This material is for learning English as a second or foreign language communicatively. The format integrates a great many aspects of contemporary U.S. culture. Through weekly, entertaining dialogs learners see and hear slang and idioms used in authentic speech and contexts. The main structure of each lesson consists of a dialog, discussion, and quiz. There are five lessons that cover music, movies, current events, slang, and real life situations. Each lesson is assigned on a daily basis, Monday through Friday. The distinguishing language learning feature is the facility for online communication with people from around the world through message boards and chat rooms.
This material is designed to improve listening and speaking skills. Learners can listen to conversations spoken by native speakers of U.S. English. Lesson content is updated on a weekly basis and delivers English that is spoken on the streets in authentic contexts. This material thereby engages learners? interest and provides a culturally and linguistically realistic context. There are many slang words and idiomatic expressions that cannot be found in traditional dictionaries of English or second language textbooks
In the Quiz section of each lesson, scoring of learners? performance might motivate learners to listen and try again.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
This material is useful both for self study and as a teaching resource. For self study, these materials provide learners with online communication with native speakers both in asynchronous and synchronous formats. The message boards have topics such as Ask a Pal! Music Mix, and Find Friends! This feature makes it possible for learners to interact with hundreds of others who are both learning English or who are native speakers. Through Pal Mail, learners make friends with native English speakers interested in helping them improve their language skills. For classroom use, teachers can certainly use these media resources as they are updated on a weekly basis.
This material may be more user friendly if it were categorized by level of English ability.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
A consistent interface and instructions make this site very easy to use. The main menu icons are located at the bottom of every page so that learners do not get lost while navigating the site. Interactive feedback features such as interactive forms,
cgi scripts, and the chat format are provided to motivate learners to be actively engaged in their learning processes. Downloading time for the audio files is minimal so that learners proceed to the next task without wasting time.
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