Home > The Treasure Hunt Club > No. 6 Speaking

No. 6 Speaking (2005年06月10日)

カテゴリー: The Treasure Hunt Club
Marcel Van Amelsvoort
(Kanagawa Prefectural College of Foreign Studies)
Hello and welcome back. This month's topic is speaking. At first thought,
using the web to teach speaking sounds like a case of the wrong tool for
the job. Most speaking textbooks rely heavily on dialogues and other
written or audio examples of spoken language. And we all know that
Speaking class should give students a chance to be exposed to the
discourse, grammar and vocabulary of the spoken language; it should give
them some guidance in making the sounds of the language; and above all,
it should give students opportunities to speak, to try to make their own
meaning, and to gain fluency. So what can the web do? Well, the web can
be a rich resource for materials for speaking. It can help give students
content to talk about. This content can then be used to allow for
practice with the vocabulary, grammar and discourse that we are teaching.
It can also be a source of pronunciation practice for students, and
materials to help teachers with pronunciation training in class.

For pronunciation, I like to use short scenes from movies which I ask
students to reproduce. However, occasionally I like to let students work
with minimal pairs or other activities that focus on individual sounds.
Okanagan College has an interesting site. Students can go here to
listen to minimal pairs and even try some dictations(they need a
Shockwave player). http://international.ouc.bc.ca/pronunciation/

Teachers who would like to demonstrate pronunciation for classes can use
the wonderful Flash animations found at
http://www.uiowa.edu/~acadtech/phonetics/about.html (Click on Launch
the English Library). If you have both Flash and Quicktime installed,
you can also see and hear example words being pronounced.

For just a list of those sometimes-hard-to-come-up-with minimal pairs,
there's a nice one here.

But the web is really a fantastic resource not for how to say something,
but rather for what to say. That is, the web is a rich source students
and teachers can both use to get things to talk about. A few months ago
I mentioned using short, weird news stories in a Reading and Discussion
class. I was not amazed at the attraction of these stories, but I was
amazed at the amount of discussion they generated as students talked
about hearing the stories or similar stories and their reactions to them.
Here are three picks that can be used to help with conversations about
images, music, and movies.

Flickr, is a site that collects unusual pictures. I found that many of
them could be printed out and used in class. Pairs of students could try
to come up with an explanation for the picture or predictions of what
will happen next. http://blog.flickr.com/flickrblog/2005/05/index.html

Allmusic is a site that collects information about all kinds of popular
music, well popular in the US anyway. There is information about bands
and CDs and singles and much much more. Students could use this site as
a resource in making presentations. I once had students introduce a song
they liked in class before actually playing the song, an activity that
would have gone much better if I had known about this site at the time!

Similarly, presentations or discussions about movies can be aided by the
next two sites. Roger Ebert is very famous movie review in the US. He
has his own site where he posts his reviews (5000 in all!) and answers
questions about movies. The One-minute Reviews sections are nice short
reviews of popular movies that are more accessible for students than
regular full-length reviews, I think.

The Internet Movie Database is exactly that, a huge database about
movies. You can find everything connected to movies. For each movie,
there is also a plot summary (or plot keywords that could be used in
telling the story by students), memorable quotes (where you can find
some really nice mini dialogues transcribed from the movie), and much,
much more. A great resource. http://www.imdb.com/

This week’s Treasure Hunt.
For this week’s treasure hunt, I’d like you to fill in the blank in a
conversation from a movie. I watched Kinsey recently, a great movie
about a sex researcher at the Indiana University in the 1940s and 50s.
His books and his courses were shocking at the time. The dialogue here
happens in his course on sexuality when he asks a question to one of the
female students. See if you can find the answer and complete Kinsey’s
classroom joke.

Here’s the site: http://www.imdb.com/

Here is the dialog with the blank space:
Kinsey: Who can tell me which part of the human body can enlarge a
hundred times? Miss?
Female student: I'm sure I don't know. And you have no right to ask me
such a question in a mixed class.
Kinsey: I was referring to __________, young lady.

[Marcel Van Amelsvoort/ Kanagawa Prefectural College of Foreign