Repeat After Us is an educational tool specifically geared towards ESL students that can be utilized by educators, students, and families to help improve a speaker's language skills. It is a database, or library, of free audio clips that allow an ESL speaker to practice their pronunciation and conversational skills. It is a collection of stories, rhymes, quotes, nursery rhymes, etc. of combined text and audio clips that play over an audio player on the computer to say the phrase or words in the English language. This is a great tool to use in practicing pronunciation through repetition by listening to a native speaker of that language. It is geared towards various age levels ranging from texts and audio clips pertaining to nursery rhymes, stories, songs, etc. It also provides links to other language learning web sites and resources like Dave's ESL cafe in order to help promote language learning and ESL curriculum and development.
To Learn English as a Second Language
Target Student Population:
ESL students of various ages
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Minimal English, ability to download audio software
Type of Material:
Audio Clips, and Written Texts
Computer with speakers, and audio player
Evaluation and Observation
The purpose of the web site is very clearly expressed: to promote the enhancement and development of ESL by using audio texts, repetition, and written texts. There are more than enough clips and usable authors on this web site to utilize this on multiple occasions. Certain authors have at least 2 clips recorded and a complete A-Z listing for the students to browse through. The material is well designed and appears to have no glitches with the recording clips, and the written text is concise and accurate.
The excellent site organization facilitates ease of use: Information is organized in several ways to accommodate user needs. The A-Z browsable listing of authors, titles, genres, and recorded texts can be searched via type of text/clips (e.g., nursery rhymes or stories), difficulty level (beginning, intermediate, and advanced), and even by sound clips by a specific reader. The site also contains a well organized page providing links to contacts, other educational links and resources, as well as, a searchable database including dates, and names of authors. The media is well organized and precise. The written texts are accurate. The audio clips are clear and easy to understand. The content of each clip is clear and precise.
The language represented is the English language and is written in common everyday language. The language in audio clips and written texts is maintained in its original context and language; For example, nursery rhymes are unchanged and remain in their original state of creation. The language used to describe and navigate through the web site is everyday English. Although the external links are not required,
they are an excellent resource for educators and students. Both can navigate the web for more sources to improve their teaching skills or their ESL skills using other sites to practice their reading, speaking, and conversational skills.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The Repeat After Us Online Library and Language Lab is an excellent and highly engaging teaching resource that can be used in a group setting by educators, as well as for student individual study. Parents can use this web site to help their children improve their ESL skills, as well as, practicing their own. Students can use this site to practice their own listening and speaking skills, as well as, reading comprehension skills. Educators can utilize this as a resource to improve their teaching methods or as a tool in the class to coincide with individual or group work as a method of enhancing the student's ESL skills. The students can work together and listen to each other's pronunciations and help correct each other by listening to the native speaker. But educators can also use it as a tool to grade the students by doing 3-week studies of the student's progression in listening and speaking comprehension while promoting interaction in the ESL classroom.
The multiple paths to get to the information, as outlined earlier, make this a resource that can be easily integrated into various learning activities. Audio clips reinforced by written text make it a useful teaching resource that can be readily incorporated into a lesson plan. Not all the text is recorded, but enough of it is to make this a wonderful audio-visual resource for ESL learners. Students and teachers just need to make a selection and then click on the uniform icon of a blue talking head profile with the text ?Repeat After Us.? This uniform icon is displayed on every link to an audio file,
which aids in user expectation of the features of the site (i.e. they know when to expect to hear an audio clip as opposed to just reading it). The combination of audio and text files augments learning as students are able to hear and read the text at the same time.
This site features quotes from many world leaders. It might be helpful to add a glossary for brief background information, although this might be beyond the scope and purpose of the site. Another helpful addition might be a way to search the prose fiction by traditional genres: they are all currently clumped together as one ?Prose Fiction? category
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
In addition to a search capability, there are many paths to the same information, which is another wonderful aspect of the site. One excellent feature is that, like some search engines, web portals, and databases, this site shows the exact path the user followed to get to specific information. For instance,
one way to get to Hillary Rodham Clinton?s quote about forgiveness, is to click on Contents, then Author, then Hillary Rodham Clinton, and then Forgiveness. This path is displayed on the top left corner of the page. This is helpful if the user would like to record how s/he got to the information for future visits.
The website designers adhered to design elements of purpose, audience, authority, navigation, and aesthetics. The purpose and intended audience of the site is clearly stated. The ?About Us? page provides links to articles and information about the founder and manager of the site, with a list of contributors and their affiliations. This goes to authority. The site organization fosters ease of navigation: the user can easily maneuver between pages and move in and out of the site at will. In addition to providing links to the major site pages on both the bottom and tops of every page, the site points users to excellent external resources through the ?Links? page. Additionally, a link to a free download of a selection of audio players is provided on every page. There is a contact form as well as a page of feedback from other users.