The notes from the lesson on 03 December 2013
Apologies for the delay
As I said at the lesson the blog post about this weeks lesson are a little late because I have been invigilating examinations this week and so I have not had any free time to write the blog entry.
Email from me
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Getting the meaning of two words
In Monday’s class English Conversation (B2 – C1) here in Oelde we discussed the difference of meaning between rubble and wreckage. I wrote a blog entry for it and you might be interested in it. The entry is here check it out and let me know what you think.
h2.Talking to people from other countries in English
We reflected on some of the people whose first language is not English whom we talk with on the telephone. People from China, India, Belgium and Latin America. Different first language speakers present different problems and we will come back to that at a later date but two strategies that members of the group used and might be helpful to use are:
- Setting an agenda – having an email correspondence before the conversation to establish what will be talked about and what decisions need to be made. It restricts the conversation (hopefully) to those topics that you want to talk about and so the words and conversation will be in a narrow and manageable band.
- Writing up the conversation – sending an email after a conversation to establish what you believe were the decisions made in the telephone call. If they are not the case you know you have a problem and if yes – you can act on these points.
We heard six very interesting presentations from participants about their place of work. One comment that was helpful was that they sounded like reports at a meeting rather than presentations. It lead us to think about what made us think made a presentation different from a report. Here were some points that applied to all presentations:
- You need to imagine you are taking people on a journey with you and you are guiding them. You therefore provide them with signposts these are
- key words which trigger you to say things – writing the whole speech out makes you look at the paper and not at the audience.
- key ideas which you need to get across and give purpose to your talk.
- Timing yourself several of the presentations were too long and if they had tried them out with a stop watch they might have realised the material was too long and needed trimming.
- Practising (either in your head or perhaps in the car) – practising makes things makes you realise points that are difficult to say and words that you need to be aware of repeating. Recording yourself saying your speech and playin it back can be an interesting experience and a revelation to you.
- Think of a the most common presentation you give – a micro-presentation – it is when you present yourself to visitors and how do you do that:
- “Hello, I am John Warner and I am an English Teacher here at the Volkshochschule Oelde-Ennigerloh and I teach two classes here English Conversation on Monday nights and Business English on Tuesday evenings”
- When you give a mini-presentation:
- What do you do when you present yourself?
- Where do you look?
- What tone of voice do you use?
- How clearly do you speak?
There were some specific and hopefully helpful points that emerged from the presentations:
- Using a word like draughtsman in your presentation. If it is a key concept or word that you will use over and over again in your talk you need to learn a pronunciation of the word and alternative spellings too. Here the Internet can help:
- Giving you the definition and pronunciation for example draughtsman (drăftsˈmən) (US spelling draftsman) which is defined as a man who draws plans or designs, as of structures to be built.
- Finding a video like "this"http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yP_M54aG7Sk which though over sixty years old still has useful language and concepts in it that you might want to copy.
- Remember your actual pronunciation may not be 100% the way a native speaker of English might say it but the point is not to be perfect in your pronunciation but to communicate your ideas clearly.
- If your company name is long or complicated or difficult to pronounce for some speakers of other languages like for example ThyssenKrupp Resource Technologies then you need to develop strategies for explaining the pronunciation of the name:
- saying the following where the tricky word is repeated: “ThyssenKrupp Resource Technologies, combines the expertise of ThyssenKrupp Polysius and ThyssenKrupp Fördertechnik”
- spelling it out using the NATO Phonetic Alphabet and you can download a handy chart here.