However this “old blog” has
good archives about Real English and
and other items of interest to
ESL EFL students & teachers,
especially Real English users :-)
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Blogger has proved superior to WordPress in several ways in my opinion:
Please go to http://the-original-real-english.blogspot.com/
Concerning the most important threads from Jan 2005 – Jan 2009, please see below!
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This is the old Real English blog. The new one is here: http://the-original-real-english.blogspot.com/
I just visited Google Analytics for the very first time, and I was happily surprised to see that total unique visits to the Real English site have increased by 200% during the last 30 days. Maybe it’s because I have been doing online presentations about the site. Maybe it’s because David has generously helped me create some buzz about Real English on his popular site the EFL 2.0 Classroom. Or maybe it’s because I’ve recently begun using the English Star player, with a choice of subtitles in English, French, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese, finally enabling me to begin attracting a few visitors from those Asian countries. Probably a combination of such things.
I was intrigued, so I looked deeper: only 4% of the visitors are doing the Real English Lessons, while 27% of visitors come to this old wordpress blog, which I don’t even update regularly!
This is crazy. The best thing about the RE site is that students can actually learn English with a minimum of motivation. I spend almost all my time improving the lessons, and improving the videos for the lessons, to capture students’ interest, increase their motivation (I hope), encouraging them to get to work. But most students only look at the index type pages with videos, apparently, and go no further.
Excuse the tired adjective, but it really is fun to learn English on the RE site.
Here is a 3-step procedure I recommend, and it’s really simple:
1 – When you arrive at the Real English site, click on the “New Lessons” link. There’s a really big one in the upper right corner.
2 – From this “New Lessons” page, choose ANY lesson you like.
3 – You arrive at a Lesson index page, for example lesson 29 home. Click on “Exercise 1” or the picture under “Exercise 1”, or even the Real English logo on the left. Any of these links will bring you to Exercise 1 where the fun begins.
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Grâce à notre collaboration avec English Star (sites en anglais et en japonais), Real English utilise un nouveau lecteur video qui permet d’afficher de multiples langues en sous-titres. Le stagiaire/étudiant(e) choisit sa langue…
French Bubbles = Bulles Françaises – Qu’est-ce que c’est que les French Bubbles? Regardez la photo. Dans cette image d’un clip débutant (extraite de la leçon 2) nous voyons une exemple d’une annotation, affichées ou non selon les choix de l’utilisateur.
Cliquer sur pause lors du passage des sous-tires et les bulles. Sinon, vous n’aurez pas assez de temps pour les lire. Les personnes que vous rencontrez semblent parler vite, mais dans la réalité ils parlent à une vitesse normale.
Ecouter/regarder/lire grâce au nouveau lecteur video, et parler/comparer/lire/écrire dans les phases actives des leçons Real English, font une combinaison précieuse.
Regardons 3 photos, et ensuite nous allons manipuler une version réélle, fonctionnelle.
Voici ce que vous allez voir sur la côté gauche de l’écran. A vous de choisir!
Les sous-titres sont disponibles en anglais, français, chinois, coréen et japonais.
Dans la réalité, si votre objectif est de PARLER, il vaut beaucoup mieux NE PAS regarder des sous-titres, mêmes pas les sous-titres en anglais, pendant la PREMIERE PHASE de l’apprentissage. “Ecouter la musique” même si vous ne comprenez rien du tout! Ecoutez une dizaine de fois avant de passer aux nombreux exercices dans les leçons Real English, et avant d’utiliser le lecteur AVEC les sous-titres, et les French Bubbles (sans oublier les sous-titrtes en langue anglaise)!
Voici un clip Real English avec le lecteur d’English Star. Ceci n’est pas une photo. Vous pouvez l’essayer:
Les leçons déjà comprenant les French Bubbles et les sous-titres en anglais, français, chinois, coréen et japonais:
2 – 3 – 6 – 8a – 8b – 8c – 8d – 11 – 19 – 20 – 21 – 23 – 24
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This is my favorite Real English exercise for beginners so far this year:
simply because it REVIEWS 3 structures already covered quite well in RE lessons 3, 4, and 6, and,
while introducing nothing new for beginners, it makes the “learned material” a challenge of considerable proportions.
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The Real English lessons now include a Record function. I have found very useful places for it so far in every exercise in lessons 1 to 7, and right after I finish writing this post, I will continue this job, beginning with lesson 8 and will continue until all the many hundreds of Real English exercises include this function.
Students now will speak. “Say it!” they are reminded, every step of the way. They listen to the teacher speaking in the exercise, or the interviewer and the person answering the questions in the video, and are again reminded Say it!
