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Sept 10, 2016

I’m just doing transcripts. My notes tend to be specific to each session and what works for Learner A won’t work for Learner B. I am very ‘inefficient’ in my teaching because I never do the same ‘lesson’ twice. Over the course of working with authentic content in 1:1 sessions, I’ve come to terms to with the fact that I just don’t believe in ‘scale’ when it comes to designing materials for learning — customized sessions *are* the best. I hope any learner who reads this page /uses these transcripts works with them independently as best they can, and then works with a tutor (or two or three) to ‘notice’ the structures, understand the vocabulary and interact with the text and the overall meaning and ideas in each video.

Aug 16, 2016

WORDPRESS — I’m on vacation and adding a backlog of videos for which I had made transcripts over the past year. WordPress has changed and now it’s a single step to upload doc files as ‘media’ and embed them in a post. That’s a huge timesaver.

VOCABULARY NOTES — I’m having second thoughts about including my notes with the transcripts because they really should be tweaked and adjusted depending on the level of the learner. I used different formats for different videos e.g. sometimes the notes on vocabulary are embedded within the text, sometimes they come before as ‘pre-reading’ vocabulary. I’ve been paying attention to what learners tell me about these notes and the vocabulary explanations (short and meaning-focused) are important. I want to offered extended notes on USAGE (collocations, synonyms, example sentences, transitive / intransitive, formal / informal (register), more characteristic of written language or spoken language, blah, blah, blah…) but I’ve learned that this works better AFTER meaning is established i.e. I do it with each person dynamically in the session rather than write tons of usage notes beforehand. It’s just too overwhelming. Short + sweet meaning-focused definitions seem to be most easily taken up. I encourage folks to use highlighting before the session to tell me which phrases / words they are still unsure about, and I build the lesson from there. As for bringing structures to learners’ attention (i.e. “English in Use”), this is probably the most valuable thing authentic videos have to offer. I almost always just customize it to the particular learner in real time. Things like energy level, mood, enthusiasm and level of engagement with the topic influence how much ‘focus on form’ is suitable / practical.

TIME STAMPS — For a one hour class, 10 minutes of video is more than enough. For intermediate level (B1), in order to extract full value from the vocabulary, the structures, to look at at least one or two stretches of connected speech and ‘notice’ prosodic features — 3 or 4 min of video is more than enough. For A2 — under a minute (with lots of repetition and recycling, listening and paraphrasing) is enough. I am trying to divide the videos in parts / segments at logical places.

Added transcript to Bombay Lunch Boxes — India (a 10 min video about the lunch box delivery service done by men on motorbikes to offices all over the country. As more women go to work, there is no one at home to make these home-cooked meal so … how’s that going to work out for family life? See the man at 8 min who says he only ever talks to his wife about her cooking so if she stops cooking, this husband wonders if they’ll ever have conservation again.)