I discovered TED.com from a student who walked into my classroom one day and asked me whether we could watch a 20 minute video in English related to the unit we were studying on technology at the end of the lesson. I am so pleased I said yes as the wealth of content on TED.com and the amount of further videos I have used in my lessons since that moment have been priceless. Infact, as an aside I started watching the TEDtalks for my own interest and joined the TEDcommunity. But back to Academic listening and TEDtalks.
TEDtalks are a maximum of 18 minute lecture style listenings which make them perfect for the EAP setting. Despite TED originally standing for Technology, Entertainment and Design, they now cover almost every topic imaginable by an impressive array of speakers. They come with English subtitles or no subtitles options as well as other language subtitle options. They have an interactive tape transcript that learners can refer to while listening or post listening, or that you can refer to create class study content.
Examples of use in the learning environment:
Video 1: Technology: Guided Notetaking:
Video 2: Post Reading Extension for discussion on uses of the Internet: A choir as big as the Internet
Video 3: Lecture Note-Takeing: Svante Paabo: DNA Clues to our inner neanderthal
Video 4: Identification of argument by the presenter:
Video 5: Vocab recognition for brain unit:Jill Bolte Taylor\’s Powerful Stroke of Insight
Post watching ideas:
1-there are comments posted under each video which learners can read and these can act as a springboard for classroom discussion/debate.
2-Also the videos can be used as a great resource for presentation skills and delivery.
3-Response writing and discussion. These videos usually create a response.
The ideas mentioned above are just the tip of the iceberg. You can use them for lead-ins, follow ups, reviews, fillers, fluency listenings. They are a very versitile and engaging resource.
A Bonus: TEDconversations
Another great feature of the site is TEDconversations which is free for anyone to join. You can find me there. Members can post academic style questions and the exciting part is that people actually respond and discuss. For learners this can encourage them to engage actively in an authentic way in English. If they are not ready to post their own question, they could post a response to someone elses. This, however, needs preparation in the classroom and they often ask for help to edit their work before they post, which actually brings some authenticity into the drafting, writing, editing and publishing cycle that is often missing when writing only remains bewteen the learner and the teacher.