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leosmith

Chinesepod draws the line

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kdavid

Well, this NY Times article shows how much I really know.

According to the article there are an estimated 50,000 elementary and secondary school students studying Chinese in the US alone! There's sure to be that number of adults.

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jbradfor

1) introduction, banter to pique interest

2) dialogue only

3) sentence by sentence, alternating with the dialogue

4) banter about the dialogue as a whole

5) vocabulary explanations

6) grammar explanations

7) dialogue only

8) farewell banter

Minor suggested change wrt the the vocab:

Introduce the critical vocab between steps 1 and 2. This would be the 3-ish words that are both most critical to understanding the dialog and not likely to be known to all. Reason: more likely to understand the dialog, by focusing on those words during the dialog more likely to catch them and learn them.

Discuss other vocab during the sentence-by-sentence, rather than in a separate step: reason: easy to learn vocab in context.

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leosmith
Introduce the critical vocab between steps 1 and 2.

Agreed. I intentionally left it out, because japanesepod101 rarely does it. But it makes sense, and certainly can't hurt, so I've updated my steps.

Discuss other vocab during the sentence-by-sentence, rather than in a separate step: reason: easy to learn vocab in context.

Disagree. The sentence-by-sentence shouldn't be interrupted for any reason. Chinesepod sometimes does what you suggest, and it's a disaster. I've added detail to step 5, saying two or three sample sentences, including the dialogue sentence, are given for each word. That, combined with the dialogues, should be enough context.

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roddy
1) introduction, banter to pique interest

2) dialogue only

3) sentence by sentence, alternating with the dialogue

4) banter about the dialogue as a whole

5) vocabulary explanations

6) grammar explanations

7) dialogue only

8) farewell banter

The problem I have with this, and with the majority of 'learn Chinese' podcasts I've listened to (which isn't many) is that it leaves the student completely passive - or at best, no more active than they would be listening to a radio show. What, for each of these eight stages, is the student doing bar 'listening' or 'paying attention'.

You need to be engaging the students and giving them something to do - realistic tasks that they can complete successfully most of the time, at their level. In a podcast format that's going to mean asking questions, playing the dialog (or part of), and then giving the correct answer. In a classroom format you'd likely present a list of questions and if students are struggling allow them to listen again. With an mp3 lesson that's not so easy, so you're probably going to end up with a question - snippet - question - snippet structure.

To build up an example around a recording available :

1. Welcome to Joyous China Podcast, blah blah blah. Today we're going to eavesdrop on a woman making a phone call. Here's the first section - can you tell us if she's calling to book a trip to Xinjiang, or to order some food?

- 这家新疆餐厅是吗? 喂, 你好是新疆餐厅吧!

2. Yes, Xinjiang was mentioned - but she's not booking a trip, she's ordering Xinjiang food from a . . . 新疆餐厅. Play that snippet again. Ok, so now we know what she's doing . . . let's listen to a little more. How many types of dishes is she ordering? 1, 2, 3 or 4?

- 我要囊包肉, 再要十个羊肉串, 然后送到沙漏 . . .十个羊肉串

3. Give answer, explain why 送到沙漏 isn't a dish, and that repetition doesn't count. Next, how does she want the food delivered?

- 嗯...不要给我们放在饭盒里边, 我们用盘子好吗?

4. Wants plates. Next we'll hear the whole dialog through twice - what ways of questioning or suggesting can you pick out?

- whole thing

5. List and play again the 是吗, 是. . . 吧, 是不是, 好吗

You could also do some 'how would you say you'll collect the food',etc, or use the multiple choice questions in the thread linked.

That's all very rough and I'm sure it'll have holes picked in it (wouldn't expect anything less :mrgreen:) but for my money actually expecting the students to do something other than listen to banter and dialog is going to pay dividends. It brings the whole thing closer to a traditional classroom listening lesson - but there's a lot to be said for the traditional classroom listening lesson, methinks.

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renzhe

What you're suggesting sounds almost exactly like Pimsleur tapes.

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leosmith
The problem I have with this, and with the majority of 'learn Chinese' podcasts I've listened to (which isn't many) is that it leaves the student completely passive - or at best, no more active than they would be listening to a radio show. What, for each of these eight stages, is the student doing bar 'listening' or 'paying attention'.

