Announcer: OTAN-- Outreach and Technical Assistance Network.
Announcer: On the Air-- Using and Creating Podcasts in the ESL Classroom. OTAN Technology and Distance Learning Symposium, 2020.
Grazia Mora: Thank you for being here. Our presentation is on the air, and so we'll talk about how we have used and, now, how we are creating podcasts in our ESL classes. So a little bit about ourselves. My name is Grazia. I'm an ESL instructor. We both work for California College of Communications. In that school, I, right now, teach the professional program, which is a business English class, and I have my colleague--
Celine Signorini-bakan: And my name is Celine, and the same-- I work at California College of Communication. And I teach reading, listening and speaking, and grammar writing for level 5 and 6, which are the highest level in the school.
Grazia Mora: So just a quick overview of what we'll do today-- we'll start with a quick intro of what podcasts are. I'll give you a quick overview of how we've used podcasts in our classes, and then we'll walk you through a step by step process of how we've now started creating podcasts-- or students are creating podcast.
Celine Signorini-bakan: And then we'll come to those strategies and consideration. We will see if you have questions. We will hopefully answer your questions. And don't forget to evaluate this presentation on the OTAN website.
Grazia Mora: So just to start us with-- to hear from you, just think about the questions that are here on the board on your own. Find a partner, someone who's close to you, and discuss the questions and share your answers, and then we'll have you share with the group. So just discuss what is a podcast, if you know, or have you used podcasts in your classes. If so, when?
Celine Signorini-bakan: And then what is your experience with them, and have you ever created podcasts?
Grazia Mora: So yeah, take a few moments and discuss in your tables, or with whoever's close to you, just to have an idea.
Celine Signorini-bakan: So yeah, today, it's all about creating podcasts with your students in the ESL environment, so having them creating their own.
Grazia Mora: So just a quick overview of what podcasts are--
Celine Signorini-bakan: So yeah, digital audio or video, and then it is available of an online platform. What is really important for Grazia and I is that it is authentic material. Authentic is definitely paramount for us.
Grazia Mora: So why have we decided to integrate them as part of our classes, and why are we having now students create them?
Celine Signorini-bakan: So there are a couple of differences between using in class and creating in class. They also come on grounds. So critical thinking-- when you use a podcast, it helps them to make their own judgment, knowing why does the journalist tell me that?
What does he want me to think? What does he want me to know? What is the message behind it?
Grazia Mora: And then when they create on their own, there is a lot of collaboration happening. So they work as a team to create a product that they can then showcase to the class.
Celine Signorini-bakan: When we listen, when we use in class, it is more about note taking skills. We listen, and they take notes, and then we share the notes.
Grazia Mora: And then in creating, we try to focus on more of their writing skills, so how they are writing a script that they can then record.
Celine Signorini-bakan: And it's all about topical-- sorry, stimulating topics like social issues, current issues. We talked a lot about, guess, impeachment. We talk a lot about the election coming and also international news.
Grazia Mora: And then when they create, obviously, it's more about their own creativity. So they choose the topics. They create their own. They have the autonomy on connecting to a topic that they are interested in.
Celine Signorini-bakan: And in class, actually, very often in the morning, I have maybe five or six, if we just listen, and I have them choose.
Grazia Mora: And then, obviously, communication is shared by both because they have to convey ideas both when they are discussing about it, something we used in class, or when they are creating and recording.
Celine Signorini-bakan: And then it develops their cultural awareness. Particularly in our environment, we have students coming from all around the world, so sometimes, they are shocked to see the differences between their country and the United States. So it's very nice to exchange about that as well. And it--
Grazia Mora: (Inaudible).
Celine Signorini-bakan: Sorry.
Grazia Mora: No, go ahead.
Celine Signorini-bakan: It helps them because they are here so to understand and how to behave in this country.
Grazia Mora: And then it fills motivation, because once they realize, and they know how to access podcasts on their own, they become more motivated and self driving learners who can access and practice English outside of the classroom. And the last one, obviously, it helps us be more innovative in our teaching, and it makes the environment of learning for them, as well, more unique and fun.
Celine Signorini-bakan: So how to use podcasts and then create podcasts-- so for the use in class, I mainly use NPR and PBS. I start with PBS because it's easier. They can see the images, and then NPR comes as a shock because it's much faster, so later. And I use them in my academy classes for listening and speaking. Grazia uses more for a discussion practice in her business English classes, and normally, we function with a worksheet.
We have free listening questions. It will be more about brainstorming-- what do you know about this topic? And then after that, during comprehension questions, they take notes or fill in the blanks, or we can have many different exercises. And post listening is more about the topic of the podcast, and this is where, also, critical thinking comes.
