The fifth in a series of lesson materials
If you’re looking for audio resources featuring a wider variety of accents than is offered in most coursebooks, then YouTube is the place to go. This is the last in our series of five free downloadable lesson plans and worksheets based on YouTube clips, aimed at inspiring teachers to expose students to the full range of English accents in the world.
The four previous posts have all featured individual lesson plans for teachers to take into class. I would like to complete the series with something a bit different, by sharing details of my new ‘online school’ based almost entirely on… YouTube.
There are so many interesting videos on YouTube featuring speakers from around the world that I decided it is time to create a YouTube channel of my own, to put these videos in one place. I have created self-study worksheets and answer keys for each one, with listening comprehension and vocabulary exercises, and a section aimed at raising students’ awareness of the range of accents they might hear when using English as a Lingua Franca (which I have called International English on the videos because I think this is easier for students to understand). The lessons include a sub-titled extract from each video, with a transcript of the extract on the worksheet, and students are asked to repeat what the speaker says to try and notice any differences between their own pronunciation and the pronunciation of the speaker on the video. The My English Voice website is still in the final stages of design, but should be live in a few weeks, and this will be a place for students to search lessons by topic, level, and speakers’ first language backgrounds.
The lessons are aimed at learners, i.e. they are self-study materials for people to do at home, alone. However, teachers are most welcome to use them in class, and it would be great if you could show the site to any students who might be interested, even if you feel the worksheets are not appropriate for use in class. You can encourage people to join the My English Voice ‘community’ by liking the Facebook page, subscribing to the YouTube channel, and signing up to the newsletter for updates of new lessons here. And if they subscribe (for free) this is the kind of lesson they will receive:
- A worksheet like this…
- …which goes with a video like this…
- …and when they finish, they can check their answers with an answer key like this.
YouTube live broadcast
Feedback from students who have used the worksheets suggests that they need more motivation to actually complete them! For example, some kind of deadline. So, on Saturdays at 9.00 GMT, I am hosting YouTube live broadcast ‘chats’ where students can answer the discussion question at the end of the worksheets by typing their ideas into the chatbox.
I am also experimenting with ways to make English language learning more accessible, i.e. more affordable, by hosting speaking ‘lessons’ via Skype and YouTube live broadcast on Sundays at 9.00 GMT. The idea is that students pay the price of a cup of coffee in their country, so people pay different rates based on their currency. It works like this…
- Students message me through the Facebook page with their email address, Skype ID, and their first language (e.g. French, Farsi, Japanese, etc.).
- After they have paid, via PayPal, I match them with another student and send them the Skype ID of their ‘speaking partner’ (of a different first language background).
- They also receive an email with the lesson materials and a link to the YouTube live broadcast event.
- During the lesson, students can type questions and messages into the chat box on YouTube live broadcast to communicate with the whole class, but the speaking is done just with their partner via Skype.
- After I have demonstrated the communication exercise (i.e. an information gap activity), students call their speaking partner on Skype while I countdown the time in the YouTube chatroom.
- When the time for the speaking activity has finished, students come back to the chatroom to share their experiences of doing the activity and reflect about how successfully they communicated. We work together as a group to think of ways they could improve.
- Then there is another speaking exercise in the same way again, using Skype, and then feedback via the YouTube chat box.
The My English Voice course
As well as the YouTube lessons, My English Voice will also soon be launched as an ‘online school’ by offering a four-week Skype course in groups of three learners, all of different first language backgrounds. The first pilot course has just been completed, with a Russian speaker, Japanese speaker, and Farsi speaker. Here are a few details…
The course aims to develop learners’ speaking and listening skills in an ELF context and, as you might expect coming from one half of ELFpron, there is a strong pronunciation focus:
I would love to hear any suggestions or feedback, and watch this space for the launch of the website in the next few weeks. Happy YouTubing!