Getting to Know You

Additional Info

  • Name: Getting to Know You
  • OVERVIEW

  • Linguistic dimension

  • CEFR Level: A1
  • Linguistic dimension - Skill(s): Listening, speaking
  • Duration: 4 x 45 minutes
  • Target language: Any Tried out in Dutch, Scottish Gaelic, Italian
  • ICT dimension

  • ICT resources:

     

    Internet access to audio and video recordings from partner countries (preferably via portable device: smart phone tablet or laptop), devices for audio and video recording; word processing program. Although it is probably easiest to use smart phones for recording, better results may be obtained when a camera with a microphone on a tripod is used.

  • ICT competences: Working with audio/video files; downloading and uploading files; working with tables in a word processing programme.
  • Detailed description of the task

  • Situation / theme(s): Two classes are going to take part in a (virtual or real) school exchange. The students have not met yet. Students have just started to become acquainted with each other’s language. Getting to know each other’s names and places of residence is the basis for further exchanges of information.
  • Product requirements or prerequisites: Internet access. Students need recording devices. The schools need to have agreed on a way of sharing the information on the Internet that protects privacy (e.g. closed group in social network such as Google+).
  • I can...:

     

    • Listening: I can follow speech which is very slow and carefully articulated, with long pauses for me to assimilate meaning
    • Speaking: I can use simple phrases and sentences to describe myself, what I do, where I live and people I know.
  • Product: Two sets of audio/video recordings, in which the students spell their names, using the alphabet of their native and of the target language, mention their places of residence and give basic information about their families. Two tables with information obtained from the students in the other country.
  • Product requirements or prerequisites:

     

    Internet access. Students need recording devices. The schools need to have agreed on a way of sharing the information on the Internet that protects privacy (e.g. closed group in social network such as Google+).

  • Process:

     

    Getting to know each other

    The students are going to work together with students in another country. They have not met yet. To be able to work together they need to get to know each other: who are they, where are they from and do they have brothers and/or sisters?

    After a pre-task introduction this task consists of 4 parts and a post-task evaluation

    1. speaking in their own language;
    2. listening to the other students’ language;
    3. speaking in the other students’ language;
    4. listening to the other students speaking their language.

    Introduction

    The teacher explains to the students what they are going to say and hear: number, name, place they are from, number of brothers and sisters.

    The teacher goes over the alphabet of the target language and over the numbers (1 – 10 or 1 – 20, depending on group size).

    The teacher stresses the importance of the students’ names being understood correctly; to prevent misunderstanding students should therefore spell their names.

    The teacher emphasizes the need to speak clearly and audibly.

    The teacher assigns each student a number.

    The teacher then divides the class into small groups, (a group may consist of e.g. a speaker, a camera person, a director).

    The groups work on their own. The teacher is there to help if necessary.

    Part 1

    Students introduce themselves in their own language as follows:

    ‘Hello. I am number (give number given by the teacher). I am (Name). I will spell it (letter, letter. Letter, etc.). I am from (place) I have (number) brother(s) and (number) sister(s).’

    Example:

    • Hello, I am number 1.
    • I am Harry Smith.
    • H, A, R, R, Y pause S, M, I, T H.
    • I am from London.
    • I have one brother and one sister.

    The student is filmed by the camera man/woman. The director makes sure speech is clear and audible.

    The next student is filmed and then the next.

    The students watch the film to check the quality. When they are sure the quality is fine, they upload their film.

    Part 2

    The teacher checks if all the introductions have been uploaded by the students in the other country and assigns each set of introductions to a group. The teacher gives each group a digital table to fill in.

    The students download the film that has been assigned to them.

    Students watch the film in groups and try to figure out what is said. Can they find the necessary information? They rewind the film as many times as is needed to agree on what is said.

    The students fill in the names, places of residence, and the information about brothers and sisters on the tables.

    The tables are checked again and again before the students upload the tables.

    Part 3

    Students study the film that they downloaded carefully. How did the other students introduce themselves? How did they spell their names? How did they give the place they are from? How did they give the information about brothers and sisters?

    If they feel that they can do it themselves the students introduce themselves in the other language in the same way as in Part 1.

    When all the students' introductions have been recorded, the film is checked again and again. Only if the students believe it is fine is it uploaded

    Part 4

    The teacher checks if all the introductions by the students from the other country have arrived and assigns each introduction to a group. He also gives each group a table to fill in. Introductions are studied very carefully. Can the students from the other country speaking your own language be understood? After much rewinding and when the groups have come to an agreement they fill in the tables and upload them.