They record themselves. They listen to themselves, and then they listen to the model (the “teacher audio” or the video), and then once again record themselves, in a pleasant cycle of acquisition, without forgetting to type, or click, or drag in the exercise where they are working!
Thanks to generous Open Source folk who make tools like this, we can all offer our students more and more. Check out any lesson between 1 and 7 to see it in action. Requires Java. Here’s an example of its use on the Real English site. Support is here.
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I am a member of EVO (Electronic Village Online) sponsored by the CALL Interest Section of the 40-year-old, 14,000 member TESOL organization. Every January/February there are free workshops which each last 6 weeks. It is not necessary to be a member of TESOL to participate. The sessions are all powered by volunteers, mostly Webheads, and include experts in many fields related to EFL / ESL. Last year, I helped moderate the Video workshop, and this year I am one of 318 members of a new group called Images4Education (Also a must-see http://images4education.ning.com/ )
Be sure to see the summaries of all the workshops at http://evosessions.pbwiki.com/Call_for_Participation09
This is clearly the best year for EVO workshops, with so many competent experts and facilitators taking the time necessary to do great work.
This video is my first contribution to the session I joined. One of the tasks for the first week in Images4Education is to introduce yourself and to add a few words about your general use of images for education. One member of the team of moderators had the idea of asking all participants to post a picture of the view from their window. The results show that this was a brilliant task for all of us, a pleasure for all concerned, as we see at
and so many other URLs!
This video is my way of completing this task. I could have used photos and text instead, but I had this idea…
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We need your help, and it should be a lot of fun for all of us, readers and contributors alike. What do we need? We need good questions for our interviewers! If you are not familiar with Real English questions in general, or the ones already used, check out some Real English video lessons.
I say “We need your help” instead of “I need your help” because I am blessed with true friends in several cities who are happy to interview for me. In other words, I organize the filming for Real English and I do the camera and sound work, and a small spontaneous team of close friends from College days comes together for every filming campaign. You could say that the process of getting Real English filming work done is just as spontaneous as the interviews themselves.
Therefore, the invisible team of friends is one reason why I say “we” and not “I”. Actually, the interviewers become visible in the “About” video (which needs updating) on the RE site. The other reason for “we” is another very close friend who hosts Real English on his servers in New Jersey, USA. We are very tight.
Who prepares the questions before we begin asking them? I usually do, but only after getting approval from the interviewer(s). I get good criticism from them and sometimes half of the questions are changed, eliminated, or replaced. The interviewer knows what will “work” in his or her mind. (S)he’s the man.
So – finally, to participate in this contest, imagine you are the interviewer. Write a list of 10 questions for people we will meet on the street soon in south Miami Beach, Florida, USA (SoBe). We’re going to Miami because it’s warm there in the winter, and easier to film, easier for people to stop and talk, and my favorite interviever lives in Sobe in the winter.
On the other hand, speaking about the weather, it is intereresting to note that the majority of British Passersby stopped to speak with us just as easily in the rain (!), on Westminster Bridge, on cold, horrible, windy days. New Yorkers haven’t hesitated to stop to speak with us either, in front of the 5th Ave library, even in very cold & windy conditions, during February campaings.
So, to get back to the point: The best entry will receive the complete set of 3 Real English DVD’s with the Workbooks and Instructor’s Guide in the form of PDF and Word files that you can print out, AND the 3 Real English CD-ROM’s.
Do you use Real English with your students? Have you noticed that we have not covered some of the basic grammar structures? There are many which are missing. Just one example off the top of my head, “there is” and “there are” are never used.
Don’t forget that the interviewer will ask your questions, or at least some of them, on the street when we meet passersby who agree to sign our release form (almost everybody we approach agrees).
Try to put yourself in 2 sets of shoes at the same time, the interviewer who must engage the people we meet with something interesting. At the same time, imagine yourself as the English teacher using the questions and answers with your students. What do they need that we have not done yet? There are lots of possibilities!
Come on, give it a try!
To enter the contest, write 5 to 10 questions right here in the comments box.
Your first 3 Questions can be (if you like):
1 – Hello. how are you?
2 – What’s your name?
3 – Where are you from?
+ your additional questions.
Remember, we try to interview two people at the same time, so the interviewees can also ask each other questions if you write your questions in a certain way. We will also be on a busy street where we can see other people… (Are you getting some ideas?) Good luck!
I almost forgot: if you’re not familiar with Real English questions in general, or the ones already used, please check out a Lesson page such as http://tinyurl.com/63ow59
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December 28, 2008 – Listen to Michael Coughlin’s new song (click on play above).