Grazia Mora: Yeah, so I'll walk you through, briefly, one example of what-- a podcast I used in the human resource management unit in the business English class I teach. The podcast title is Psychometric Tests in Recruitment. So we were talking about recruitment, and the way I built the worksheet was, like we said, with a small warmer, in this case, some discussion questions about the topic, if they've taken those tests, helps activate prior knowledge, and they become more interested in the topic.
And then we always try to have a short vocabulary section, but that's like we said, are authentic materials. So they're not created for the ESL classroom. A lot of the language that you find there is idiomatic or phrasal verbs that are very commonly used. So we identify words we think may cause problems and discuss them, pre-teach them, before they listen.
And then during the listening activity, the focus, as we said, is on note taking. For higher levels, as you see here, is more open ended questions, where they listen actively for details and take notes to answer. And the post listening saying, in this case, looks like a discussion in small groups where they, again, discuss what they learned or what was interesting.
Exactly, yes, they do, and that's how we build the worksheets, with the transcript. And again, this is based on NPR podcasts mainly-- all NPR podcasts. Very good question. Yeah, that's the strategy we use.
We basically use the transcript to create this. Yeah, and the post listening can look differently. Sometimes, we have them prepare an oral presentation based on the topic or do a small response writing. So that's what we've been doing, and we've been doing podcasts in our classes for the past two years already. So now, we realize it's a very fun activity. Students already are very familiar with how podcasts work and how to listen to them, so we decided to switch roles a little bit and have them be-- instead of just consumers of the media, be the creators of the media to enhance other types of skills in the classroom.
Celine Signorini-bakan: So we work in two different contexts. For me, it's academic program, and these podcasts we are going to talk about today is from my reading class. So it is turning a little article into podcasts. So it's an article based approach, and of course, it integrates other skills, like writing and also listening and speaking.
Grazia Mora: And then for mine, in my business English class, it's more of a research based approach, and I use it as the end of module activities. So they just choose a topic based on the unique theme, and they do research on it to create a script and then record. So we'll walk you through some of the steps.
Celine Signorini-bakan: So first, we give them a worksheet, very detailed, very developed, and after that, they have to choose an article. So we will just quickly go through that now and detail more later. With me, they choose an article.
Grazia Mora: And then for business class, like I said, it's topic based, so they choose a topic that relates to the theme.
Celine Signorini-bakan: And then they do some individual reading. They have the article. They work on their own. They work at least three times.
Grazia Mora: And for me, they start doing research on the topic they selected.
Celine Signorini-bakan: And then peer sharing.
Grazia Mora: And then for me, they do group discussion, because usually, I work in bigger groups than just peers.
Celine Signorini-bakan: And after that, we write the script, we record, and we publish.
Grazia Mora: So we'll walk you through the steps in more details.
Celine Signorini-bakan: So the first step is giving the worksheets. So the worksheet is-- I don't know-- probably three pages, something like that. It is really detailed.
Basically, it gives them a full autonomy. They have the worksheet. They know what to do, and they just follow. So clear direction, clear steps, and it's a Google Doc. They just need to make a copy, and then they work directly on their copy.
We can intervene. We can spy. We can see where they are. It is very, very convenient.
Grazia Mora: Yeah, and it provides the scaffolding they need, especially when script writing, because it's the first time they've written a script. So it gives them that guide that they need to really take autonomy of the task, but at the same time, have some guidance to know where they're going.
Celine Signorini-bakan: Yeah, and I noticed that they always want to know what comes after. If you tell them read before, it is not enough at all. They really want to know where we are going. So this is why these detail worksheet, they work really when.
And so the second step is the article selection. So I try to find articles from current events about history or-- so what I use may need is The Week. I really like it. We receive it every week at the school.
It's a compilation of articles from other newspapers, so to me, it's really reliable. And I will show you later, but you have very short articles to medium sized to quite a size to very big size articles. So you can work in very-- a lot of different ways. It's a lot of material to use, and also, once again, authentic material.
Grazia Mora: In my case, because they do have to choose a topic, it has to be in this step. The topic is related to the unit theme. To give you an example, when we were doing HR management, I gave them a list of topics that we did not discuss in class.
HR Management is a very large field, so there's a lot of things that they can explore, and they choose from a list. They have freedom of exploration because they can relate to the unit that we studied in a more personal way. And as I mentioned earlier, for me, this works as my summative assessment because it's the end of the module activity, our final project.
Celine Signorini-bakan: As for me, it is formative assessment. So we will read probably two short stories, and then after that, we have a break, and we talk about some news. And I forgot to say that-- so they are autonomous in the selection. I will choose before, but they will have-- for example, if I have five groups, I will have 10 different articles for them to choose from.
