If You Seek Gamey - A Receptive Skills Based Lesson Focusing on Listening

23/08/2018 11:43

If You Seek Gamey - A Receptive Skills Based Lesson Focusing on Listening

 

Introduction

 

Although reading is an integral part of the task, because it's a video, with a videoscript chosen for its authenticity, the text is motivational insofar as it pertains to real life`s `stimulating and challenging` (Gower, 1995, p. 88) activities. The rationale for the listening lesson to teach receptive skills is based on a September 23, 2016 internet video report from BBC Newsround, `EGX 2016: What's new at UK's biggest gaming event?` The lesson includes some pre-tasks, and `while listening` tasks, and the video material used in the class appeared some time after a genuine article, `Nearly a quarter of kids see gaming as exercise`, was published on the BBC`s Newsround, on June 23, 2015, which the students were asked to read as a background task. Although `findings suggested that 75% of young people enjoy PE`, 23% thought `playing a computer game with a friend is exercise`, and a report by the UK`s Youth Sports Trust suggests children `risk becoming addicted to their handheld devices`.

 

 

As a reading text for the receptive skills` lesson, the teacher gave the students, `EGX 2016: What's new at UK's biggest gaming event?` It was a piece-together handout to encourage use of top down processing, that is, reading for specific details (Aebersold and Field, 1997, p. 15), as well as bottom up processing reading for gist skills. The students were to practice these receptive skills along with listening for gist, that is, to ascertain general meaning (Harmer, J. 2007, p. 311), as well as for specific information (Harmer, J. 2007, p. 314), which required them to carefully attend to the video material, and use the receptive skills of listening and reading to comprehend video, audio, and text.

 

Lesson plan

 

Lead-in

 

 As a pre-listening activity to help the students demonstrate their use of the schemata they already possess from their background knowledge (Aebersold and Field, p. 8), they were asked to define `game` as a group and so, before discussion amongst them (Thornbury, 2005, p. 3), the teacher elicited opinion to arouse interest and set the scene. The aim wasn`t to focus on accuracy, during the lead in activity, so mistakes weren`t to be focused on, but the aim was instead to create interest motivating the students to listen. Afterwards, to raise and improve students` knowledge of schemata (Nunan, 1998, p. 69), the teacher explained that there are activities thought of as games by gamers, that aren`t, and these are often nevertheless placed within gaming contexts, which dilutes the seriousness of the mistake.

 

 In terms of the schemata deriving from the word `game`, an animal without chance of escaping a determined killer is a game animal, while computer gamers seeking to transfer the game concept to interactional simulations devaluing human life to that of game animals aren`t gaming. Consequently, reading for gist, allied to the application of the schemata associated with game vocabulary (Power, 2016), `cat and mouse` is identifiable as the gamer`s game with humans, whereas human participants voluntarily engage in activities to win competitions, which isn`t a game insofar as success means a better life for those taking part.

 

 The notion that gaming is physical exercise is a part of the game industry`s obfuscating marketing strategy to market the game to game players, where `game` can be interpreted as animal, rather than human, from the perspective of the market, which wants to sell product; not educate it. Although games aren`t ostensibly designed to be life-threatening, and there`s a distinction between game animal and gamer, game schemata associated with boxing, for example, admit debilitation as the aim of the `fight game`. The teacher therefore endeavors to correct students` understanding of the term `game`, that is, physical attacks causing brain impairment aren`t games.

 

Vocabulary pre-teaching

 

 Using simple and clear principles for the initial pre-listening task (Nation, 2005), the teacher explains the `game` vocabulary, but stresses the importance of the receptive skill based task of dictionary consultation for the student, who wants more information about words` meanings. The vocabulary chosen by the teacher for explication is; firming, taste, testing, headset, help out, franchise, check out. The language of the gamer is associative, for example, `firm` is applied to flesh, and `taste` also, although the meaning here is ostensibly related to the filling up of a venue, and the metaphorical fearsomeness of testing a new computer game, rather than tasting a game animal`s cooked meat. Amongst hunters, antlers are a `headset`, and `help out` is a term used in euthanasia, while someone who has `checked out` is dead in movie language. Consequently, the language of the gamer isn`t so playful as might be supposed.

 

Pre-listening

 

 The students are given a task in which they`re required to complete the text with the missing words from the rubric, that is, put the words and number into the spaces to complete the sentences. Although it`s a pre-listening task, the teacher collects and looks at the students papers, and perhaps makes notes, before returning them for the listening task, so that the students can correct their own answers as they listen. The audio introduction to `EGX 2016: What's new at UK's biggest gaming event?` is repeated a few times, so the students can absorb the atmosphere and feel of the material before completing their final version of the receptive task.

 

Pre-listening and listening task: Reading and listening for gist and detail

 

busy, show, next, upcoming titles, out, deal, 80, 000

 

 `I'm here at EGX. The UK's biggest gaming is at the NEC and firming up and, as you can see, it's pretty , and expecting around people to come here over the few days. Now, this is a big , because it's the first time many people will get to play some of the big for the first time here in the UK, so I thought I'd help you out by telling you three things to look for.