Michael wrote on the Webheads YG:
“For ages I’ve wanted to write a song about being a webhead and I’ve finally had a first go at it… It’s pretty raw at the moment as I recorded it straight on to my PC using Audacity and a standard PC mic. Later in the (southern) summer I’ll record a better version of it.
A very happy holiday season to you all,
It sounds great to me right now. I can’t wait to hear the 120 track version!
I already told Michael I hear a Tom Petty influence (an obvious compliment), but I didn’t mention that he’s definitely singing not only my kind of music, but also the music of my generation, and I wonder what the youngsters amongst us think of the musical aspect, the composition, as it were, as opposed to the lyrics?
The mp3 file is on this Wikispace, in case you want to download Michael’s song like I did.
Webheads – all over the world
Webheads – we’re all over the world
24/7 – we’re online
It doesn’t really matter – whatever the time
Someone’s there to answer the CALL
You want to know how to do it right
Or maybe you’re lonely in the middle of the night
Someone’s there to answer your CALL
You want to join your class up across the world
Or you want an expert to talk to them live
Someone will answer your CALL
You’re going on a journey to a foreign land
Want to meet a friend there to show you around
There’ll be someone there to answer your CALL
Learning together – sharing our views
Living together – sharing our news
Always someone there – on the same wavelength
By Michael Coghlan
I updated an Introduction to the Webheads for those of you unfamiliar with us.
Who are the Webheads? What do they do?
Founded by Vance Stevens, “Webheads in Action” is the most active online community involved with computer mediated communication in the field of English as a Second or Foreign Language. Members from nearly every country on the planet are represented. Its 700+ active members represent the most robust online manifestation of the 40-year-old, 14,000 member TESOL organization. There are so many links and so much information on the internet about and by the Webheads, that it all seems a bit mind-boggling at first. In my opinion, the best way to get started is to subscribe to the main Webheads Yahoo Group and lurk for a few days to get a feel of the daily life of this community. You will find beginners and experts on various topics all mixed up in one exciting thread after another. It’s also a very tight, caring group. Friendships run deep amongst members, so you will find almost as many personal messages as professional ones, which seems a bit strange to those who are familiar with more traditional forums. Don’t sign up if your aim is to promote a certain product or service. You probably won’t be blocked or removed in such a case, but you will be ignored. This is a place for serious self-help and professional development, with mutual sharing of resources and ideas, the more experienced always helping out the less experienced in any particular specialization, whether it be a question concerning Web 2.0 places of interest or how best to use software in the classroom… A large percentage of members are ESL/EFL teachers, perhaps nearly half of them native speakers of English.
So if you’re a teacher interested in discovery, experimentation, and self-improvement in the realm of computer mediated communication, this is definitely a community you will want to explore.
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American Sign Language and English as a Second Language
– Closed Caption Videos Used in a Mixed Class for the Deaf and Hearing
I was really happy to hear from Sandie Linn, Associate Professor at the Centre City Continuing Education campus of the San Diego Community College District. She called me out of the blue.
“Because approximately half of my students are Deaf, I only use videos that have closed captions,” she said. “When I visited the Real English website this summer, I got very excited.”
So I was indeed happy that I had put in the time to create versions of my videos with precise English subtitles. I hadn’t ever thought about the Deaf. I was thinking about “ordinary” learners of English as a Second or Foreign Language, who seem to appreciate the English subtitles. The results, so far, are here. Two years ago, several deaf students enrolled in Sandie’s class, which includes Vocational Adult Basic Education instruction and English as a Second Language.
Word soon got out that her class was user-friendly for the Deaf and hard of hearing, and the number of Deaf students increased. Sandie immediately became aware that she was going to have to take some classes for her own development – in American Sign Language – in order to ensure that her classes would be a success. She started taking ASL classes at Mesa College, also in San Diego.”In the classroom, hearing students have been observed making an effort communicating with Deaf students, and vice versa, employing combinations of sign language and written communication.”
Sandie explained a bit about the class dynamics: “The basic question that the students view on each Real English video can be addressed by all students, even those students at the lowest levels. The complexity of the answers will vary, as the more advanced students will be required to give more complex answers on the Real English supplemental worksheets.”
Accompanied by two of her deaf students, ESL Professor Sandie Linn learns ASL with interpreter David Janisch.
I asked her about the fundamentals of her situation, wondering at first IF and HOW the Hearing and Deaf students worked together in the same class. “Yes,” she replied, “I teach Deaf and hearing students in the same class. The beauty of your videos is that because they are closed captioned, the Deaf students can participate as fully as the hearing students. The simplicity of the questions allows the hearing students to ask the Deaf students the question in American Sign Language. While English is the language I use to teach the class, I incorporate ASL into every lesson.”
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