Home > The Treasure Hunt Club > No. 3 Listening and More

No. 3 Listening and More (2005年03月10日)

カテゴリー: The Treasure Hunt Club
Marcel Van Amelsvoort
(Kanagawa Prefectural College of Foreign Studies)
Hi everyone. Welcome back. Before we get started with a look at sites
that can be used for listening training, I have a few odds and ends that
I would like to go over.

First and most important, this week I would like to officially invite
you to participate in this column. OK, I know, reading the column is
participating, but I mean more *actively*. If you have any good sites
that other teachers really should know about, send the link and a brief
description of the contents and/or how you use the site to
treasurehunt@j-let.org. Please include your name and the name of the
school where you are teaching or the organization to which you belong
(and also please tell me whether of not I can include that information
in the column). Each week I’ll introduce a couple of sites recommended
by generous LET members. Over the next few months, I’m planning to
cover the skill areas of learning English: Listening, Reading, Writing,
and Speaking, so sites dealing with those areas would be most
appreciated, but any “treasure” you have to share will be very welcome.

Next, I have mentioned different search engines in the past and how
useful they can sometimes be. Well, the good people at Google are really
trying hard to keep visitors from going elsewhere. In particular, there
are two new features available from Google that you might want to begin
using right away. The first is the Google Scholar search engine
(http://scholar.google.com/). This is a search engine specifically
designed to find academic papers. It is a great resource for research.
And the other great new tool available from Google is The Picasa
Photo/Image Organizer. This piece of software organizes all (and I mean
ALL) the images on your PC, no matter where they are on your computer!
Label them. Send them by e-mail. Make files or make CD-ROMs of images.
It’s very free (English version only at the present time) and waiting
for you to download now. From the main English Google page, click on the
“more” button. On that page you’ll find the links to both Google
Scholar and the Picasa page.

The web contains an ever-increasing amount of listening material.
However, finding good material that will still be there tomorrow and is
within range of our students’ abilities is still a problem. For me,
really good web listening material must meet most of the following

1. It should be interesting.
2. It should be free.
3. It should not require extra or advanced technology or computer
literacy to access and it must load fast.
4. It should not be on sites that require registration or sites where
the listening material is hidden between the advertisements.
5. It should be stable (i.e., in the same place next week, next month,
6. There should be some sort of difficulty level label.
7. There should be vocabulary support.
8. There should be some exercises that encourage learning.

This is a pretty demanding list. I know that there are many sites with
sound features that are very interesting. Teachers who want timely
listening and have time to build the support materials can send students
to news articles, movie previews (try Yahoo) and a wealth of interviews
(my favorite site for this is Conversations With History, found at
http://globetrotter.berkeley.edu/conversations/). In this column,
however, we will aim for good listening materials especially for lower
proficiency students. Let’s see if we can find any sites to meet our
high standards.

Randall’s Cyber Listening Lounge. http://www.esl-lab.com/ This site
meets all of the criteria of our demanding list. Randall Davis, a former
resident of Japan and a magnanimous individual, built, maintains, and
continues to add to this site. There are hundreds of listening files all
with pre-listening, while-listening, and post-listening exercises, and
all arranged by difficulty level. A wide range of listening genres are
represented, including a few academic exercises, and vocabulary support
is provided, often with neat little mouse-over boxes. Simply put, this
is the best there is. Eight stars!

Repeat After Us. http://www.repeatafterus.com/ No this is not a
collection of listen-and-repeat exercises. Rather is it is a web site
that has stories for listening. It is aimed at native speakers and
organized into beginning, intermediate and advanced sections, though the
beginning level stories are difficult enough. Start at the main page and
then choose one of the categories. I think for most classes, Children’s
Stories and Stories from Around the World are most appropriate. The
recordings are often done by children and the clarity and speed are
sometimes not the best for language students, but they are all authentic.
There are also no exercises to go with the listening files (though there
are transcripts), so instructors will have to make something. Six stars!

This week’s Treasure Hunt.
I love history and use sites dealing with history whenever I can. This
column’s site deals with the struggle for voting rights in the United
States by Susan Anthony and Elizabeth Stanton. It really is a lovely
site, made to go along with a TV documentary, and I’m sure you’ll have
fun looking around. While it is not really a listening site, it does
feature narration (and some nice background music). Click on the left
side of the starting screen to start the interactive movie.

Here’s the site: http://www.pbs.org/stantonanthony/

Here are the questions:

1. Both women fought long and hard for the right for women to vote. Did
either woman ever vote herself?
2. Chapter 7 is titled “A Caged Lion.” It refers to one of the two
women. Does this term refer to Susan Anthony or Elizabeth Stanton?
3. What happened to Susan Anthony on March 13th, 1906?

[Marcel Van Amelsvoort/ Kanagawa Prefectural College of Foreign