And I have short articles, so it can be about the US, and it can be about the world. And depending on the level I work with, I also have these half page article. This one is about technology. So really providing things they want to read, things they know a little about, they want to learn about-- intriguing for them.
And after that comes the reading. So they read on their own, individually, at least three times. And I insist that they have a pen, and they are active readers. Underline, put an exclamation mark really, so that when you read back, you know already a little.
And then I don't want them to make any research because I want them to focus on the material they have in these few lines. And if they go online they spend a lot of time losing themselves, and they don't bring anything back. So this is very important.
And the focus while they are reading is about the vocabulary. I insist that I really want them to try to understand the full article, and then making sense, making meanings of the word in context. And after that, of course, it's all about comprehension and critical thinking, once again. Where are we going with this article?
Grazia Mora: For my class, because it's a research based approach, in this step, they, in their small groups, assign roles. And that means they split research, so what questions they will ask and who is going to look for what information. So the focus is more on the teamwork and collaboration skills. Obviously, critical thinking because they have to, together, come up with the right questions to ask, and then researcher skills because they practice finding information in reliable sources based on the questions they came up with.
Celine Signorini-bakan: And the step number four is sharing the discussion. So I always pair them. They work two students, and they report back to each other, so to make sense together to build up the meaning.
So they collaborate. Focus is, once again, on collaboration. They share their understanding and critical thinking. What I want them to do is really share what they understood and answer the question.
It's like a ping-pong. It's very beautiful to see them work together, actually. And use dictionary if-- ultimately, if you really don't understand this word, ultimately, go to the dictionary. But it has to be an English dictionary.
Grazia Mora: And then in this step of sharing and discussion, after they do the research, here is where they report back on the research from the questions they were looking information for. So focus is on critical thinking, because when they come together, they decide on what their main argument of the topic will be, as well as agree on which content they will use from all that research that they captured, what will they pretty much use in the script writing later on. And then here, one important step is that, throughout, it's a very student centered activity. So they are really the owners of the activity, but we are facilitators. Here is one step or stage where we really come in to make sure that, before they write the script, they are going in the right direction.
For Celine, whether that's they understand the article and the topic in the right way, what type of help do they need, what challenges are they facing that we can address. And in my case, it's like, did you find enough information? Where did you find it? Are you asking the right questions about the topic?
What's your argument? What are you going to write your script about? So here's an important place where we jump into the activity.
Celine Signorini-bakan: And step five is all about writing their script. So for me, as I have different types of articles, they need to assign role. They are two, so they need two roles. So it can really be very varied.
You can have a policeman questioning a victim, questioning a perpetrator. You can have an anchor-- they pretend they are PBS or NPR-- and receiving a specialist, a scientist. The CIA was is the one we were going to listen is a work in, like, the CIA.
So it is a lot of creativity here, and so we focus on writing schemes because they need to paraphrase. I want them to use their own words. I don't want them to copy, so they really need to be creative. They collaborate in this writing.
Grazia Mora: And then they exercise their creativity because they convey their ideas in their own way. They express their feelings. Obviously, there is critical thinking because there is-- they have to think critically about who's our audience, how do we need to convey this in a clear manner to make this arguments or this story effective.
And in here is another stage where we jump in to offer support because it's writing, so we want to make sure that, before they record, there are no mistakes, that they're going in the right direction, that it sounds natural. We use a lot of Google Docs, so Google Does-- like we mentioned, the worksheet is on Google Docs. So when they write the script, it's also a shared document where we, in real time, start editing with them or giving feedback as they write.
Celine Signorini-bakan: And here, probably more for me than for Grazia, when they read an article, they will tend to ask one question, and then the specialist will answer-- blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, and give all the details, and done. So this is also where I tried to guide them to make a pingpong-- one answer one question, as when we listen to the PBS or the NPR, the authentic material.
Grazia Mora: Here's where the fun part--
Celine Signorini-bakan: The fun part, exciting part, the recording. So they use their own phone, and the focus is here on communication, speaking skills about the frequency, about their pronunciation. They are pushed to improvise, and collaboration, because when they record, they can criticize each other.