Before designing a podcast, one should ask themselves what they want it to do. It sounds like you want it to teach a fairly wide range of skills, maybe even be the main focus of your language learning.

That's not what I want from a podcast. I prefer to have a textbook or class provide my structure, and do lots of stuff on the side, like conversation, reading, writing and listening. Podcasts merely allow me to practice my listening skills while I go for a walk. So if I were to design a podcast, I would design it to suit my needs. Keep in mind I'm not proposing you guys design your podcasts this way. This is just the way I would do it if it were mine. As I hope to really do this some day, I will continue to refine my original list every time I hear a suggestion that sounds good to me.

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Luobot
What you're suggesting sounds almost exactly like Pimsleur tapes.

Similar in that they motivate you and get you to focus your attention. Pimsleur is more like, "How would you say (such-and-such)." For example, "After she tells you her husband is away on a business trip, how would you ask her in Mandarin to come up to your hotel room to get drunk on some 白酒." (j/k :) ).

I think this interactive approach helps you with both listening and responding. Listening is an important skill, but I also want to be able to join the conversation.

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leosmith
I think this interactive approach helps you with both listening and responding. Listening is an important skill, but I also want to be able to join the conversation.

Absolutely. If there is a Pimsleur course available, I always start a language with that. They are great for giving me my "legs" in conversation quickly.

But after finishing Pimsleur, I go onto different things. Among them, language partners for conversation, passive podcasts for listening, a text for grammar, a class for structure, readers for reading, etc. If I really want to focus on my listening, I don't add drills to the listening material. I other skills elsewhere.

I found that I don't get good at listening until I spend a lot of time passively listening. My theory is the best way to do this is with listening material at i+1. i+1 listening material is hard to come by. For intermediate levels, I've found podcasts to be the best for me.

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c_redman
What you're suggesting sounds almost exactly like Pimsleur tapes.

I was going to say it's close to the format of the Making Connections textbook. It has brief genuine conversations at normal speed, often with local accents. But it's still accessible to learners at lower levels because the lessons start with leading questions you can read before listening, to give a heads up on the topic. Then, after listening, there are more questions to test your comprehension. The goal isn't to understand 100% of the audio (unlike Pimsleur, which never gives a word it hasn't introduced multiple times), but rather to develop the skill of picking up enough to get the gist.

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Ratlike

Well, a Basic monthly subscription is around 10 euros, its not that much considering all the stuff you can learn.

It surprises me, but it actually works: I remember almost all the words learned on CP, even a long time ago, while I find difficult remembering hanzi learned at uni :/

And you can save mp3 files of the lessons, just right click.

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wrbt
- Keep the new words per sentence to a low ratio.
A-freakin-men.

One of the biggest flaws of Chinesepod was in their upper intermediate they'd often go wild with obscure vocabulary that would rarely be used and quickly forgotten.

Like many learners who aren't living in China my biggest challenge isn't being unfamiliar with most common vocab & patterns it's catching them at conversational speed.

Edited by wrbt

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trevelyan

Not sure if you guys are still working on creating Chinese-Forums podcasts, but we've put up a video demonstrating the lesson creation system at Popup Chinese. It's pretty trivial to create content and ends up being MUCH easier than doing things by hand, especially when you need to do something like edit a single tone mark and regenerate all the materials. I'd encourage anyone thinking seriously about content creation to check it out.

To avoid derailing *this* discussion, why don't we keep the discussion here. If there's any way I can help support this project otherwise, let me know.

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Luobot

I’m still interested in contributing to a community-based podcast here at Chinese-Forums, if others are interested in doing the same. I could also be persuaded to contribute UGC at Popup as part of a group. No reason to think about it as either-or.

都可以!

(However, I do think they are better kept as two separate conversations in order to avoid confusion.)

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jbradfor
Like many learners who aren't living in China my biggest challenge isn't being unfamiliar with most common vocab & patterns it's catching them at conversational speed.

A-freakin-men. :-)

Personally, that is my #1 reason for wanting to listen to podcasts. Listening comprehension practice, practice, practice.

[#2 is learning to understand new vocab when spoken, #3 is learning something interesting.]

