I am currently working on four projects.
Jungle Listening: Survival Tips for Fast Speech
Jungle Listening: Survival tips for fast speech are classroom materials (being piloted in 2016) which focus on the fastest messiest bits of speech. The pilot version of Jungle Listening consists of ten units which aim to make students (B2 upwards) familiar and comfortable with the unruliness and messiness of fast speech. They are currently being piloted in Poland, in the Czech Republic and in France. Each of the ten activities focuses on a key phrase (e.g. ‘where there were’) which is spoken at a variety of speeds. Students do vocal gymnastics at slow (Greenhouse), medium (Garden) and fast (Jungle) speeds. Every activity is designed to make them feel at home with the extremes of speed in the stream of speech.
Syllabus for Listening: Decoding the Stream of Speech
I am writing Syllabus for Listening for teachers, course designers and textbook authors. It focuses on the information and skills required by teachers to help students decode the sound substance of speech. It includes information about
- the range of soundshapes that words have in addition to the citation form
- the processes that create the different sound shapes
- the rhythmic patterns of normal everyday speech
It also contains a range of suggestions for teachers to use in preparing listening classes, and activities to use in the classroom with students.
Sonocent – AudioNotetaker
I am a big fan, and avid user, of Sonocent’s AudioNotetaker. I first came across it in 2012, and wrote about it in the final chapter of my book, Phonology for Listening.
What makes AudioNotetaker so attractive is that it enables me to have images, text, and audio side by side in the same view. Great. But even better is the fact that the audio is presented in pause-defined chunks, and I can assign each chunk a colour code. I can move the audio around (copy, cut and paste as well as colour code) and edit it pretty much as easily as I can edit text. And I can have the equivalent of four components of any textbook side by side in the same view: Images, Teacher’s book instructions, Student book text, and audio chunks.
Limericks for Pronunciation
A number of authors make good use of Limericks to teach pronunciation. I have been doing it for years in my teaching, most recently using Sonocent’s AudioNotetaker (see here), but below is an early demonstration using Flash. The aim is to practise making the contrast between the ‘sheep’ and ‘ship’ vowels accurately, and to practise at different speeds. The idea is to give learners something memorable which they can practise first on their mobile device/computer and which they can then repeat to themselves as they walk, drive, take a shower (or exercise on a running machine in a gym).
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to know more.