Say, oh, maybe you should see this. Maybe you should say that. Oh, I like that. And we make several recordings because we want them to forget the phone and start to have fun. And when, after a couple, they really have fun, and they start to be more natural and relaxed, and it is--
Grazia Mora: And then again, creativity comes in this stage because not only are they sometimes improvising and coming up with their own words and ideas and expressing themselves, but also after they record, when they do the sound editing, we introduce them to two tools that are optional, and they can use, which are written here. Garageband, which is the screenshot you see there-- it's for iOS, so if they have a Mac, and they want to add sound effects, they can use that. For Windows users, they can use Audacity, and sometimes, they just come up with their own sound effects, like with their voices, to make the podcasts sound a little bit more fun and realistic, like NPR or PBS at the start. So I'll just play a very short clip of two examples-- the first one, wherein some students use Garageband to add some sound effects, and the second one, an example where they created their own sound effects at the beginning.
- (IN A DEMONIC VOICE) Welcome to this podcast.
- Welcome to Punto Talks. My name is Enato, and I'll be hosting today's podcast. I'm here today with Dr. Bark, a quantum physicist from South Korea. He's a specialist in social media behavior.
- Hello, Nato. It's a pleasure being here.
[end audio playback]
Grazia Mora: So that's one for the business English class they did on social media, and then another one where they created their own sound effects at the beginning to make it more fun.
[two people mouth singing]
- Hi, my name is Marcia. Welcome to NPR News. We are here today to talk about what happens in Iran. Last January, a Ukraine International plane was shot down by the Iranian Islamic regime. Among them--
[end audio playback]
Grazia Mora: So just a clip of how they are editing and having some fun.
Celine Signorini-bakan: Yeah, and as we can hear, there is an introductory sentence, and very often, when they read the script, they completely forget about that. And they start recording, it's like, hello, who did that. And then I'm like, no, you cannot do that. You need to, you know, bring the food on a platter, I say.
Introduce your topic. Introduce your guests. We need to know what you're going to talk about. You need a little sentence to-- and it's really nice to see how they find it really-- they have a lot of fun.
Grazia Mora: Yeah.
Celine Signorini-bakan: And so last step is publishing. So I want to thank Cindy here, who--
Grazia Mora: Who learned about this as well.
Celine Signorini-bakan: At CATESOL, we went to her presentation, and we started actually building up our website during your workshop. So we used that.
Grazia Mora: And then we added this step in our podcast usage--
Celine Signorini-bakan: So I have one for each of my class. So here is the level five.
Grazia Mora: Sorry, sorry.
Celine Signorini-bakan: No problem. And so I share that-- I publish it, and we can all access this. So as you see, you have all my-- the topic I teach. And then for the reading-- so here is the one about the podcasts. They can find the worksheet here, and if they click, it opens in big, and after that, I would put only two for today.
So we can listen in the class. We can listen from this, and at home, they can also listen. So let's listen. So this is mine right now.
- This is Grazia from CACC I'm here to talk about events that happened with America plane in the air (inaudible). Today, I will interview Lucas from the CIA. Welcome to CACC podcast.
- Hello, (inaudible). Thank you for inviting me today.
- So could you explain what happened exactly?
- This week, we have recovered the bodies of two US service members who died in a plane crash in Afghanistan.
[end audio playback]
Celine Signorini-bakan: So here, we have a-- so it's from a small article, a very short one, about a plane crash in Afghanistan. So they decided, because, one, they were reporting some intelligence, said that blah, blah, blah. So they decided the rule would be one from NPR, one of the CIA. I love the way she says, "this is Lucas from the CIA."
And so they decided to cut the-- so I invite them to really have short questions and short answers. It is also easier for them, and it makes all the process more understandable when we listen.
Grazia Mora: And so having this step of publishing on a class website really helps with a lot of things. More than anything, we can do some peer editing and feedback, so we can listen as a class and discuss what's working, what's not. Maybe next time, you should think about doing this differently, or pronouncing this differently. It's very fun and motivating for them to see that their work is published and shared in the class. Yeah, and that builds that sense of pride and confidence, because they realized they were able to create a podcast, to work together and publish something.
Celine Signorini-bakan: So it might be the first--
Grazia Mora: Yeah, the ones with the sound effects was the published one, I think.
Celine Signorini-bakan: And to be honest, we haven't been doing that for a long, long time. So you can see the motorcycle on the street, and so we need to be a little more professional ourselves. We need to put them in a room far from the street, and we need-- because sometimes, you can hear a lot of movement. So we are beginners, but yeah, still, they have fun.
And so to finish, on the website, they can also-- so we can listen, and also they have the script. And can you open? Because we have time. Thank you.
So on the website they will also find, in my reading section, for example, the short stories we read. So they have, this is the PDF. If they click, they have the PDF file. This is my spreadsheet for the vocabulary, and then a YouTube link to see the biography of the writer, for example. And I do a lot, a lot of slides, for example-- because we really have time, so maybe we can just show it.
Grazia Mora: We still have strategies.