 

 The teacher then gives the students a bottom up, and top down processing (Aebersold and Field, 1997, p. 18) comprehension task requiring them to apply the receptive skill of watching, and listening for gist, and/or specific detail, to get them to think about games, gamers, and gaming, and apply what they`ve gleaned, and what they already knew, to answering the questions.

 

Comprehension task: Reading for gist and specific detail

 

Where is the EGX?

How many people are expected?

Is there a card game metaphor used by the presenter, Steffan Powell?

What are the two words used by Steffan to describe new games to be sold soon in the shops?

What`s a `ukelele`?

What`s the name of the `famous franchise` game?

What company is promoting the new virtual reality machine?

What is it that can take you to all kinds of different worlds?

How many games can you play on that?

What`s the adjective Steffan uses to describe it?

 

While-listening

 

 The teacher gets the students to predict (Harmer, p. 337) the content from the video`s title , `EGX 2016: What's new at UK's biggest gaming event?` , before playing the video, which is paused during the students` `while listening task` to give them time to write answers. They`re then given four stills taken from the video to put in order as a prediction based activity (Harmer, p. 346): `... and perhaps make some of the possible utterances themselves.` (Underwood, p. 34) Then, `working together` (Harmer, p. 338), they watch the video to see if they`re correct, and discuss. The teacher cuts up the paragraphs of the videoscript, and gets the students into groups to rearrange the paragraphs into the original sequence. There`s a 2 minute time limit attached to this `while listening activity` to facilitate the students` application of their `listening for gist` and `scanning for detail` audio-receptive and reading receptive skills.

 

 

While-listening task: Listening For gist and scanning for detail

 

Put the paragraphs numbered 1-3 in the correct order after listening

 

  And also there's a small independent game it's called Ukulele. Now you might not have heard much about it, but it's really colorful and really fun. It`s worth taking a look at that as well.

    Coming up. So, one of them is just behind me. See, there it is. You can see it's Skylanders Imaginators, which is a new taste on the famous Skylanders franchise. If you like that, then check out that game.

    Back here, just over there, they`re testing out the new Playstation virtual reality machine. It`s that headset you put on that can take you off to all sorts of different worlds, you can play loads of different games on that. That`s pretty cool too.

 

 

Post-listening tasks

 

 The teacher elicits the students` answers, and explanations for the comprehension given to them, as a way of checking their understanding. The video script is then given as a handout, so the students can examine it as a `problem solving and decision making` task, that is, they discuss errors made in piecing together the cut up text: `To maintain interest it is important not to have exceedingly long and complicated problems to solve, nor decisions where too many factors need to be taken into account.` (Underwood, p. 78) As Mary Underwood says, post-listening activities are often the main purpose of the lesson, so although the post-listening activities mightn`t seem very substantial, it isn`t advisable to overburden the students, so the lesson`s objectives can be smoothly achieved.

 

Appendices

 

Harmer, J. (2007) 19, Listening, 19.5 Listening [and film] sequences, p. 346.

 

 

Video transcript: `EGX 2016: What's new at UK's biggest gaming event?`

 

`I'm here at EGX. The UK's biggest gaming show is at the NEC and firming up and, as you can see, it's pretty busy, and expecting around 80,000 people to come here over the next few days.

 

Now, this is a big deal, because it's the first time many people will get to play some of the big upcoming titles for the first time here in the UK, so I thought I'd help you out by telling you three things to look out for.

 

Coming up. So, one of them is just behind me. See, there it is. You can see it's Skylanders Imaginators, which is a new taste on the famous Skylanders franchise. If you like that, then check out that game.

 

Back here, just over there, they`re testing out the new Playstation virtual reality machine. It`s that headset you put on that can take you off to all sorts of different worlds, you can play loads of different games on that. That`s pretty cool too.

 

And also there's a small independent game it's called Ukulele. Now you might not have heard much about it, but it's really colorful and really fun. It`s worth taking a look at that as well.`

 

Comprehension task: Reading for gist and specific detail

 

Answer key

 

The NEC

80, 000

deal

upcoming titles

a banjo

Skylanders Imaginator

Playstation

the headset

loads

cool

 

References

 

Aebersold, J. A., and Field, M. L. From Reader To Reading Teacher: Issues And Strategies For Second Language Classrooms, New York, Cambridge University Press, 1997.

Gower, Roger, Diane Phillips, and Steve Walters Teaching Practice Handbook, London, Heinemann, 1995.

Harmer, J. The Practice Of English Language Teaching, Harlow, Pearson Education Limited, 2007.

Nation, Paul, I. S. `Teaching Vocabulary` in EFL Asian Journal, September, Vol. 7, 3, pp. 47-54, 2005.

`Nearly a quarter of kids see gaming as exercise`, BBC Newsround, June 23, 2015, http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/33240073 .

Nunan, David `Schema Theory And Reading, 4.3`, Language Teaching Methodology, pp. 67-9, 1998.

Powell, Steffan `EGX 2016: What's new at UK's biggest gaming event?` BBC Newsround, September 23, 2016, http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/37448787 .

Power, Ted, `B. Skimming`, http://www.tedpower.co.uk/esl1108.html , 2016.

Thornbury, S. How To Teach Speaking, Harlow, Pearson Education Limited, 2005.

Underwood, Mary Teaching Listening, London, Longman, 1989.

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