Russian Revision Podcasts
Using podcasts to provide students on the intermediate Russian certificate course with flexible revision material to prepare for oral exams. Inspired by the Michel Thomas method.
The project team:
and Sarah Ney
Olga came to LTI with the idea to offer her Intermediate students the possibility to revise and practise on vocabulary and pronunciation outside of class time. The main reason behind this was due to the exam schedule, which meant that students had a long ” break” without any lessons before their final exam. Providing them with some self-study resources would solve the issue.
Language resources are easily found online but their quality can vary. In addition, as many of her colleagues in language teaching, Olga believes that the resources need to be more tailored to her class and its content.
The focus was on aural skills. It proves more challenging for students to be able to develop their listening and speaking skills outside of the classroom without help and prompts from a teacher. This is why she decided to record podcasts using vocabulary and content from the class programme. Podcasts also have the advantage to virtually be accessed from anywhere at anytime provided students have a compatible phone or a music player. This is particularly convenient for London students who tend to commute a lot!
Olga and her colleague Natasha Bershadski produced a series of podcasts based on the key vocabulary (words, expressions and sentences) from each unit and created corresponding scripts. They made the package available to download via the Moodle course. Students would hear the Russian and English version and be able to pause, repeat and check the script. They would also be asked to make their own sentences and be given a pause to formulate it before they would hear it in Russian.
A questionnaire was distributed to the students to obtain feedback on the use of podcasts. Many commented that they helped increase their confidence as language users and proved very helpful when preparing for the exam mentioned that the podcasts.
When comparing with past exam results, Olga observed that “the average final grade was 2% higher than continuous assessment grade obtained throughout the year.This was a positive improvement to the expected statistics; for the last five years we had an opposite result: usually continuous assessment grade was 2% higher than the exam grade.”