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Soap Operas

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This is an idea adapted from my experience learning Japanese. Some teachers recommend that pupils watch TV to increase their English listening skills. Sadly, much of TV is NOT helpful to our students improving their REAL-world list ening skills. Sit-coms offer a joke-a-minute dialog which quickly loses the Hi-beginner and intermediates quickly. So what is the perfect show for our students? *Gulp* Here goes, Soap Operas. Sure, they may bore some of us (men) but they are usually a col lection of very simple plot lines, a lot of dialog, simple scenes and infrequent scene changes. And no background score to interfere with listening. Now there is a method to doing this. First, the student picks ONE Soap Opera. Second, The student VIDEO tapes the episode and simply watches it the first time. The second time, the student watches it with a pad in hand and writes down all the words he had trouble understanding, if he can't phonetically write the word, just jot down the Tape Index number and re-play it for you, the teacher. The student should see their lists of difficulty getting shorter and shorter over time (it did in my case with Japanese Dramas and my students who have done this). One of my Japanese students had the Young and The Restless down cold. He knew every charact er and plotline, and proudly announced he had finished the exercise. I told him, "pick and New Soap Opera and start again". He did and his initial lists and stops were shorter and he quickly mastered Days of Our Lives in a shorter period of time. There is a drawback to this exerecise. Some students don't like Soap Operas and really are used to watching TV for enjoyment. The point must be made that this is an active, learning exercise. This can be done at home, or as a class, but I really recommend it be done on an individual basis with motivated students. In the classroom, everybody stopping the tape would be a drawback. Having everyone do it on their own, and then bringing in "highlig hts" of problems (Remember, they wrote the Tape Index number)they had and explaining it to the class has also been alot of fun.

Name: Heinrich H. Beck, Jr.
Email: heinrich@li.net
Location: Smithtown, NY USA

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