08 October 2011

Audioboo with FCE Exam Class



Class Profile
Age: 16 - 66
No. of students: 12
Exam: First Certificate in June 2012

This is a very mixed age and ability class, some students have been coming to the academy for years, whereas others are new.


Background
I would like to get my students talking between classes and I think having students record themselves between classes is a great way to practise English outside of class. Unfortunately, some students have a very strong reaction to recording their voice, apparently.

The other day, I decided to spend 10 minutes in class showing my students Audioboo and explaining the benefits. I intended to:

  • play a "homework question" in Audioboo that I had prepared earlier
  • Demonstrate how easy it is to use Audioboo
  • Invite one or two students up to record something short.
  • Tell students that this part of their homework was purely optional, but had great benefits, etc.
That was the plan. Unfortunately, it didn't quite go like that. Although I had tested Audioboo earlier in the day on my classroom computer, when I went to the website to play my recording, it didn't work. I went on to record something again to show students how to do it, but "somebody" had removed the microphone from my classroom. All of this only took a couple of minutes but I when I looked around I saw a sea of confused faces. Finally, one of the adult students said "I don't understand what we have to do". I perfectly understood her of course - having some mad teacher standing in front you clicking buttons and nothing happening doesn't look good. Fortunately, another student piped up that he had downloaded the recording onto his iPhone earlier in the day. He played it to the class. My helpful and enthusiastic student went on to say that if you have iPhone or Android, etc. you can download Audioboo and use it on your phone. To which half the class looked at him blankly. Suddenly, the previously mentioned confused adult said - "I'm not recording anything. I haven't got a microphone!"! I looked at her and could see she was visibly frustrated and confused and there were a few nods of agreement, so I decided to leave the subject of Audioboo for another day. I briefly mentioned that this homework was optional, and that we would return to the subject another day.

The moral of this story? Just a gentle reminder that, in exam classes especially, some people don't find learning English easy or enjoyable. They are learning because of outside pressures, such as work or parents, and just need to get that piece of paper at the end of the exam. Mixing in a bit of something else they're not very comfortable with, such as technology that isn't working properly, is enough to turn them right off!

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