Celine Signorini-bakan: So for the writing, we have a book, but I really like when my students look at me rather than their book. And so I have slides for all my chapters, and they can access. They can review before the exams, and they really like it.
I really encourage you to use that. It's lovely. Google is just-- Google Drive is amazing. I'm a fan.
And then a few strategies and considerations to think about when you're doing that-- choosing the content is important, something you are knowledgeable about-- because if they read, and they ask you a question, you need to be able to answer-- and something you feel comfortable discussing. Also, it is important that the student interest is at stake here, so you want to have things that they really want to read and, somehow, they know a little about. Sometimes, they are not very, very into it, but when they read after that, and when you explain a little, it works. Reliable sources, and updated-- so I mainly use The Week for that. Also, there are a lot of--
Grazia Mora: Yeah, even the NPR, the podcasts that they offer, they have an article of it as well. So you can use that as the reading article before they actually--
Celine Signorini-bakan: A lot of articles on NPR, yes, every day.
Grazia Mora: And PBS, the same.
Celine Signorini-bakan: Yeah, sorry. And for me, it's a part of an ongoing lesson. If you find an article related to what you talked about-- for example, I had an entire section of the book about the aging of the workforce, and I had an article about the aging population in the United States.
So we used that, because it is about using an article to create podcasts. I'm also using podcasts in class. And also, it can be a standalone class, and for graduates, even an exam.
Grazia Mora: Yeah, for me, it's their final project, and it's a fun way of assessing their knowledge of the topic. It's Business English, and it's communication skills. So I really do assess how they convey ideas, how they research, how they understand the module-- in this case, human resources, for example. And they don't feel like it's a test because it's not a written multiple choice.
Audience: How long do you leave modules up?
Grazia Mora: One month. Every month is a different module, so at the end of each month, they do a final project. Sometimes, the final project is the podcasts. Not for every module, but for a few of them, I've already tried this.
Celine Signorini-bakan: And as for me, I think I spend, I would say, three sessions of 50 minutes, particularly the first time you do it with them, because they need to understand the process. They need to get used to it. So it's a lot of skills. We don't lose our time.
And when we're creating podcasts-- so the very important thing is to have good guidelines. So you need a solid worksheet, so that they can do some scaffolding. And the final product, if I may say, is two or three minutes long. So this is also why it's important for them to really get one question, one answer, one question, because otherwise, it is too short.
Grazia Mora: So we've mainly discussed how we use them in my business class, which is very high advanced level, and Celine's class, which is advanced and high advanced. But you can also adapt it to different levels. I used to teach level three, which is the intermediate level, and I already used-- I didn't create podcasts with them. But I used them in the class.
And rather than open ended questions, which is why I do for the note taking section with business class, for them, it was more guided notes or skeletal notes, where they just fill in the blanks with specific words or details. They had a lot of fun. And NPR can be rather fast, but this website, Online Tone Generator, is really nice because you can adapt the pace of the audio.
And it still gives its natural sound. It doesn't sound robotic. And you can adapt to two different paces, so that worked really well when I did it with level three.
And when it comes to creating podcasts, obviously like we've shown, these are long scripts that they spend time doing. But if you have a beginner level class, you may have them do a five line conversation on introducing themselves in the form of an audio and podcast that they share with the class. So it can be adapted to different levels.
As I mentioned, it's throughout a student-centered activity, because they are the ones running most of the stages and of the steps, but we are there as facilitators. So as teachers, we need to consider that our role will be very different in an activity like this. We are no longer just giving knowledge, but we are monitoring and facilitating, but letting them, themselves, be the ones who are taking charge of their learning. And it can be very rewarding, as teachers, as well, to take on that role when students are driving the learning.
Celine Signorini-bakan: To be needed. They need you. They read, and they call "teacher," and then-- "so I am not sure. Do you think it is this, or it is that?" And there is much more interaction, so, so much more in this setting.
And some other considerations about promoting meta cognition. It develops critical awareness about their own learning. It's a good way for them to do self-assessment, self-correcting, because when they hear their voice, sometimes, they're like, [gasping] not good. And also, yeah, a lot of reflection.
And also, we use a lot of Google-- oh, so Google Form. So after the activity, you can create a Google Form, and they can assess their opinion and how they did, if they think that, "I understood 50%." And so it is also interesting.
Grazia Mora: Yeah, it works like a ping-pong. They asked themselves and each other what's working, what I can do better. So throughout, you can integrate this meta cognitive strategies to have them think about how they're learning and how they are doing. And with that, it's connected to helping them also develop more pragmatic language skills not only when using them, because when you use podcast in the class, they really hear real people, real language, and real contexts, and they can start understanding or identifying discourse markers, for example, and how people have a conversation naturally.
