Tuesday, January 17, 2017

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Numbers - Pronunciation & Listening

Pronouncing numeric expressions, and understanding them when listening, is an important skill for our English language learners. After teaching about how the main stress of the expression is placed on the last syllable (either the last number or the unit, if there is one), I had them do a series of activities to practice.

Using Wikipedia, I found entries on Hammond, Indiana (the city in which our university is located), as well as other cities, such as Rome and Moscow. In the passages are many numeric and statistical facts. I had them take turns reading their respective passage aloud to their partner. Meanwhile, the partner would write down any expressions they could. During a second reading, they listened for specific facts. I must credit Renata Phelps for this activity, which she described in her article in the ITBE Link, "Numbers in Context - A DIY Activity." 

Below is the text that Student 1 would see and read to his/her partner.

After a first listening, he/she would listen again and note the following specific details.

Person 2 would then read his/her section (the second half of the article.) Overall, it seemed to be good practice. The students were pleasantly surprised at how many statistics they could write down in the first part, but they realized they had no idea what they meant. The second listening was important for them to target their listening and put the numbers in context.