    Post-task evaluation

    Have the groups done well?

    The listeners listening to the other language (part 2) have done well if they have understood the speakers speaking their own language and have filled in the tables correctly...

    The speakers of the other language (part 3) have done well if the listeners listening to their own language have understood them and have filled in the tables correctly.

    All the tables need to be checked to see if the information is correct. If it is, the students can be proud. If it is not, speakers may have to learn to speak more clearly and listeners may have to learn to listen more carefully.

  • Division of roles (optional): Students take turn as speakers, camera men and directors.
  • Consolidating activities suggested or follow up plan:

     

    Consolidating activity

    The use of spelling alphabets (e.g. telephone alphabet, NATO alphabet) can help students to become more familiar with the alphabet of the target language.

    The speakers can spell their names using the spelling alphabet of their native language and the listeners in the other country can write the names down.

    Follow-up plan

    When the students have done well with the basic task, they can be asked to provide more information about themselves; e.g.

    • I am 13 years old.
    • My height is 1 meter, 61 centimeters.
    • My hobby is playing football.

    NB. By this time students will have advanced towards CEFR level A2.

    Producing visual aids

    On the basis of the spelling alphabet students can be asked to search for suitable photographs and/or pictures to go with each letter. Alternatively students can be asked to make drawings to go with each letter.

  • Success factors or evaluation criteria:

     

    Students will have done well:

    Students will have done well:

    • if they have understood the names, the places of residence and the basic information about families in the target language (listening);
    • If they have been understood by the native speakers (speaking).

     

  • Authors: Ton Koet. If you wish to receive more information about the task or discuss its adaptation and implementation with its author, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
  • Acknowledgements: KPN (Netherlands telecom) for lists of telephone alphabets,
  • Didactic added value of the task and other information

  • Practical hints for teachers:

     

    These activities are intended for beginners. Therefore it may be necessary to use the native language for explanation. It may also be necessary to go through the alphabet and through the numbers in the target language in advance, If there are 20 students in your class, you will need to go through the numbers 1 – 20; if there are thirty, through the numbers 1 – 30.

    It is essential to instruct the students to speak slowly, distinctly and clearly.

    There are many webpages about alphabets and spelling alphabets, several with sound material (see e.g.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spelling_alphabet; here you can find spelling alphabets for the Latin, Greek and Cyrillic alphabet).

    It is a good idea to choose a spelling alphabet that suits your students as some alphabets are only suitable for young children.

    If your school has not yet found a partner school, e-Twinning can be helpful (https://www.etwinning.net/en/pub/index.htm).

  • Additional methodological or didactic comments:

     

    This task can be adapted for higher CEFR levels by asking the students to provide more information about themselves, e. g. their hobbies, their favorite school subjects, their plans for the future.

    This task can be adapted to the ICT resources available; e.g. if it is impossible to produce video files, students can be asked to provide photographs

  • Reasons why this task is a model of best practices:

     

    Interaction with native speakers provides an ideal opportunity for language learning. Unfortunately the native speakers do not always see how they benefit. In this task all the participants act as learners as well as native speakers, thus literally contributing to international understanding.

  • Impact that it is expected to have on the teaching practices and attitudes:

     

    Teachers will realize that even at level A1 it is possible for learners to perform real-life activities.

    Both successful students and their teachers can experience a sense of achievement; the students can perform real-life activities in a language that they have just started to learn.

    Both teachers and students will have more positives attitudes to working on authentic tasks in cooperation with native speakers.

    Both teachers and students will realize that intelligibility is crucial for successful communication.

  • Reasons why this task travels well:

     

    This task can be used in any situation of transnational cooperation.

  • Rationale and/or theoretical underpinnings of the task: Two characteristics of a task are that ‘there is some communication problem to solve’ and ‘that they resemble real-world activities’ (Skeehan). Understanding and being understood are essential for successful communication. The ultimate test of success in a foreign language is understanding native speakers and being understood by them. Unfortunately speakers are frequently misunderstood when giving such simple information as their names. Also, speakers often do not say the names of others correctly or mispronounce them. This may lead to serious communication problems. It is therefore important for teachers to address this problem from the start when learners are at the most basic level of the CEFR. If the learners have overcome this problem, they will have acquired a practical skill that will stand them in good stead for the rest of their lives.
  • Preferencial target age group(s): Young learners and high school students

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