And then when they're creating, they think about what to say and how to say it, so it sounds more natural, and it can develop those skills that help them interact in a more natural way. So it's good for both familiarizing themselves with how pragmatic language works, as well as trying to, they themselves, reflect on that and put that into practice when they record it. So sometimes, like Celine said at the beginning, when they record, they don't think about that.
Celine Signorini-bakan: Yeah, it's very dry.
Grazia Mora: They just robotically read the script off. But then with our guideline, they start realizing that it has to sound natural, and then you can go back to the podcasts you heard in class and have them reflect on how the interview goes. What are they saying that sounds more natural? Identifying, like I said, the discourse markers. What are those phrases you can use rather than just a silent period and then next question and next question, but more naturally talk about the topic?
Celine Signorini-bakan: What is funny is that they record, and instead of-- they acknowledge, they nod. So I'm like-- because they can't hear you. So these, like, what you, uh-huh, I see, hm-- all these little connectors, all these little signals that show that you are listening, you understand, and you really want to know more about the subject.
And also, I encourage them, when we talk about natural reaction, is also give your feeling. If someone tells you something horrible, be horrified and say, oh, my god, that's terrible; oh, that's great. So really trying to add these little signals, showing-- well, making it more natural.
Grazia Mora: Yeah, conveying language in a more natural way.
Celine Signorini-bakan: And once they understand that, that's where they start to have a lot of fun, because they improvise, and they are so proud of themselves after that. It's amazing.
Grazia Mora: Yeah, yeah, because textbook is usually especially for listening and speaking. They are not necessarily good for this.
Celine Signorini-bakan: It's a bit flat.
Grazia Mora: Yeah, so that's why, when we started integrating NPR and PBS, we realized it really helps them with that. And now that we've been using them for maybe six months-- so we're still learning, but we've realized that it's really helping them with that. And as you've seen throughout, we tried to use this framework of the 21st Century Four Cs, the Four Cs, throughout our activities.
Celine Signorini-bakan: So first one is Communication, because they share information. They understand, and they express their opinion. They express their repulsion. So it is a key part.
Grazia Mora: And then obviously, throughout, there is Collaboration. It's not an activity they do on their own. So whether they're reading an article and understanding it together through discussion, or they're creating a product together, it really builds community in the class. They feel like they are a team.
Celine Signorini-bakan: Yeah, and collaboration works, also, when you listen to a podcast. I didn't tell you that before because I tend to listen to podcasts every morning as a warmup waiting for everybody to be here. And of course, I don't create a worksheet every morning.
So we listen, and we make sense together. We build up the understanding of what they say, and this week, for example, I had an entire sentence from NPR. I needed 10 students to make the full sentence. So it's real collaboration, because it was so fast, and someone had one word, the second word, the third word, and up together, the full sentence was on the board.
And they like it. They demand. They want. In the morning, they're like, teacher, can we listen to a podcast?
And they say Judy, because it's PBS lady, and we listen to PBS a lot. So can we have Judy this morning? So yeah, it's really nice.
Grazia Mora: Yeah.
Celine Signorini-bakan: Judy's great. I love Judy.
Grazia Mora: And that's how that starts building critical thinking, right because you start moving beyond the reading textbook or the unique theme. They make personal connections. Especially in my class, it's been like that. They discover topics within the unit theme in a more personal way, and then they think critically about it. So it's moving us beyond the regular standard textbook-based approach, so it really helps them think beyond.
Celine Signorini-bakan: And if I may add something, it also helps them outside of the school because, as I tell them, you cannot always talk about the weather. Oh, it's nice today-- end of the conversation. You need to know a little. You need to be able to exchange, to ask questions, and it's a good--
Grazia Mora: Yeah, like, it's building awareness also, and they connect to a target culture, and then they can talk about things that are going on in their environment besides the weather. And obviously, with this new approach of having them actually create podcasts, creativity is at the forefront, because like we said, we're moving them from just consuming the media in our classes to creating the media themselves. And that really makes them 21st Century learners because it also fuels technology skills, if you think about it. They know how to use Google Docs. They know how that works. They know how to publish on our class website. They know how to record and edit.
Celine Signorini-bakan: Yeah, and share and--
Grazia Mora: So it really builds those skills that they can use outside, those even soft skills. All of these are those soft skills, and as we heard in the keynote yesterday, those are the skills that we really need to integrate in our classes, because they're not explicitly getting them in the courses. So activities such as this can really help promote those skills within the class. Yeah, and that's it. And just ending before we do some Q and A and discussion, it's a quote from some of the students in the high and the advanced group.
