It is a good idea to look for new ways to entertain ourselves during the language learning process. Most of you have been watching a lot of TED Talks to improve your listening skills and to enhance your vocabulary. If you haven’t been watching them, you should definitely check them out here. It is a great resource for listening to native and non-native speakers speak in English in a professional setting about innovative ideas. The videos have a few good features, including an option that allows you to download the audio and read the transcript or the subtitles. There are thousands of recordings you can listen to it while you commute to work or eat lunch. TED Talks is a great platform, however, it can get boring because the format is always the same. Below are three alternatives you can use to spice up your language learning.
CreativeMornings has inspirational, monthly lectures that are free for the public to attend. The speakers are business professionals, artists, designers, photographers, among others. Most videos are about 30 minutes long. Just like TED Talks, there are many topics that are discussed. One thing you will notice is that the subtitles are not always accurate, so this will challenge your listening skills. Don’t worry, it’s a good thing!
The Moth has thousands of audio recordings of people sharing real life situations. Their goal is to share the “human experience,” so the speakers share personal stories in natural English, without notes. This may be better for advanced listeners because not all of the storytellers are refined speakers, meaning that the way they pronounce their words isn't in standard business English. It's a great resource if you want to hear the language spoken by regular people.
PechaKucha may be the most unique of all the platforms. Like the others, it has thousands of videos, but each video is only 400 seconds long, less than 7 minutes. You will not see the speaker; you will not see diagrams, charts, or statistics, but you will see 20 images that relate to the topic. This is really good for those who want to listen to a great speaker, remember what he or she said, and have something to look at without seeing distracting movements by the speakers. Each image is shown for 20 seconds and automatically changes to the next one. This is meant to help the listener understand exactly what the speaker is saying, and to keep the speaker from talking too much.
I want to end this blog with a with a funny video I found. Pat Kelly, author of This Is That: Travel Guide to Canada, recreates what a standard presentation looks like. In his ironic demonstration, he claims to be a "thought leader" and discusses how to provoke a standing ovation from a crowd by saying nothing of importance. You can check out the video here.
There is absolutely no doubt that TED Talks is a fantastic resource. It is recommended to language learners and innovative thinkers every day. Still, it's nice to have an alternative like the ones listed above. Each of them have a different approach to a standard presentation and they target a slightly different audience, allowing you to mix things up and take charge of your language learning process!
How did you feel when you gave your first speech?
Enhance - (verb) - to improve the quality, value, or extent of
Check (something) out - (phrasal verb) - to look at something; to find information about something
Feature(s) - (noun) - a distinctive characteristic
Commute - (noun) - the distance or time it takes to travel to work and from work
Platform - (noun) - place to have a conversation and/ or share ideas
Spice up - (phrasal verb) - to make something more exciting or more interesting
Refined - (adjective) - elegant
Provoke - (verb) - to cause a reaction
Standing ovation - (noun) - a long period of applause while standing
Take charge of (something) - (phrasal verb) - to be responsible for something; to be in control of something
If you want more tips on how to get to the next level in English, sign up for a class and I will develop a lesson plan for you!
Who said that English couldn't be fun? :)