Amazing moments: an easy task for getting started
One of the few difficulties to be overcome when you start podcasting with a class is the learners' reluctance to be recorded — because they're initially horrified to discover that they sound like that!
To overcome the problem, I can highly recommend the following, apart from anything else as it's super adaptable to just about any language point you want to practise. In my talk at our recent conference, I suggested "Amazing moments" as the theme.
- Have the learners write down a couple of the most amazing moments in their lives (the birth of a child, visiting Thailand, Barça winning the Champions…), to be described in a single sentence
- Pick a director (to boss people around!) and a sound technician (to operate the technology)
- Get the director to sort out 6-8 people who have interesting "amazing moments" (one moment each)
- Fire the director (seriously!) if s/he doesn't do a good job
- Rehearse, with the people saying (eg) "The birth of my daughter" (etc), with a view to recording it all in a single take
- Re-rehearse (because it's rehearsal that matters!)
- Upload to share and comment (for which I've suggested Blogger or Edmodo)
It works apart from anything else as people have to say very little (a single sentence) and because it's a collective effort, with only a very little of each learner on the recording.
The director and the sound person are important: you get more language out of podcasting if there's discussion of what has to be done, etc. If you did have anyone who really did not want to be recorded, they can also take on one of those "non-recorded" roles.
- What learners like/dislike
- What they had for breakfast
- What's wrong with school
You could obviously get higher level learners to say a lot more, but even there — initially — I'd recommend getting over that first shyness.
I'll come back to more complex, more demanding tasks in the next post.
NOTE A task like this will obviously work best if you have a digital voice recorder or a smart phone to do the recording.