Celine Signorini-bakan: Yeah, they really like it because creativity, of course, and also it improves the reading skills. It's a great activity for them, and they love-- at the beginning, I'm telling you, they don't, but listen to themselves. Eventually, they get there.
Grazia Mora: Yeah, it's a hard one at first.
Celine Signorini-bakan: And then they will go-- I always tell them to use Cambridge Dictionary Online, and then by themselves, they will open Cambridge. They will listen to the pronunciation. They will repeat. It is also good for their self-learning.
Grazia Mora: Yeah, yeah, yeah, it gives them--
Celine Signorini-bakan: And it's fun, and it's different. Definitely, they had never done that before. As I said, the beginning is a little complicated, but once they know, they love it. It's a beautiful activity.
Grazia Mora: They don't realize they are being assessed. They're just having fun and creating content, but for us, it's a very great way to assess. So yeah, we invite you to try it and podcast on. It's a very fun activity to integrate.
And as you've seen, I mean, Celine integrates them in her reading class. Using them, we've mostly done in listening and speaking, but in business, it's a more integrated skills approach overall the class itself. So this really helps, like I said, with research skills and reading at the same time, summarizing, synthesizing. So all this critical higher order thinking skills for business, which they really need when they go into the workforce. So for me, it's been a very great activity to all-in-one integrate different types of skills.
Celine Signorini-bakan: And we said, we are beginners in the field. But ultimately now, we are just publishing, and they are accessible on our internal website. It's a class website, by the way. But I think that, eventually in the future, we would like to use the podcasts created by the previous quarter students to use them--
Grazia Mora: In our listening as we're talking.
Celine Signorini-bakan: Yeah, yeah, so that they have authentic ESL students material.
Grazia Mora: Yeah.
Celine Signorini-bakan: Yeah.
And as we said, even at the lowest level, they can create a little conversation that they can record. What is your name, my name is, where are you from-- very basic question. Level one, they can do that.
Grazia Mora: So at the beginning, it's that-- I think we realized, at the beginning, that the worksheet, for example, needs to be very clear. So we just had created maybe a one page guideline at first, and we realized it was challenging because the students really didn't-- especially, I would say, in the script writing stage is where they struggled. Because the worksheet just gave an overview of the task, but now we opened the script section to think of an introduction, what was the question.
So more scaffolding in the script writing really helped because it was a challenge at first. At first, they just wrote a mini essay, and they wanted to record that. But we realized it needed-- and with that, it helped us, when we use podcasts in class, to also reflect about how a podcast works.
So think about how did they-- pausing in between before they record. So how did the interviewer start the podcasts? So think about that when you're writing your script. So modeling, because at first, it was a little messy, that section of the script writing.
Celine Signorini-bakan: Organize the ideas, so you go question 1. At least, I ask them to write seven questions.
Grazia Mora: Yeah, very explicitly. It has to be this long, at least this long.
Celine Signorini-bakan: And short questions, short answers. So yeah, definitely, from one page, we went to three, for me, three pages. My mistake at the beginning was that some articles were too, hard and they were lost.
So now, I really pay attention to that-- not in terms of vocabulary, but in terms of topic. We had a very, very hard one about Germany, and I'll try it in Germany, and they were-- it was complicated because it was a lot of references in maybe seven lines. So that was definitely a bad choice, so that was my bad.
Grazia Mora: So topic selection is pretty important as a teacher. If you're doing the reading-- the article based approached, make sure--
Celine Signorini-bakan: But still, we finished it because I really sat with them, and we talked about it. And we made some drawings to, who is this guy, this guy did that, and then the consequences are here. So if you have the luxury of time, it is still possible.
Grazia Mora: Right now, it's mainly their own phones.
Celine Signorini-bakan: Yeah, voice recorder, and then they send via email.
Celine Signorini-bakan: Yeah, yeah.
Grazia Mora: And then when they do the sound editing, they can send themselves the recording from their phone to their emails and upload it to the Garageband, which is the iOS, or the Audacity platform to edit it.
Yeah, that's a great idea, moving to another platform. And YouTube is extremely common and popular among students, so it would be a nice-- another platform to access it.
Celine Signorini-bakan: So I tell them, I don't hear anything, and if I don't hear voices, you're not collaborating because collaborating means talking. So yeah, I tell them, you need to collaborate. So sometimes, it's complicated, but they get there.
And then they understand also why is it important to collaborate-- why it is important to collaborate, because, oh, I didn't understand that word. Aye, but I know. So they can exchange about vocabulary. But you're right-- sometimes, it's difficult, particularly when they don't choose their partner.
