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Listening: Series

Level: Intermediate

Skill: Listening and Speaking

Purpose: To learn how to talk about a procedure – something with ordered steps, such as cooking a meal or weaving a basket, which you have observed or helped to do. The goal is first to understand a procedural text, then to tell one.

Note: As with the Shared Experience technique, the idea here is that it is much easier to understand someone talking about a procedure you have observed yourself or participated in. You already know what happened; you need to learn how people describe what happened.

What to do:

Step 1: Observe or take part in a procedure. Ask your Language Helper (LH) to show you how to do something people in the culture commonly do, such as preparing a meal, weaving a basket, or changing a tire.  It should be something with steps that are done in a set order. For example, you don’t put a cake in the oven before you add the eggs! Take pictures of each step in the process.

Step 2: Make a recording. After you’ve finished the procedure, ask your LH to talk about each of the steps. If you’ve taken pictures, have the LH look at the pictures and record what he is doing in each step. Afterwards, ask him to talk about the whole process in connected speech.

Step 3: Fill in the blanks. Listen to the recording with your LH, while looking at the pictures. Ask questions about anything you don’t understand.

Step 4: Listen again. Listen to the recording later by yourself, looking at the pictures. Listen several times, noticing different things:  intonation, new vocabulary ,the words that introduce each new step,  words that show the relative timing of each step: “After that”, “while the soup is boiling…”.

Step 5: Describe the process. Now you can try to describe the process yourself, while looking at the pictures.

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