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.
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+).
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
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.
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).’
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
When the students have done well with the basic task, they can be asked to provide more information about themselves; e.g.
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.
Students will have done well:
Students will have done well:
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).
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
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.
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.
This task can be used in any situation of transnational cooperation.