Listen to this clip from BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour, where two speakers exchange their views on New Year’s resolutions. For questions 1-6, choose the best answer (a,b or c). You can listen to the clip twice.
You may have heard of Januhairy, Veganuary, or Dry January. They are closely related to New Year’s resolutions, those challenges or pledges people tend to make at the beginning of every new year to better themselves. They are also labelled by some as ‘fads’ (intense and widely shared enthusiasm for something, especially one that is short-lived). Other such fads arise every year, however far-fetched some of those may be.
Listen to these clips from BBC Radio Jersey The two radio hosts discuss January fads related to New Year’s resolutions. Listen to the clips (1-7) and match each of the headings below to one of the clips. Then answer the questions on the google form below. Clip #0 is only intended as an introduction (there is no heading). There is one more heading than needed. You can listen to the clips twice:
- a. both hosts had agreed on choosing this term before sharing their lists.
- b.This challenge may imply going the extra mile in your interests or abilities.
- c.This challenge may call for extra expenses.
- d. The hosts disagree about the suitability of this challenge
- e. This term is related to the Arts
- f. In his view, it’s an activity you should only take up in January.
- g. This term may have two meanings
- h. The hosts are unsure about the pronunciation of the term.
You can finally listen again and read the transcripts:
Follow-up: You can also watch this clip from the Breakfast TV show Good Morning Britain, where two commentators discuss the convenience of this sort of fads and resolutions:
You can also try this listening comprehension exercise: Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions
The mediation-in-speech paper in the EE.OO.II. in Aragón includes a cross-linguistic mediation task: students receive a text, infographic, chart…in Spanish, and they have to mediate it into the target language, in our case, English.
As we are dealing with Christmas-related topics these days in class, I thought of using two articles in Spanish around two controversial matters that have hit the headlines recently: the Nativity scene in Barcelona and the Christmas display in Vigo.
The context I provided students with is the following: These days you are hosting an Erasmus visit in your school. There are Greek, French and Turkish teachers in the group. The common language you are using is English. They have heard something about the news, but don’t really know what all the fuss is about, so they would like to know more about the subject. Help them understand what is happening, and what the controversy is all about.
These are the CV descriptors I wanted to work on:
- Relaying specific information in speech: Can explain (in Language B) the relevance of specific information found in a particular section of a long, complex text (written in Language A) (p.107).
- Facilitating pluricultural space: Can mediate effectively and naturally between members of his/her own and other communities, taking account of socio-cultural and sociolinguistic differences (p. 123).
The strategies I imagined students should be using are:
- streamlining a text
- adapting language
- linking to previous knowledge
Some possible language they can use can be found here.
After carrying out the tasks in class, I realised I could provide them with a WAGOLL (What a Good One Looks Like), a sample task which could work as a model for them to see what aspects they should have been concentrating on, and a possible mediation sample. That is why I came up with a Thinglink poster for the article on the nativity scene: First, I highlighted content and key words that I felt were relevant. Then, I took a screenshot of the text, which I uploaded to Thinglink. Then I added links with text comments, stressing what points were essential, and therefore should be mentioned, as well as some cultural points that may need explaining for the hearer to be able to get the full picture. Finally, on the microphone icon, I added a link to a recording of myself mediating the text.
Transcript of the recording here
To be honest, I am not sure this can be regarded as a ‘good’ mediation task. But hopefully, it will help students come to terms with the kind of strategies they should be using, and perhaps give them some idea of expressions they can use when faced with these tasks.
Christmas is around the corner. In the run-up to Christmas, businesses and brands release their very best ads, typically tearjerkers, to catch consumers off-guard and lure them to shop till they drop. I’m well aware of their persuasion strategies, of course. And yet, every year I find myself having a look at British Christmas ads, as they tend to be longer, and usually tell a story, which will allow me to exploit them in the classroom even further than ordinary ads. This is a selection of the ones I liked the most this year:
a rendition of Queen’s ‘Somebody to Love’ by real shopkeepers struggling to survive in the high street.
Sainsbury’s– Nicholas the Sweep
Set in Dickensian London, it showcases the story of a waif-an orphan child and chimney sweep, unfairly accused of stealing.
