Hello, everybody, and welcome to our end of week three review. We’re at the halfway point of the course now, so it’s all downhill from now on. So well done for sticking with the course. Hi, everyone. Welcome. And yeah, halfway through. Gone quick, hasn’t it? It has gone very quickly. And it’s been a busy week. Been a very busy week. We began by asking you what the communication skills are, and you quite rightly said, reading, writing, listening, speaking. But a lot of people pointed out that communication is also about facial expression. It’s about gesture. Some very interesting comments there, and that your gestures, for example, might be different from culture to culture.
John Miranda posted a link to a series of books, which are about different countries and the culture of different cultures. Oh, interesting. We’ve got the link at the bottom of the steps for you to look at. Thanks, John. So I mean, I haven’t read them myself, but as John said, it’s worth taking a look. Yeah. And I think actually the whole business of the nonlinguistic or paralinguistic features of communication, like gestures and facial expressions, is one of the things that makes listening probably the most difficult, well, one of the most difficult of the skills really. I think I had a comment from Melvin, who is learning Brazilian Portuguese, and he says that listening is the most difficult.
And of course, the reason is that with reading, you’ve got the text and the text doesn’t go away, so you can keep going back. But when you’re talking to somebody, and you’re listening, you can’t just keep saying, pardon? Because then they’ll just think you’re an idiot. So you know. If it’s a recording, you can rewind. You can rewind, but not real communication. Yeah. So I think it’s more helpful when you have those gestures than when you have a recording when you’re doing listening practise. And also, if you are speaking to someone and you can see that they’re not understanding, you can adjust maybe what you’re saying and adapt to it. Yeah, absolutely.
But Jill, I think, pointed out that the reason that listening is so difficult is that when we speak, we join the words together. That’s right. She says, in natural speech, every word isn’t enunciated in the way it’s written. When learners are learning a new language, the contractions, dropping of sounds, et cetera, can make it difficult for learners. And I think that’s really, really important. And I think it’s something actually that teachers should grasp and be aware of. I think I was telling you the story earlier about a student I had who came to class and said, Marie Therese, Marie Therese, what is nenny? Is nenny? I said, I don’t think I’ve heard is nenny. I said, tell me the context.
She said, my land lady this morning said, there isn’t any, there isn’t any. So what is nenny? There isn’t any. And she thought there is nenny. What is nenny? She made a noun out of something. And that’s a good example actually, because we talk about words being joined together, but sometimes, you just miss out sounds altogether. Absolutely. You don’t pronounce the t at all. Yeah. So it’s like one word, five, six words jumbled into one. And as I said, I think teachers should embrace this. And in class, you should do specific activities.
So you know, you do an activity where you read out sentences in natural pronunciation, and the students have to listen and write, say how many words they hear or how many words they think there are. Yeah. That’s a really nice concept. Yeah. And they love it actually, because it’s one of the things that brings them closer to understanding what native speakers are saying. Yeah. So yeah, great. But if you’re doing an extended piece of listening rather than just listening to sentences, there are things that you need to do. And Tatiana, in step 3.5, had a lovely summary of strategies that you can use for that. Setting a task. Most important.
So for example, predicting what’s going to be in the discussion. And also providing a focus. Listen for this, this, and this. Yeah. And then things like maybe some difficult terminology or idioms maybe teaching that upfront. Yeah. So that people– don’t become unstuck She mentioned visual support. Very important. So especially for if you’re differentiating. If you’ve got learners maybe who aren’t so good at this thing. You can give them a framework, and they fill in information rather than writing a whole list of questions. The grid or something, yeah. And she also mentioned choosing the right lengths for the level of the class. So don’t give a beginner learner three minutes of listening. And generally listening long.
I mean, some course books have listenings that go on for like 10 minutes. It’s just too long. Yeah. But especially when you think you might have to play it three times. Yeah. Uta mentioned that context was very important. Gaithi mentioned exposure. So exposure to lots and lots of listening help. But I think the point about context, that leads up on to reading, doesn’t it? Because in reading, there’s always a context. You’re either reading a novel or a newspaper. And I see you’ve brought a newspaper along today. I have, because– Andy why have you done that? Well, I love that people were talking about scanning and skimming and reading for gist and reading for detail.
And there’s quite a lot of confusion actually, even amongst experienced teachers about what those terms actually mean. Yeah. So I thought we’d do a little example. And I brought you an article from today’s paper, because I know about the World Cup, everybody. You know, England. I’m not English, and I’m having to support them. But they– [INTERPOSING VOICES] Actually, yeah. I’m looking at the headline here, and it’s very clever. It says, World Cup hitch to best laid wedding plans. And to get hitched is to get married. Yeah, it’s to get married. And a hitch is a– A blip. –a problem. That’s a really clever headline, but I don’t know what it’s about. OK.