Grazia Mora: Yeah, I was going to say--
Celine Signorini-bakan: And sometimes, they are not so happy about my choice.
Audience: That's true. That a real-life skill.
Celine Signorini-bakan: Yeah, but if you see that it doesn't work, yeah, I tell them, as a, class if I still see that they bug, I go, and I talk to them, telling them that that's the purpose. It's listening and speaking. I want you to listen to your partner. I want you to speak to your partner.
Grazia Mora: So the script writing looked a little bit different. So that's where we check in and make sure that everybody is getting somewhat of the same amount of speaking, and you're the anchor. What are the questions you're asking based on the research that they collected, in my case, because it's not based on an article?
Absolutely, a script is very, very important.
Celine Signorini-bakan: Yeah, exactly, introduce-- so who are you? What is your program? Introduce your guest, and what are you going to talk about? Question 1, answer 1; question 2, answer 2.
Grazia Mora: Yeah, it's very--
Celine Signorini-bakan: And then at the end, thank the guest and-- yeah, because they forget about all that stuff.
Grazia Mora: Yeah, so because it's only internal at the moment, we just discussed it and got verbal consent. I believe that if we go through the next step of having it be distributed outside of our classroom really, we would have to have some type of waiver or consent form.
No, we are a private school, so really not-- yeah, we don't abide by any district rules. But as a school, we do have some regulations. The material may be used outside. So like I said, we are not there yet, but definitely something we've considered and thought about if we have to distribute these outside. Right now, it's pretty much the classroom only-- not even other classrooms. It's just our classroom for now.
They listen to podcasts outside because we've used them so much now for the last few years. So now, they do go outside and find nice podcasts that they can listen to at home, so it's been nice to see that. But not yet the creation.
Celine Signorini-bakan: So we talked about that, actually. Interview--
Grazia Mora: Oh, yeah, we are--
Celine Signorini-bakan: Inside the school. You go with your phone. You prepare your questions, and it should be interesting questions, not what's your name and where are you from. Something a little deeper. And walk around the school and ask the other students.
Grazia Mora: Yeah, but not yet. Maybe next year, we'll talk about that.
We told them we're thinking of now moving to having you create podcasts. And then, yeah, obviously bumps on the road at the beginning. Just, let's try it with this one page worksheet, and then kind of gradually moved.
Luckily, we are lucky that we have the same group for three months, so we were able to learn with them at the beginning why wasn't it working, and then the last month really worked well. In my case, my group stays for more than three months. So I've been really-- they already are familiar, and I've been really able to learn with them. And they know what I mean when I said the final product for this unit will be podcast. They already know how it works.
Celine Signorini-bakan: What is good somehow is that, before that, they know because I am lucky enough to have them in level five and then in level six.
Grazia Mora: That's true.
Celine Signorini-bakan: So they know podcasts. They know Judy, I'm telling you. So when we record, and it is so dry and boring, I tell them, come on, guys, Judy doesn't do that. Judy-- she's involved. She likes. She's passionate, so be passionate.
Grazia Mora: Convey your feelings.
Celine Signorini-bakan: And they know exactly what I'm talking about. So it helps to definitely work with that upstream.
So the problem is the length, but I really like the daily. It's amazing, and I tell my students to listen to it. But a podcast above four minutes, it is too long. It is too much vocabulary. It is too complicated. So this is why--
Grazia Mora: Why we stick with the NPR and PBS, because of the length.
Yeah, VOA, I think, some of our lower level teachers have used. But definitely, yeah, we--
Celine Signorini-bakan: I used it, but I really prefer PBS, definitely.
Grazia Mora: It's more challenging.
Celine Signorini-bakan: Also, I've started to listen to 60 Minutes, and I really love Anderson Cooper. So maybe it's because he's married with a French guy. I don't know. But I really like the way he speaks, and so I think I will also try to isolate this part of 60 Minutes--
Grazia Mora: And yesterday, we went to a session here actually where they talked about CNN 10, 10 minute news reports. It's a collection of different units. So maybe that's something to also implement. Yeah, I know, it's a 10 minute video, really, but it captures the news from the week or the day. I don't quite remember the date in 10 minutes.
Let's move on to the last one. So these are just our contact information. For those asking about the slides and handouts, you can follow this tiny CC, tinyurl.
Celine Signorini-bakan: And honestly, if you use that, just let us know about it. Tell us how it went.
Grazia Mora: Yeah, or any suggestions. And obviously, don't forget the evaluation for OTAN, please.
Celine Signorini-bakan: Thank you.
Grazia Mora: Yeah, that's it. Thank you very much for coming.
Speaker 2: Www.otan.us.