How efficient are TV shows for improving listening comprehension?

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daegga
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Re: How efficient are TV shows for improving listening comprehension?

Postby daegga » Mon Jul 11, 2016 4:34 pm

Cavesa, for documentaries in German try Universum (nature and history, sometimes on http://tvthek.orf.at ) or Alpha-Centauri (astro-physics http://www.br.de/fernsehen/ard-alpha/se ... index.html ).
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reineke
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Re: How efficient are TV shows for improving listening comprehension?

Postby reineke » Thu Mar 09, 2017 3:53 pm

S is for Soaps

"A friend and former colleague, Nick Bedford, is excited about the possibilities that soap operas offer for second language learning. He himself has been watching soaps in Russian for a number of years now, clocking up literally hundreds of hours of exposure. He comments:

The thing is you get to know the characters and their voices and you can predict their answers and even pet phrases. Also there’s lots of “real-life” dialogues which are delivered in a kind of wooden way that doesn’t render it ridiculous but at the same time isn’t like trying, say, to understand ring-side banter in a Scorcese movie. There’s something satisfying about the whole activity, like you feel you’re being equipped or kitted out with useful and natural language. I know my spoken Russian is the better for it.

There is some evidence to support Nick’s enthusiasm. In a recent study of six highly proficient English learners in China (Wang 2012: 341) the researcher found that the subjects ‘attributed their progress in English language learning to an intensive watching of [English television drama] and a careful study of its dialogue.’

One of the informants reported that ‘it’s full of real dialogues, very conversational. It’s about ordinary people and their everyday life. It’s the best channel to see people living with the English language. […] It’s the most dynamic learning resource’.

The authenticity of TV drama has been validated by researchers using the tools of discourse analysis. One study, for example, compared conversational closings in textbooks with those in a New Zealand soap opera and found the latter more consistent with descriptions in the literature on conversation analysis (Grant & Starks, 2001). More recently, Al-Surmi (2012) has analysed the lexical and grammatical features of sit-coms and soap operas (the latter consisting of ten seasons of Friends), and compared the results to a corpus of natural, unscripted American conversation. Both TV genres replicated many of the characteristics of naturally-occurring talk, although sit-coms come closer than do soap operas, it seems.

kernel tvVocabulary coverage in TV programs has also been the target of some recent studies. Webb and Rodgers (2009) for example, analyzed the lexical range in a corpus of 88 television programs of a variety of genres , including soaps, and concluded that, ‘if learners knew the most frequent 3,000 word families and they watched at least an hour of television a day, there is the potential for significant incidental vocabulary learning’. Children’s programs, sit-coms and dramas were found to make fewer vocabulary demands than news or science programs, unsurprisingly.

Nick Bedford can attest to these benefits: ‘I’ve noticed that students who follow soaps – and there are a lot of them, especially people in their twenties here in Spain – whose English is way better, in all respects, than those who don’t.’

Because of this, he has started posting small 8 minute doses of the BBC Extra English soap for his students to download onto their mobile phones. ‘The results are that students – even at lower levels – are talking to me ALL the time in English outside class and they even have a kind of new-found bravado!’

The Chinese study identified a number of strategies that the six informants had in common, and which might constitute worthwhile advice to learners wishing to exploit ‘the joys of soap’:

1. Select material carefully – don’t go too far outside your comfort zone

2. Repeated viewings – just once is not enough

3. Use subtitles – first in your L1, and then in the L2

4. Take notes, e.g. vocabulary, phrases

5. Imitation – assume the ‘voice’ of your favorite character, for example

6. Practice – recycle learned vocabulary and expressions in real-life conversations, if possible

7. Share experiences, tips, transcriptions, etc with peers as part of an online study group

The beauty of soap operas, of course, is that they have in-built motivational potential: once learners are hooked they are likely to stay hooked. In this sense, they are a far remove from traditional classroom materials, which is one reason that Wang (2012: 342) adduces for their appeal:

It seems that classroom teaching materials are primarily textbook-oriented and test-driven, with the focus on form rather than meaning and on accuracy rather than communication. Such standard teaching materials lack a realistic and meaningful context and fail to deal with contemporary issues that are relevant to learners’ lives, and therefore do not help extend English learning beyond classrooms.

