For those readers who are also students at the British Council Rome, my colleague Bruce Warburton will be giving a talk on this very subject. “Making the most of the web – using the internet for self study”, presented by Bruce from 19.30-20.30 on Thursday 3rd November.
Meanwhile, this Blog also helps you make the most of the Net. Although the links on this Blog connect to all manner of web sites to help you practise your English, there is some emphasis on Listening. Today, we will look at Michael Marzio's "Real English" site.
Michael Marzio is an American teacher of English near Paris. He has created a series of video comprehension exercises at various levels. His team interviews ordinary people in the street, asking questions that range from the basic to the quite complex. We'll now have a look at Lesson 1. When you click this link, a new window will open in your browser. In this way, you can easily switch between Real English and this Blog.
Lesson 1 is ideal for students at levels A1 to A2, or levels 1 to 2 at the British Council. It is very simple: "What's your name?" In the first video you'll see, lasting 59 seconds, people in the street are asked their names. Although their names are shown on the screen, the dialogues are not.
Michael Marzio recommends that you do the exercise before you watch the videos. So click on the link marked, "Lesson 1 Exercises begin here." You will be shown the individual words making up the dialogues. You can listen to the teacher pronouncing the words. Then you can record your own voice, reading the same words. Play back your recording and compare your pronunciation with that of the teacher.
Now click on "Exercise 2a" at the top of the page. Here, you will see a very short extract from the video. Below the video you are asked to choose the expression you hear. Go on to exercise 2b.
Exercise 2b contains two parts. In the first part, you watch the video and click on the expression you hear. Then, click the 'back' button on your browser to return to the first part of exercise 2b. You can now click on the loudspeaker icon, listen to the short speech, and then record yourself saying the same words. Play back your recording to check your pronunciation and sentence stress.
In exercise 2c, you click on the video and listen to the common expression used when people greet each other.
In exercise 2d you will hear a different greeting expression. How is it different? Exercise 2d contains a link to a special explanation of this expression. It's on "The Daily English Show" video, and I suggest you watch the top version with extra subtitles. When you have finished, click the 'back' button on your browser to resume the exercises in "Real English".
Continue with the rest of the exercises. They go on to exercise 6. The whole of Real English Lesson 1 should take you about twenty minutes.
At the end, you may find it helpful to read the dialogues at the same time as you watch and listen. To do this, watch the second video on the screen. You'll see the same sequence again, with subtitles.
When you have finished, here is a very important task: take five minutes off to leave your comment, wither on the Tag Board or in the Comments section just below this post. In your comment, tell us how you found the exercises. Were they easy or difficult? Were they helpful? After doing the video exercises, did you feel that it was easier to understand people speaking?
It's important for all of us that you leave a comment, as this Blog is interactive. One of its objectives is to create a community of learners of English, no matter who or where you are.
That's all for now. Coming up: a listening comprehension exercise from the BBC's 'Learning English' site.