So I’m going to ask you to read it very, very quickly. So what you’re doing here is gist reading. I don’t want you to read every detail. I just want you to read it and tell me what’s the big problem. All right, what’s the big problem? OK.
The big problem is that people get married at 3 o’clock on a Saturday afternoon, very popular time to get married in the UK. And the World Cup match with England, I presume, is on at 3 o’clock. Oh, OK. So there’s going to be a huge dilemma. And there’s somebody here, I just caught somebody talking about he’s best man at wedding. OK, very good. OK. OK, so that was gist reading, right? That’s the kind of overview or the global understanding of the test. Now, I want you to do some scan reading. So you mentioned that there’s a guy there that’s getting married or something and he has to make a speech. No. He’s the best man.
He has to make a speech. Look at the text and find his name. OK. He was somewhere near the end. And his name is Jordan Brown. Great. So that’s scan reading. OK? Looking for one piece of information. You’re looking for a number or a name or a time. And what time’s the football? The football’s at 3 o’clock. That testing memory. That was testing my memory. No. I got distracted, because somebody else called Gary Snow, who’s the groom, going to be a groom, the man getting married, and he said, my own wedding clashes with the big game on Saturday. What have I done? That’s not a good start. Is it? That’s not a good start at all. No.
The other thing also that we wanted to talk about a bit is how you would exploit the text, the reading text, like that in class. You’d do gist, and then you’d do reading for detail, but how you would then convert that into another, or extend it into a reading or into speaking or a writing activity. Yeah. That’s fantastic. I mean, one idea that’s coming to my mind is that you could all have to write an email giving your excuse why you couldn’t do something at 3 o’clock on Saturday. So you have an appointment at 3 o’clock, but you want to watch the football game instead? Yeah. Or I’ve got to take the dog to the vet.
That’d be your excuse, wouldn’t it? Yeah. Great. So we best talk about speaking, haven’t we? Yeah. The most common comment about speaking was the fear of speaking. Yeah. I said earlier that listening is the most difficult skill, but it isn’t actually. Speaking is. Speaking is the most difficult, isn’t’ it, for some people. Yeah. We had a comment from John who says, I think the biggest challenge is the fear of being wrong along with the fear of being embarrassed about being wrong. And I think that is so true, especially to speaking. Yeah. Svetlana and PaiQuin said that you have to get used to losing face.
Now, how are you going to get used to losing fact and it not mattering at all is if you have a classroom environment that is very supportive. Yeah. And Svetlana mentioned that. And I think actually somebody mentioned actually the opposite happened to her. She had one teacher– Oh, that was– That was Banumati Yeah. And she said she was doing fine. She was confident. And then she changed teacher. And the next teacher didn’t help her gain her confidence or keep her confidence. Because? Because she was over corrected. Absolutely. I think that one of the things to make people more confident and also to make them more fluent is to deal with this business of constant correction. Yeah. Mistakes are fine.
Mistakes are learning things. Mistakes are good. Mistakes are good. Aren’t they? Yeah. So– So we were going to do an example of what happens with over correcting. OK. So, Monica, what did you do at the weekend? Weekend, I go Lincoln. At, at the weekend. At– At the weekend. At weekend. At the weekend. At– At the weekend. At the week. At the weekend. At the week end. At the weekend. At the weekend. Yes, good. I go Lincoln. No. I went to Lincoln. Oh, at weekend, I went Lincoln. I went to Lincoln. OK. I think we’ve made the point. And also, I mean, how long would it take for you to tell me what you did at Lincoln?
I don’t want to know. I know about the weekend. OK. We exaggerated there, but you get the point. So over correcting, not good. So I think we better do more quotes of the week. And actually, I chose Svetlana who said, a pleasant classroom environment that shows students that it’s just fine to make mistakes is a must. And I kind of misread that at first. I thought it was making mistakes is a must, which is true. And Andrew said, actually, you learn through making mistakes. Absolutely. But I have to introduce a quote that’s not from the course. It’s by Samuel Beckett, who’s an Irish playwright. Yeah. And he said, ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.
So you know, don’t get despondent. You have to. Trial and error is how most learning takes place. Yeah, absolutely. And your quote of the week? My quote of the week is from Iza, who actually posted a quote in week one. This is a quote from week one. We have people that are still starting the course now. People are still joining, aren’t they? And joining the course now, so I thought it would be nice to go back to some of the early ones and respond and so on. And so Iza said, if you’re not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you’re determined to learn, no one can stop you. That’s fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. Yeah. Yeah. So– Finally?
Next week? Next week, we’re going to go on to language. That’s right. But also, we didn’t talk about the profile, the country profile for this week. Exactly. Our country profile is going to be Italy. Coming back to Europe. We had China last week, and now we’re back to Europe. Yep. And so see you next week. See you next week. And well done for getting this far and keep going.