TED Talks are a fabulous resource for ESL students because they are very versatile. I like to use them in the following ways.
1. Try a Dictation. Pick a few minutes of the talk to listen to and write down exactly what the speaker says. You can repeat the same section a few times before you check your writing. TED Talks have a transcript of exactly what the speaker said, so you can easily check your work when you are ready.
2. Respond to the Speaker. You can try to do this in writing or orally. TED Talks usually make a claim. Try to agree and support or disagree and debate the claim. It is good practice for your conversation skills. Alternatively, you can test your comprehension by trying to summarize the presentation. In either case, share your ideas with a friend to check your skills.
3. Practice Intonation. The best thing about listening to speakers is you get to hear accurate pronunciation and the rhythm of different statements. Do questions sound different than facts? Does the speaker change how fast he or she speaks? Print out a copy of the transcript to highlight the words he or she stresses or simply stop and repeat phrases to enjoy natural pronunciation.
Finally, even if you don’t attempt any of these activities, listening to TED Talks will expand your vocabulary and your understanding of the world, so it is probably worth trying.
In the last blog post, you heard a little bit about TED Talks. Now, you can experience one. Follow this link and you will see a talk by Natalie Warne where she discusses an issue she is passionate about and her decision to make a difference. Her speech is about 13 minutes.
In her speech, she uses the term “anonymous extraordinaries”. What does this term mean? What does she ask us to do? If you were going follow her advice, what would you do?
Listening is such an important skill. If you are trying to learn English, you can’t do enough of it. One of the resources I use with students is a TED Talk. Listen to my explanation of a TED Talk in the video. Do you think it sounds interesting? If you do, you can find them at www.ted.com/talks.
East Bay ESL is an English language school for adult students in the San Francisco East Bay.