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Hi followers, a friend, fellow teacher and sound engineer contacted me recently about starting a podcast! Being a massive fan of the genre I jumped at the offer and we’re aiming to start in the new year. The aim is to make it something accessible for students rather than a TEFL podcast for teachers. We’d like to release a 30-minute show every two weeks. The idea would be to have short recurring segments but also longer features on specific topics and activities; some of the ideas we’ve got so far include:
- Expression of the day
- Exposure to different accents and dialects
- Interviews with near-peer role models
- Current affairs pieces
- Film/music/book reviews
- Investigative journalism
So I thought I’d throw it open to you guys, we welcome your help and suggestions. The main points we want suggestions for are:
- Content, features, recurring segements
- A name for the podcast! Can’t think of any! (We’ve already thought of Poddy McPodcastface)
All suggestions welcome!!
Love from Tim, Ben and Katy!
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This is the second in a series of lesson plans based around podcasts for high level learners (high C1+). This one is based on the first part of Words by radiolab. The link, transcript and lesson plan are below:
Proficiency Podcasts words, Lesson plan
Words Transcript – divided into sections.
Warmer – Charades
SS have to sign the following sentences:
I don’t like bananas
I love soup
I think it will rain
Where is Joan?
I went swimming yesterday.
Can I have a pen?
Was it easy? Which sentences were the easiest? Do you ever play this game with your family?
- Do you know sign language?
- How difficult is it to communicate without words?
- What’s your favourite word in your own language/English?
Listening – Radiolab, words
1st section 00:15 – 01:02
Listen and answer these questions:
- What happened to Susan? She was hit by a catering truck while riding her bike.
- What were the consequences? She had concussion and couldn’t go to school.
- How did she feel? Very bored
Listen once, ss share answers in pairs. Listen again for specific detail and language.
- How does she describe the accident? A catering truck hit me.
- How does she describe her feelings? Bored out of my mind.
Follow same sequence with each section, general comprehension questions, then listen again and clear up language problems.
2nd section 01:02 – 1:40
- What did she do? Why? Her friend suggested that she crashed classes at the local uni.
2nd listen for language.
Make a prediction in pairs:
- What happened that changed her life?
3rd section 01:40 – 2:15
- What happened? She walked into a signing class.
- What was her reaction? Mesmerised
Predict: What’s going to happen next?
4th sections 2:15 – 3:05
- What happens next? Becomes a signer.
- Where does she go? LA
- Who does she meet? A man born deaf.
5th section 3:05 – 3:50
- How does she describe the man? Beautiful, great cheekbones, black hair black eyes.
- What’s the guy’s problem? Copies everything, visual echolalia
6th section 3:50 – 4:48
- What does he realise about the guy? Has no language
- How does he think the world works? That we figure stuff out visually
7th section 4:48 – 5:07
- What questions do they ask?
- What do words do for us?
- Are they necessary?
- Can you live without them?
- Can you think without them?
- Can you dream without them?
- Can you swim without them?
Discuss these questions as a class.
Set the rest of this part of the podcast as homework with the following questions:
5:07 – 8:35
- What problems did she have teaching him? He copied everything she did, he thought everything was an order. Didn’t know how to say goodbye, didn’t know if he would come back.
- How did she make a breakthrough? Acted out the role of student and role of teacher.
- What was his reaction? He broke down in tears.
- Have you ever had to communicate without words? Why?
- How do you make yourself understood if you’re in a country where you don’t speak the language?
- Have you ever had a misunderstanding with someone in this situation?
- How much do you rely on signing and body language?
- Have you ever spoken English on the phone? What was it like?
Accuracy vs Fluency
- What’s more important accuracy or fluency when speaking?
- If you spoke extremely accurately but with no fluency what problems would you have? And vice versa.
- In what situations is it especially important to be accurate?
- In what situations is it especially important to be fluent?
- “Only teachers notice your mistakes” Do you agree?
- “As long as the errors don’t affect understanding they don’t matter” Do you agree?
- “Little mistakes will go away over time, you don’t have to focus on them.” Do you agree?
- “Confidence is more important than how much you’ve studied when speaking a foreign language” Do you agree?
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This is the first of a new series of lesson plans based around different podcasts for proficiency and post-proficiency students. They’re appropriate for high C1+.
These lesson plans work in a similar way to the Proficiency Book Club series; set the podcast as homework so that students can listen to it at their leisure and then discuss it in the following class. For this lesson plans students will need to listen to the first part of the Darkode podcast by the amazing radiolab team of Robert Krulwich and Jad Abumrad. Download the plan here:
How computer literate are you?
How often do you use a computer?
Could you live without one?
What would you lose if your computer suddenly died or was stolen?
Have you or anyone you know ever been hacked?
What do you do to stay safe online?
What happened to Ina?
Russian hackers hacked her computer and held all her files hostage for 500 dollars.
Where does she suspect the hackers are from?
Russia or the Ukraine
Why did she decide to pay?
Her husband’s tax receipts are worth more than $500.
What does she have to do?
Get $500 in bitcoins to pay the ransom
What happened when she decrypted one file?
A timer started counting down until the files would be permanently deleted.
What are bitcoins?
An unregulated, untraceable online currency.
What did she have to do to get the bitcoins?
A lot of paperwork, take a photo of her husband holding his driving licence, get in contact with coincafe.com and send them the $500 from the post office.
What different problems did she encounter?
A snowstorm, thanksgiving holiday, the change in exchange rate.
How did she overcome in the problem of the exchange rate?
Contacted her daughter in Brooklyn to get her to go to the Bitcoin ATM.
What happened next?
She paid the ransom but she was 2.5 hours late, she received a message telling her she now had t pay $1000.
How did she solve this problem?
She wrote to them in Russian explaining all the problems she had encountered and the hackers took pity on her and decrypted her files.
Who else has been a victim of cryptowall?
Police departments, universities and normal people.
How many people have been a victim of cryptowall?
What would you do it this happened to you? Would you pay?
How much are the files on your computer worth to you?
If you could save 1 file from your computer which would it be?
Here are some phrases and words taken from the podcast:
top it up/off – to refill something to the top. I topped up my wine glass.
pay a ransom – to pay a criminal to return something or someone they have taken
playdate – US, when parents meet up so that their children can play together.
speak in airquotes – to make quotation mark gestures with your fingers while speaking to show that you’re not speaking literally.
Fascinating podcasts on a wide range of topics:
Here is a link to a list of great English podcasts for higher level students: