The Moth can be a useful resource for students, especially those who live or work in the United States, because it can expose students to regional accents and cultural attitudes of the United States. Here are a few ways I encourage students to use The Moth.
1. Record Unfamiliar Words or Phrases. Since most of the participants in The Moth are native English speakers communicating with other native English speakers, you will hear a wide breadth of words and phrases. Taking notes on new words and looking them up in a dictionary (or, for slang, on urbandictionary.com) can expand your vocabulary and introduce you to words people really use.
2. Create Questions for the Speaker. Even though you can’t speak with them, you can practice your small talk skills by creating imaginary questions for them. In social situations, people often tell stories about their life. If might be difficult for you to come up with questions or related stories on the spot, so you can practice that skill with The Moth. Imagine what questions you could ask to keep the conversation going.
3. Summarize the Story. Summarizing is a skill you can’t practice enough. What was important in the story? What was a turning point? What lesson does the story teach? Don’t repeat phrases directly from the story. Rather, try to paraphrase. Share your summary with another student and see if you agree.
All three activities can help you improve your English, but don’t forget to listen to the stories for pleasure as well!
East Bay ESL is an English language school for adult students in the San Francisco East Bay.