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renzhe

I think this is a very common issue with us learners outside of China.

It goes through a few stages: learn the word -> be able to read the word -> be able to catch the word in conversation at full speed. And for this, you need listening practice.

I watch TV shows to help me with this. I find them superior to podcasts in many ways. Unfortunately, I can't listen to them on the way to work.

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leosmith
It goes through a few stages: learn the word -> be able to read the word -> be able to catch the word in conversation at full speed.

Unless you happen to be learning without reading, like me:)

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wrbt

How about:

learn the word -> be able to read the word -> be able to catch the word in conversation at full speed -> be able to catch the word when spoken by someone from Southern China who's Mandarin doesn't sound like a textbook/podcast person

:)

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simonlaing

Hey guys,

I promised awhile ago to post a list of topics from my days at nasdaken,

They took most of the material from Canilx Nanjing, which got it from Canilx Shanghai, which went bankrupt when the owners literally took the money and ran.

List of topics.

Nasdaken International Language School

Private Class (PC) Index with Lesson Titles

beginner PC

B PC 1 Introductions

B PC 2 Descriptions

B PC 3 Numbers and Letters

B PC 4 Date and Time

B PC 5 OBJECTS AND ANIMALS

B PC 6 ADJECTIVES

B PC 7 COMING TO AMERICA

B PC 8 THE COCKTAIL PARTY

B PC 9 VACATION

B PC 10 THE SUMMER RENTAL

B PC 11 GROCERY SHOPPING

B PC 12 THE SUPERMARKET

Intermediate PC

I PC 1 WEATHER REPORT

I PC 2 CANOE TRIP

I PC 3 VACATION TIME

I PC 4 AT THE SHORE

I PC 5 ARRIVAL IN NEW YORK

I PC 6 EAST COAST

I PC 7 THE HOUSING SEARCH

I PC 8 VISITING A HOUSE

I PC 9 FREE TIME

I PC 10 AT THE LAKE

I PC 11 THE GAS STATION

I PC 12 BUYING A CAR

Upper Intermediate PC

UI PC 1 BREAKFAST MENUS

UI PC 2 STILL HUNGRY

UI PC 3 THE MENU

UI PC 4 DESSERTS

UI PC 5 WINDOW SHOPPING

UI PC 6 THE FITTING ROOM

UI PC 7 AN EMERGENCY

UI PC 8 AT THE DOCTOR’S

UI PC 9 CORRESPONDENCE

UI PC 10 AT THE POST OFFICE

UI PC 11 BANKSAND ATMS

UI PC 12 PAYING A BILL

Advanced PC

A PC 1 FLIGHT INFORMATION

A PC 2 PLANE RESERVATION

A PC 3 SEMINAR PLANNING

A PC 4 DELEGATES

A PC 5 A NEW JOB

A PC 6 JOB PROMOTIONS

A PC 7 LIVING IN AMERICA

A PC 8 SEEING THE USA

A PC 9 INSURANCE & BANKING

A PC 10 THE POST OFFICE

A PC 11 MARKET RESEARCH

A PC 12 HELPFUL CONTACTS

Beginner Salon

B SC 1 personal introduction

B SC 2 directions 1

B SC 3 holidays

B SC 4 show and tell

B SC 5 HOBBIES

B SC 6 TELLING TIME

B SC 7 QUESTIONS

B SC 8 COMPARATIVES AND SUPERLATIVES

B SC 9 FAMILIES

B SC 10 HOME SWEET HOME

B SC 11 SHOPPING

B SC 12 CLOTHING

B SC 13 Flags and nationalities

B SC 14 at the bank

B SC 15 the body

B SC 16 Doctor oh Doctor

B SC 17 travel

B SC 18 at the airport

B SC 19 at the hotel

B SC 20 directions ii

B SC 21 cuisine

B SC 22 at the restaurant

B SC 23 movies

B SC 24 music

There are more but I am worried the message will be rejected.

I have been busy with wedding issues lately.

have fun,

SimoN:)

Class Index 0with Titles.doc

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Luobot
list of topics

This is a pretty comprehensive list and would make a great podcast series. There could easily be several podcasts per topic. The introductory topic should be pretty easy to get started with and could be used to experiment a bit with the format.

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