Nick makes a similar point:

One thing I like about the issue is how people are pro-actively sifting and appropriating the language they feel they need from soaps. There’s something picaresque about it – as if students had got tired of hanging around for teachers and course book writers and had burrowed a tunnel into the vault.

References:

Al-Surmi, M. (2012) ‘Authenticity and TV shows: A multidimensional analysis perspective, TESOL Quarterly, 46/4.

Grant, L., & Starks, D. (2001) ‘Screening appropriate teaching materials: Closings from textbooks and television soap operas’, IRAL, 39/1.

Webb, S. & Rodgers, M.P.H. (2009) ‘Vocabulary Demands of Television Programs’, Language Learning, 59/2.

Wang, D. (2012) ‘Self-directed English language learning through watching English television drama in China’, Changing English, 19/3.

Illustrations from Alexander, L.G. (1967) First Things First, Longman; O’Neill, R., Kingsbury, R., & Yeadon, T. (1971) Kernel Lessons Intermediate, Longman; and Byrne, D. (1967) Progressive Picture Compositions, Longman."

https://scottthornbury.wordpress.com/20 ... for-soaps/
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Cavesa
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Re: How efficient are TV shows for improving listening comprehension?

Postby Cavesa » Thu Mar 09, 2017 4:52 pm

reineke wrote:S
Because of this, he has started posting small 8 minute doses of the BBC Extra English soap for his students to download onto their mobile phones. ‘The results are that students – even at lower levels – are talking to me ALL the time in English outside class and they even have a kind of new-found bravado!’

The Chinese study identified a number of strategies that the six informants had in common, and which might constitute worthwhile advice to learners wishing to exploit ‘the joys of soap’:

1. Select material carefully – don’t go too far outside your comfort zone

2. Repeated viewings – just once is not enough

3. Use subtitles – first in your L1, and then in the L2

4. Take notes, e.g. vocabulary, phrases

5. Imitation – assume the ‘voice’ of your favorite character, for example

6. Practice – recycle learned vocabulary and expressions in real-life conversations, if possible

7. Share experiences, tips, transcriptions, etc with peers as part of an online study group


It's great to see things moving to the right direction in the language teaching industry. But still, not enough. As usual, they all care about intensive listening. Intensive activities on tiny bits of video dissected ad nauseam. But the vast majority of successful English learners of my generation has been listening extensively.

So, great to see at least the intensive activities more used and promoted. But I am afraid that, as usual from I've seen around the internet, it will turn into even more extensive activities bashing. There are many teachers who actively discourage their students from extensive activities. Fortunately, people don't let them, at least when it comes to English. But when it comes to other languages with less obvious tv series streaming potential, it is different.

Really, too much of the careful seletion, too much dictating to students, too much focus on subtitles and methodology, all that can kill the progress.
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Re: How efficient are TV shows for improving listening comprehension?

Postby Cola » Sat Mar 11, 2017 5:10 am

Very! I mean, listening to anything (radio, tv, film, YouTube) is helpful, but you really need to let go of wanting to have learned x amount after watching x number of episodes because it just does not work that way. You'll probably get frustrated and feel like you're not learning anything if you can't understand much, but trust me you are!

I remember when I first started learning my target language I ordered a children's movie and couldn't understand a word. Needless to say I was disappointed and overwhelmed. I kept going on anyways because I was stubborn, determined and accepted feeling like an idiot. :lol:

It didn't happen right away, but as I went on with learning and listening to different things I began to understand more and more until I could watch any children's movie without a problem. Every time I re-watched a movie I understood more, and it was like watching it again for the first time. After that came learning how to understand native speakers talking at normal speed-- but that's a different story. ;) The point is that if you keep going on learning as normal and listening to things (anything you can get your hands on) you WILL improve.
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ed_phelan
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Re: How efficient are TV shows for improving listening comprehension?

Postby ed_phelan » Mon Mar 13, 2017 3:16 pm

I believe that they can be excellent for learning more colloquial language and to gain a better understanding of native speakers' accents.
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Re: How efficient are TV shows for improving listening comprehension?

Postby DaveBee » Mon Mar 13, 2017 3:55 pm

reineke wrote:2. Repeated viewings – just once is not enough
That's a good point. And timely! I don't need to cast around for a new TV show when I finish my current fave, I can just go back to the start. :-)
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