammar. Mistakes in grammar and pronunciation can to saved up and dealt with at the end of the lesson and not kind of pointing to individuals. You can just say, here are the mistakes I heard during our conversations. And actually, the whole business of correcting-- immediate correction when students are speaking for having a conversation or dialogue or something like that. If you're always going to correct, they are never going to finish their story. And if they get accustomed as well, I mean, it doesn't make them frightened.

Skip to 7 minutes and 46 secondsBut it means that they always know they're never going to finish their story. And they are always seeking accuracy instead of fluency. Which is a weird thing to do, because actually, as native speakers, we make mistakes all the time and we don't care. We've talked, haven't we, in previous sessions-- I think in our Facebook Live session-- we talked about role play and giving preparation time for role plays to build confidence. Absolutely. And giving them a role as well, because if it's this-- if it's-- I don't know, Thomas. I'm Thomas. I'm not me. Thomas is making a mistake, not me. So it kind of takes away the fear of making mistakes.

Skip to 8 minutes and 25 secondsBut also, you know, I think often students are kind of-- particularly teenagers, it's weird to speak a foreign language in front of other people. I remember when I was learning French, I used to say, merci beaucoup. It's so funny, wasn't it? Look, I'm speaking French! Ha ha ha! And so, you need to do something about that in class. You know, you need to make it like it's normal to speak the foreign language. And often, if you can get them to work in groups and work in pairs, instead of having to stand up in front of the whole room and say something, I think that takes away the fear factor.

Skip to 8 minutes and 57 secondsOr you can use apps, can't you, to kind of practise speaking? Yeah, absolutely. On a mobile phone. You just did that before, with me. Yes, yes. Don't play it again. I won't play it. Voice memo. Voice memo, secretly. In fact, you mustn't actually record people secretly. You must always have their permission. Absolutely. Absolutely. And lots of apps. There's Vocaroo, which we-- and SpeakPipe, which we used earlier in the course. I mean, the advantage with them is you can email-- the students can email the file to you. So you can listen to it and give them some feedback on it. But otherwise, just practicing talking on your mobile phone is good, good practise. Absolutely. There's lots of opportunity now, isn't there?

Skip to 9 minutes and 35 secondsWhat about writing? Well, we haven't said a lot about writing. Someone actually advocated integrating the skills and gave the example of our course, because you read stuff, you listen, and then you write in the comment section. So lots of you have mentioned things like writing diaries or having-- maybe you've listened to something and maybe it's about, I don't know, all the plastic that's in our seas these days and the effect that's having on fish. Maybe you can write a letter to the government or put something on Facebook about, support the campaign to stop people using plastic. I mean, I think writing now-- actually, when I started teaching, it was kind of like a secondary-- nobody bothered. Because who wrote?

Skip to 10 minutes and 18 secondsNobody wrote. I mean, you wrote letters sometimes. We don't sit down and write stories in our daily life and that sort of thing. But actually, writing now is very, very important. It's much more important than ever before. We write texts. We write emails. We write-- you know, how much writing have you done today? Probably I've written the whole day today, apart from this half an hour or so that we sit here. So it's become a really important skill that learners need to have. And the different genres and the different levels of formality and all that sort of thing. So yeah, I think writing is really important now. Yeah. OK. And now, I think we've come to quote of the week.

Skip to 10 minutes and 54 secondsOh, quote of the week! I'm not ready, you do yours. I'll do my one. My one is a very short one. And my one is from Kimberley. Kimberley said, as teachers, we need to be chameleons. So we need to adjust to the level and the needs of our class. Because chameleons change colour, don't they? Yes, absolutely. So you need to change all the time. So I like that one. Yeah, my quote is from Christine, who actually, I mentioned earlier. But she says, teachers need to carefully consider their speaking pace and adjust it for their students. This does not mean talking like a demented robot, but being aware of simple messages in shorter grabs.

Skip to 11 minutes and 36 secondsThis allows students to feel that they can cope. And I think that's what we were talking about, the shorter grab. That wait time and allowing them to process. I'm going to add, actually, story of the week. Are you? OK. This week, yeah. I'll do story of the week. And this one is from Anna Chiara who lived in Glasgow for two years. And while she was there, two English friends came up from London. And they went to a restaurant and Anna had to translate for them, because they couldn't understand the local accent. And I think that says a lot, doesn't it? People have talked to us, actually, haven't they, about accents.

Skip to 12 minutes and 6 secondsMaybe next week, when we begin next week, we can talk about accents and speed of English. Because it's quite an issue that people are concerned about. I buy into the Glaswegian, I do. Anyway, bye! Oh, country profile. Country profile. I think this week, we're going to post a profile from someone from Italy. Italy, yeah! So see you next week! That's it for this week. And we'll see you at the beginning of Week 4. Yeah, bye.

Video review of Week 3

In this video, the educators look back from all around the world at some of the main talking points of this week. The video will appear here on Friday 23rd of February at about 3pm (UK time).

This week’s country profile is Italy! Find out what it’s like to work there in the ‘Downloads’ section below.

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This video is from the free online course:

Exploring the World of English Language Teaching

Cambridge Assessment English

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