MFLE Guide to Podcasting Part 3 – Ideas and Examples Welcome to this, the 3rd film in MFLE's short series on podcasting for teachers of languages. If you have followed the first 2 films you will now know what a podcast is and will have an understanding about why you should get started and do some podcasting with your students. In this film we are going to look at some ideas for podcasts in the MFL classroom. Rather than simply list these ideas I have collected a series of excerpts from podcasts, mainly produced by myself or my students, which hopefully will illustrate the idea. Firstly and this is where I got started you could make podcasts versions of existing (or future) vocabulary lists. This not only provides students with an audio version of the words they will come across in that unit but it is an excellent resource to help them revise vocabulary. Vocabulary Guide Podcast Idea number 2: verb and vocabulary drill. Record these to help your students learn important verbs or items of vocabulary. Why not simply record the drills as they are practised in class? Verb Drill Podcast Idea number 3: pronunciation practice. One area which is constantly difficult to work on is pronunciation. By producing a podcast of words for students you are providing them with a guide to accurate pronunciation. Pronunciation Practice podcast Number 4: Grammar explanations. This is an excellent way to assess what students have learned about a grammar topic, but also a time-cheap way to produce resources for other classes. Once you have covered a grammar topic have your students produce explanations of that topic in their own words. You'd be surprised at what they can come up with. These resources could be assessed by the class or other classes on their effectiveness. Grammar Explanation podcast Number 5: Songs and poems. If your class like to sing songs in the target language, record them or if you have a wonderful singing voice yourself record yourself. Alternatively if your students have written poems / songs why not record them and post them to your website for others to enjoy. Song / Poem Podcast Number 6: exam practice. We all have to assess student's speaking at some point. Use a podcast to support their learning, by perhaps recording model questions and answers for a speaking test. In this way pupils also get to hear the questions and hopefully will recognise them when it comes to the actual test. Exam Practice Number 7: Guided tour of local area. I have recently done this and the students quite enjoyed it. Have students script and produce an audio guided tour of an area of interest. This can be accompanied with an interactive map that speakers of the target language could download along with the podcast to guide them around Huntly. As I ran out of time when doing this I used a text to speech web site called readthewords.com to create an audio file of my students scripts. I think it
worked quite well. Guide Tour (text to speech version)
Number 8: radio shows. Pupils could produce short radio shows about the topic which they are studying, e.g. leisure interests. This gets them using the vocabulary used in that unit for a specific and creative purpose. Radio Show Number 9: Conversations with or recordings by foreign language assistant. Record your FLA (if your are lucky enough to have one) speaking about a topic in their own language. This will enable students to have access to a native speaker speaking about a topic which is currently being studied Conversations with FLA
Finally here are 2 more ideas for podcasts, but as yet I have not tried them out yet so I don't have a recorded snippet for you to listen to. Number 10: school news. Have your classes produce a regular news show about what is going on in school. This could be something small groups could work on over a period of time, with each group taking it in turns to script and present a show. Linked to this pupils could also produce a weather forecast for the local area.
Number 11: Cross curricular projects. With ACfE I am sure many of us are going to get more involved in looking at ways of working with other departments in our schools. Producing a podcast could be one of the outcomes of such a collaboration, thus creating a record of the project and showing what has been learned. So there you are 11 ideas for podcasts. Obviously you don't have to give them all a go, but as first step, choose one idea which you like the sound of. Think about how you could do it and how it would fit with your classroom practice. Think about which class you would like to experiment with first of all, then simply go for it. Don't worry about messing things up, perhaps you have students who are technically proficient and who can give you a if you are not too confident in that area. Whatever happens try to make your first podcast an enjoyable experience for both yourself and your students. Happy Podcasting.