Recently I’ve been prompting learners to use the dictaphone function of their smartphones to help them develop their listening and pronunciation. Here are a range of activities that I have found to be particularly effective.
Listen ear! Ted Talk listening & speaking activity
- Choose any Ted talk from the category 1-6 minutes and watch twice. Take notes of the key points while you are watching.
- Present the main ideas of your talk to your partner, they must take notes.
- Your partner will now give a 60 second presentation of the key points from your presentation and record this using their phones.
- You do the same with their talk.
- You both listen to the voice recordings/video, and the original Ted Talks.
This activity can help learners develop listening skills in any context. I have used it in Cambridge exam preparation classes and EAP classes.
Presentation & Cambridge Exams (speaking paper) practice
- Using the dictaphone of their smartphones learners can record part or all of their presentations or part 2 and/or 3 of the Cambridge Exams speaking paper.
- During playback learners make a list of 2-3 features they liked and disliked about their recording. This could include: pronunciation; intonation; stress; pausing; signposting; voice projection; articulation, hesitation.
- Students re-record themselves working on the features they identified they wanted to improve. Playback can be individual or in pairs for peer feedback.
- If a class IM group has been set up, students can send the recording to the teacher for on the spot feedback and pronunciation support.
Pronunciation is one of the aspects of speaking students from both my EAP and Cambridge Exam classes. My students have found this quick turn around and instant feedback strategy extremely beneficial. Here is some feedback:
- We learn to express our ideas clearly
- Each recording is easier
- The recordings make me feel more confident to speak in front of others
- I realise giving presentations is difficult
- How to control your time and speed of speaking to a time limit