ESL/EFL Listening sites

Check out the list of a few great websites where you can practise your listening skills. You could click on the links to reach the website you wish to visit.

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  1. TED

My all-time favourite collection of powerful real-time talks that allow the listener to practise their listening and, why not, reading skills. When you ‘explore the full library‘ you will be able to choose the ‘topics’, ‘languages’, and ‘duration’ of the videos you wish you watch. The chosen video can be downloaded for future use and the interactive transcript feature can be very useful for both students and teachers alike.

2. BBC LEARNING ENGLISH

BBC Learning English has tons of short videos that introduce vocabulary and expressions targeted for intermediate and advanced learners of the language.

3. BRITISH COUNCIL LISTEN & WATCH: audio, video and reading resources

4. ISLCOLLECTIVE: The “Internet Second Language Collective” is an international community of half a million language teachers sharing self-made language teaching materials. The materials comprise of printable worksheets (doc/docx formats) and powerpoint presentations that can be downloaded and appropriated according to how to want to use them. As a teacher, you could also upload your own teaching tips and ideas and/or resources so that fellow-teachers could benefit from them. The website has sections devoted to different languages, English, French, Portuguese, German, Spanish and Russian.

5. SCIENCE FRIDAY: Listen and watch some pretty amazing videos on and around science

6. ELLLO: English extracts spoken by different speakers from around the world. So this is perfect to practise understanding a variety of different accents.

7. ESL CYBER LISTENING LAB

8. TALK ENGLISH : listening lessons categorised by levels

9. ESL LOUNGE (Student): grammar exercises, vocabulary building, listening exercises and preparation for TOEFL, IELTS, CPE, CAE, FCE

ESL Lounge (Teachers): access to lesson plans and other teaching materials

10. INFOSQUARES: reading resources for ESL teachers and students

Infosquares (dot) com (listening): movie-based trailers as video resources for ESL teachers and students

 

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What is web 2.0?

Nanni_no bckrdEveryone seems to be using the term Web 2.0 these days without really understanding what it means.

Web 2.0 was a name suggested in 2003 during a conference brainstorming session by Dale Dougherty, a member of O’Reilly Media and since then, the name seems to have caught on and is often used synonymously with the word ‘Internet’. Tim O’Reilly has himself, on several occasions, tried to warn users from ‘defining’ the term, suggesting instead that each user feel free to appropriate the term as he/she so wishes.

So, how exactly can we understand Web 2.0? We can do so by studying its characteristics, one of which is the ability for any human being, irrespective of having received prior education in technological know-how, to create material on the web. In the early 90’s, creating something on the Internet was considered to be the privilege that solely programmers or web developers had. Today, just about any man or woman (sometimes, child) can generate content: writing down your thoughts, commenting, leaving a remark on a website, starting an online fan club, creating a wiki, etc are all representative examples. So, as it turns out, the web has become a gigantic pool of resources, which although not intentionally created for education, can be used for the purposes of education.

As a language teacher and trainer, I understand that it may be difficult for teachers to choose from among the plethora of available resources. How does one choose? How does one decide? These are  questions not easy to answer. And while we’re at it, lets not forget the golden rule of teaching: whether conventional or digital, tools are just as good as the teachers who use them.

Creative pedagogy, class management, the very presence of a teacher are irreplaceable and fundamental to great teaching. Digital tools merely add to these, making the classroom a fun place for teachers and students to be in.