Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Article 6: Listening to Themselves: Podcasting Takes Lessons Beyond the Classroom

When I first started reading this article, I wasn’t too enthusiastic about podcasts, because, as a visual learning, I always prefer having a visual element accompanying everything. However, the different rationale for using podcasts showed me that this is in fact a vehicle for teaching a very important skill. I agree that presenting information in a compelling way and selling ideas is extremely important, and that knowing others will read their work motivates students to do their best. I like that Coley makes the podcasts meaningful by making them be about course materials; in this way, students' podcasts will be heard by people other than the teacher. 

Practically, though, I'm not sure how this would work on a regular basis, since frequently asking students to do this for homework seems like it a lot of work. It might also become a source of anxiety for ESL students conscious about their accents or for those who don't like hearing their own voices. In a second-language class, however, students would be less likely to feel embarrassed since everyone would be speaking in the L2. It would also be a great formative tool since students would be able to hear themselves. Done on a regular basis, it would give a record of how their pronunciation improved over time. When thinking of their listener, however, in an FSL classroom, I'm not sure the podcasts would be as engaging as the ones Coley's class did produced, since it would be hard to add in inquiry and analysis with limited vocabulary. Instead, students could create short segments to teach a vocabulary set with music and memory aids (this would really push students to pay attention to their pronunciation). They could also create short grammar review explanations. However, I still feel that visuals are extremely important to second-language-learning and that discussing ideas via podcasts is much more likely to keep listeners' attention. To modify Coley's practice while still maintaining the distribution of student work, students in a second-language class could create screencasts. I could challenge them to synthesize grammar concepts in an interesting way, using vocal expression accompanied by visuals. If there were a way to save just the audio part of the screencasts, students would still be able to access the material on their audio devices.

No comments:

Post a Comment