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Top Tips for the CD-ROMs
Using SoundSearch for
intensive listening practice

onestopenglish.com

 

Top Tips for the CD-ROMs
Using SoundSearch for intensive listening
by Jane Bottomley

The SoundSearch tool of the Macmillan English Dictionary CD-ROM allows you to search for words by the way they sound. This tool is ideal for practising pronunciation and raising students' awareness of the relationship between sound and spelling in English. In this issue of the magazine I will give you tips on how students can use the SoundSearch as part of intensive listening practice.

1 Intensive listening

Course and skills books tend to give learners plenty of practice in listening for gist and for specific information because these are the most useful communicative tools. This activity also develops intensive listening skills, getting students to concentrate on the precise sounds they hear.

Procedures

  1. Choose a relatively short listening extract with some difficult vocabulary for the level. Use something from the course book or record something from the radio.
  2. Prepare a tapescript with the difficult words blanked out and numbered.
  3. Write some gist questions on the board, play the cassette, and elicit answers to them.
  4. Give out the tapescript and get students to skim it then work in pairs to discuss possibilities for the gaps (e.g. part of speech, possible meaning).
  5. Play the cassette again and get students to try and write down the word they hear using phonemic script.
  6. Students compare and try to refine their transcriptions.
  7. Students try to find the word using the SoundSearch, using wildcards when they are unsure of a sound.
  8. After feedback during the following class, play the cassette again in full while students are reading and listening to the complete text.

2 Sample texts

Words to blank out can be selected randomly and according to difficulty (see A), or they could all be part of a particular semantic field (see B).

A A Lucky Break

Aim: To practise intensive listening.
Activity: gap fill
Level: upper intermediate/advanced
Source: Inside Out Advanced, Unit 5, Tapescript 28

See the activity and the answers.


B On the Internet

Aim: To practise intensive listening.
Activity: gap fill
Level: upper intermediate/advanced
Source: Inside Out Advanced, Unit 5, Tapescript 37

See the activity and the answers.