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Here’s an updated task list. This is the final task list for the course. I’ve added some links for This American Life, and two tasks, and also fixed a task that was badly explained in the original list (step 4). Check it out, and get back to work!
Partial Task List for English Listening & Speaking:
Introduce yourself to to the class, while explaining what it is you hope to learn from the course, develop in the course, or get out of the course, and why you want that. It should be interesting and memorable.
Tell the class a funny story which is also a true story. It has to be a true story (though you can “stretch the truth”), a good story, and it has to make us (ie. me) laugh at least five times in five minutes or less. (More is better.) Your job here is to be funny by whatever means available to you, including body language, exaggeration, voice tone, the story itself, and so on. Be interesting! Remember, your pain and suffering will amuse us more than you think!
Upload a video of yourself “ranting” (that is, complaining in a conversational, not an academic way) about something that bothers you. It could be your noisy neighbor, a problem with your parents, or anything at all. But remember, it will be on Youtube forever! So carefully choose something you don’t mind other people seeing! You rant must be at least eight minutes long, and you must not stop talking for more than three seconds at any point. (You are, however, allowed to breathe.)
Listen to an episode of This American Life, a famous radio show from National Public Radio (NPR) in the USA. (The newest podcast is online at the page linked above, and you can find the archives for This American Life here, or check out their favorite episodes. Or you can listen to one of their favorite episodes here.) This American Life usually features three or four interesting stories; choose one and write about your own reaction: why you loved or hated the story, what were the most interested sentences or words used, and what questions you wanted to ask the speaker after listening. EDIT: This following section has been edited, as I edited it improperly in the original list! Apologies for the confusion! Write about your thoughts and ideas and questions, and hand it in to me. A discussion of/reaction to the story you listened to, along with a link to the story (so I can find it if I want/need to do so), is what you must hand in for this step.
Now, create your own mp3 (between 10 and 20 minutes long) in the style of This American Life. You should tell a funny story — your own, or the story of someone else you know. This story will be mixed with other students stories, three or four at a time, and podcast. Again, it will be put online forever, so don’t tell a story you don’t want permanently available in the world. But choose your funniest, most interesting story possible. If it’s boring, you’ll just have to try again! Make sure to include music you are legally allowed to use. You can find out more about music that’s legal to use in podcasts at the Creative Commons website, and there’s tons of music at Jamendo, as well. Lastly, for the audio software you need to make the MP3, I recommend Audacity because it’s free and pretty popular, but if you want to use something else, feel free. I will not accept any submission that uses music or other content illegally, since there is so much good music available for free online.
Collaborate with another student. You will walk around campus with the other student videotaping you, and you will speak ONLY in English to everyone you meet. You must try to get them to talk to you in English. When they do, you should interview them about whatever subject you find interesting. Your video should include both the interviews, but also the experience of walking around speaking only in English, and people’s reactions to it. By the way — you should not bug anyone who works at the University. Don’t visit professors or your friends to get this done: just walk around and try to talk to regular students and strangers — people who, like you, are not native speakers of English. Feel free to pretend you are a foreign student and cannot speak Korean, if you like. Also, you must only talk to the camera person in English. (The camera person can speak any language he or she wants.) At the end of your experiment, you will have a lot of footage. Choose the most interesting parts and make a video of at least 20 minutes long with these interesting parts, and add a short summary of your experience as a “English speaker” on campus, and how you feel about it. This video will be uploaded to the Internet and stored there permanently under a Creative Commons License.
Visit one of your professors or instructors with whom you usually don’t speak in English, but who you know speaks English competently. (This means you should not choose a Westerner, since you usually talk to your Western professors/instructors in English.) Have something to talk about — a homework assignment, upcoming exam, concerns about the class, whatever you like. It must be a real concern that you really, truly want to discuss with this professor/instructor.Attempt to hold a polite conversation about this issue with your instructor… only in English. At no point should you tell the teacher you’re performing a task for a class: instead, find some other reason for having the conversation in English. No matter how impatiently the person tries to get you to switch to Korean (and even if he or she switches to Korean when responding to you), keep speaking in English. The next day, you can visit the professor again with a form (which will be made available for download soon) which you will fill out. You can then confess that you had to speak English for a course requirement, but that you also really truly had a question. The instructor will sign your form to verify that the conversation in English actually took place, and that you managed successfully and politely to get/communicate the information you needed.Note: The conversation does not need to be painfully long. Your professors are very busy people! Think about your objectives: to speak only in English for this one conversation, and to get a certain information or communicate a concern to your teacher. It shouldn’t be a mere one-minute conversation, but at the same time, it doesn’t need to be a two-hour meeting.
Create a task more difficult than all the previous tasks so far. The task should address one of the weaknesses that you want to improve. When you have thought of an appropriate task, come and talk to me about it. After I have approved the task, complete it and present the result to the class. The objective here is that you design a task to challenge yourself, and then complete it. This is the final task, and it will difficult to pass it. However, if you do manage to complete it, you will have a top grade for your task completion segment of your gra
Grading scale (for the task-related component of the course):
Completing task 1: D
Completing task 2: D+
Completing task 3: C
Completing task 4: C+
Completing task 5: B
Completing task 6: B+
Completing task 7: A
Completing task 8: A+
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"For the correct analogy for the mind is not a vessel that needs filling, but wood that needs igniting..."—Plutarch, "On Listening," Moralia
This is the website for Prof. Gord Sellar. It back up and running, though it is supplemented by the proprietary Blackboard course management system used the university where he works.