Resources: the ad is set in Victorian England/Dickensian London. Some related vocabulary may be useful to start with:
- What do you mean when you say that somebody is ‘rotten to the core’?
- The story is told by a 3rd-person narrator. How would you narrate the story using 1st-person narrative…
- a. from Mrs Sainsbury’s point of view?
- b. from Nicholas the sweep’s point of view?
- Imagine the story were to be published as a book. How would you retell it?
John Lewis & Waitrose– Excitable Edgar
Resources to use the ad in the classroom:
Fortnum and Mason– What’s in a Fortnum and Mason hamper? (list of traditional Christmas foods and elements in Britain)
Watch the ad and write down as many foods, gifts and Christmas traditions as you can.
Aldi-Kevin the Carrot #4 (Let Me Entertain You):
Resources to use the ad in the classroom: The Literacy Shed
Sky– ET came home for Christmas
Joules– Wallace and Gromit
Iceland supermarkets– Frozen II
M&S Christmas Food (Christmas market)
Smyths toys– If I Were a Toy
Save the Children’s Christmas Jumper Day– You may want to take part in this…
- Using ads for teaching /learning English
- Videos para el aula de inglés sobre Navidades
- How to have a British Christmas
- Spotify playlist- Christmas
- Sia- Everyday is Christmas
- Remembering the Great War and the Christmas truce- Sainsbury’s Christmas ad (2014)- good for History
- Mog’s Christmas calamity (good for literacy, storytelling)
- Xmas ads in the classroom (2016)
- Greenpeace-Iceland supermarkets banned ad (2018)
- Ten of the most well-known British Christmas ads (Anglotopia)
You can find below a collection of resources which can be used when dealing with Black Friday and consumerism:
- Black Friday-US commercial:
- Black Friday (BBC news):
How to differentiate deals from duds on Black Friday (B2):
Black Friday- consumer expert:
Black Friday online shopping and fraud: https://natalialzam.wordpress.com/2017/11/25/black-friday-online-shopping-and-fraud/
During the Easter break, I came across this post on Twitter:
So I thought that could be used as the input for a cross-linguistic mediation activity, to mediate communication, as well as the cultural and historical background involved in those Spanish idioms.
I started this padlet with those ten Spanish idioms. Then, I asked my students to give a short explanation of what they mean, intended for foreign students of Spanish. I asked them to record themselves using the Chrome extension/Android app Talk and Comment, which allows you to record short audio comments, and immediately creates a link. That way, their audio recording could be pasted as a link straight to the padlet, without having to upload their recording anywhere else and then create a link. They could also record it using any recording app, and then upload it to padlet.
Alternatively, students were also allowed to simply type a comment with their explanation.
(Open the padlet in a new window to see all the idioms)
Since the main reasons to mediate are to help the other speaker understand, to be helpful to them, and to be mindful of their needs (not those of the mediator), what I am asking from you now is: once my students have explained these idioms, can you give them feedback on how useful their mediation was? Was their explanation clear enough? Relevant enough? Please rate their mediation skills by giving them 1-5 stars. You can also type a comment providing constructive feedback under each explanation. Ideally, they should be rated by ELE students (Spanish as a Foreign Language) or non-native speakers of Spanish, but all contributions are welcome.
As you can imagine, there is no need for you to listen to every single comment on every idiom: just listen to the ones that catch your eye, or any you might see which has not received much feedback yet.
In the run-up to RND sponsors and partners filled supermarkets and British high streets with merchandise…
…and I was only too happy to oblige, by acquiring yet another red nose, and a ceramic travel mug.
So I felt terribly guilty when, first thing in the morning on RND, I woke up to this news:
There were also reactions on Twitter about the issue:
To make matters worse, RND fell on a Friday, coinciding with a Fridays for Future strike.
Anyway, I still sat down in the evening to watch the telethon live online. Needless to say, the spotlight of the evening was the sequel to Four Weddings and a Funeral, 25 years after its release. The cast includes most of the original actors and actresses, as well as Lily James and Alicia Vikander.
‘One Red Nose and a Wedding’:
Other sketches of the evening included a spoof of Mamma Mia- Here We Go Again, featuring Jennifer Saunders, Carey Mulligan (Suffragette) and comedian Miranda Hart.