Teachers’ opinions vary on using audio in TEFL classes. Some find it boring and formulaic, others think it has massive benefits to English students. Do audio recordings have a place in TEFL? What purpose can they serve?
I remember when my mother decided for the eighth time that she wanted to learn French. Methods of learning French are much like fad diets – some hotshot comes along with a new miracle cure and makes promises that can’t be fulfilled (I even started my own ‘donuts only’ diet… it didn’t work out).
This time around, it was the Michel Thomas method (“Learn a new language in days, not years!”). I’ve got nothing against MT and I’m sure the methods of such an experienced linguist are valid, but like the faddish diets, it actually takes determination and effort to succeed in learning a new language.
Call and response
Anyway, my point about the MT courses is that my mother used to spend hours listening and responding to the audio directions. My French is a bit rusty, but I think it was something like:
MT: “Où habites-tu?”
Mother: “J’habite en… what’s the French for Coventry?”
This is actually an excellent way to practice, and I’ve tried to implement audio in my lessons of late.
The benefits of using audio
Using audio in class has several benefits:
- Your students can hear an accent different to your own
- Your students can get used to the natural pace and flow of English
- Using listen and respond techniques, your students can have the next best thing to a real English conversation
How to implement it
One way of using audio in class is to make blank-fill exercises (although this is just a matter of hearing or guessing the right word). A better method is to play a recording of an interview, business meeting or the like and get your students to answer questions on the topic, or to summarize what is being said.
There are some excellent audio resources available online. The following links should get you started.