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.
The following tasks deal with the topic of charities, and they integrate mediation in speaking, spoken interaction and written production/interaction. They have been designed with groups of four students in mind, but can be carried out in pairs.
The context to the tasks is the following:
Your school is going to raise money for a charity by carrying out activities involving students and teaching staff. You have been appointed as class representatives, and have to decide which charity from the appeals your class group is going to support financially.
- Mediation in speaking:
Each team member will listen to a radio appeal for a charity. They will have to take notes, and then, with these notes, be able to relay that information to the rest of team members.
This first task has been designed bearing in mind the following descriptors from the Companion Volume:
- NOTE-TAKING (LECTURES, SEMINARS, MEETINGS ETC.): Can select relevant, detailed information and arguments on complex, abstract topics from multiple spoken sources (e.g. lectures, podcasts, formal discussions and debates, interviews etc.), provided that standard language is delivered at normal speed in one of the range of accents familiar to the listener.
- PROCESSING TEXT IN SPEECH: Can summarise clearly in well-structured speech (in Language B) the main points made in complex spoken and written texts (in Language A) in fields of specialisation other than his/her own, although he/she may occasionally check particular technical concepts.
Using cooperative learning mats, students are assigned a number in their group. Then, all the number 1 students get together in the same group; all the number 2, and so on, to listen to the same clip, using their headphones and a headphone splitter:
These are the instructions:
Listen and take notes about your charity. You can listen to it twice. You will then have to report back to your team. Take notes on:
• objectives/goals of the charity
• sample problem mentioned
• what the charity has done for the individual mentioned
• how the situation has improved after the charity’s action
• what the speaker is asking of the listener
• key words related to money and charities
INPUT- AUDIO CLIPS- Taken from BBC Radio 4 charity appeals
- A. National Literacy Trust – transcript
- B. End Youth Homelessness (Michael Sheen) – transcript
- C. Theodora Children’s Charity – transcript
- D. Over the wall (Kenneth Branagh) – transcript
These appeals tend to be around 3’50”-4 minutes long, and they always have the same structure, which is ideal for students to listen to different appeals over the same amount of time, and be able to report back to their groups.
Mediation strategies to be used:
- streamlining a text
- simplifying language
- adapting language
2. Spoken interaction:
Once all the members of the team have enough information about all four charities, everyone has to argue in favour of their charity. They will have to reach an agreement at the end of their discussion.
They can prepare for 2 minutes individually, and they will discuss their views for 7 minutes.
They can use talking sticks/talking chips, to help students share the same amount of talking time.
3. Follow-up- written production: Write a leaflet for the charity of your choice, to convince the rest of students to donate money. You can use Canva or Piktochart to create it. Please remember to use persuasive language:
Listen to this news report about a new measure that Instagram is trialling in an effort to silence criticism that it has a negative effect on users’ self-esteem.
- Can you see any positive aspects of Instagram? Can you see any downsides?
- Has Instagram had any effect on society (relationships, money-making…)?
- Would you say Instagram has changed the way people see themselves? If so, to what extent?
- How different would your life be if Instagram hadn’t been developed?
- Some people don’t use email anymore, because they prefer to communicate through social media. What’s your take on this?
Desert Island Discs is a BBC Radio 4 show which has been on air since 1942. The premise behind the show is that the guest has been cast away on a desert island, and they are left with eight recordings, a luxury item and a book, all of their own choosing, together with the complete works of Shakespeare and a copy of the Bible or any other religious/philosophical book. During the show, the guest and host discuss the former’s life, while explaining the reasons why they decided on those particular tracks, book and item.
The guests tend to include world-class celebrities from the fields of culture, literature, Science, entertainment…You can access the archive on the BBC Radio 4 Desert Island Discs archive. You can find a selection of shows here (literature and music-related podcasts).
This same concept could also be used as a speaking activity for a unit on music/entertainment; to practise second conditionals; or as an ice-breaking activity on the first days of the school year, for students to get to know each other, or for teachers to get to know their students better.
- What eight recordings would you take to a desert island? Why have you chosen every one of them? How relevant are they to your life? (If you are pressed for time, ask students to pick fewer recordings- it’s a rather time-consuming decision-making process).
- What luxury item would you take and why?
- What book would you take and why?
It could even be regarded as a mediation activity: in the Companion Volume to the CEFR, mediating a text includes descriptors for expressing a personal response to creative texts (including literature) [p. 116]. In a way, the student describing their choices (the ‘guest’) would actually be mediating those songs and their lyrics to their partner (the ‘host’), as they…
- may express his/her reactions to a work, reporting his/her feelings and ideas in simple language, and say in simple language which aspects of a work especially interested him/her (A2)
- might be relating emotions they have felt to those in the song, describe the emotions he/she experienced at a certain point in a story, or explain briefly the feelings and opinions that a work provoked in him/her (B1)
- could describe his/her emotional response to a work and elaborate on the way in which it has evoked this response, or express in some detail his/her reactions to the form of expression, style and content of a work, explaining what he/she appreciated and why (B2)
- could be asked to describe in detail his/her personal interpretation of a work, outlining his/her reactions to certain features and explaining their significance (C1/C2).
Listen to some short extracts about news related to the environment. Match each extract (1 – 6) with the best heading (A – H). ONE of the headings does not correspond to any of the extracts. The first extract is an example (D- More strict regulations). You can listen to the information twice.
Check your answers by submitting them through the Google Form below (click here to open in a new tab):
You can also read the annotated transcript, to help you clarify those answers you were not very sure about.
Apparently, fans were shocked to find a Starbucks disposable coffee cup on the set of the latest Game of Thrones episode. Listen to this news report to know more about this blooper:
Annotated transcript (pay attention to the highlighted expressions)
- Do you remember other bloopers you might have seen on film or TV?
- What’s your take on the last part of the report? Would you say this blooper (or others) are intentional, or simply careless mistakes?
If you want to know how to use these expressions-typically used for emphasis-you can watch the video below:
- No sooner had I …than
- Seldom have I seen…
- Little did she know…
- Should you have any further questions do not hesitate to contact me again.
- Had I known …I wouldn’t have…
You can find examples of these inversions in such TV shows as The Crown, The Big Bang Theory, or Friends:
Not only will I drive you there
Nowhere is it specified that…
Under no circumstance will you give her that engagement ring.
- You can also find plenty of examples in the news:
Not only have I lost a friend, but we have all lost an extraordinary creative mind.
Only when the capsule has survived that (…) will people talk about success.
Only then will they be able to agree to an extension.
Never before has the Security State of Army, Police, intelligence and militias been forced to concede to the will of the people.
Scientists (…) were prepared to cool the brains, should they show (=in case they showed) any signs of consciousness. Had they done, it would have been hugely significant. (=If they had done, …)
Rarely (in one night) can both main parties have suffered such a grim set of results. [Both the Conservatives and Labour have just lost a significant amount of votes in the recent local elections, in all likelihood as a consequence of the Brexit deadlock].
(On Theresa May standing down as Prime Minister) Perhaps, had she sought compromise much, much earlier (=if she had sought/ looked for compromise…), then Mrs May’s time in Downing Street need not have ended in such disarray and failure.
(Published 10.02.2019, updated 25.05.2019)