13 September 2013

I Have No Idea What They're Saying: Genius Hour Experiment, part 5

I discovered the secret to finding videos in the target language without YouTube, but not to figuring out what on Earth that Brazilian lady is saying.

To find the videos, a simple Google search set to just videos can be refined by choosing "Search tools" then clicking "Any source" and selecting anything but YouTube (and apparently tu.tv) that your particular search has turned up.

I just had students collect videos today, embedding or linking them on their blogs, and then I set about trying to make heads or tails of some I collected for my own Portuguese Genius Hour experiment at home.

Step 1: I decided was just to let the video wash over me and to absorb context clues from the visuals, including @Rosana's busy hands and her handy Portuguese subtitles (reading really is so much easier).

To tell the truth, I could pretty much imitate her without understanding anything she said, but this was not just an crafting quest, but also a linguistic exercise I set out on to improve my own understanding of Portuguese phonetics. Which leads me to Step 2.

Step 2: I stuck in the earbuds and listened hard for words I knew (sometimes from the subtitles). I made a list of what I thought I could make out, but mostly it was a bunch of Frenchy-sounding mishmash to my ears. Still, I paused the video when I thought I recognized something and jotted it down.

Step 3: I double checked words I had not seen before on WordReference, first by trying to type in what I thought I heard and seeing if it popped up with a little PT next to it on the dropdown menu. If that didn't work, I typed in what I was pretty sure it said in English based on my context clues and looked for something similar. In this way I discovered chapéu, dobra, outro, and linha. This reinforced some of the u, r, u, and nh sounds I'd observed on Duolingo and Busuu.

Step 4: I explained my process in my blog and included my list of heard words in Portuguese on my blog. I also decided to add a tally of my vocabulary Google Doc at the bottom to chart progress that way too (I'm up to 77, by the way).

Implications for Students
I'm going to have to require an update on the vocabulary Google Doc each week, I think. I decided the podcast post was a bit much at this point, but I think it would be worth having them record what's on their list up to this point, maybe make some sentences out of it to record that too. Maybe I should even have them make soundboard glogs? But if I want them to have a prayer of picking out familiar words in a listening context, they'll have to actually know how they sound and be able to hear them over and over.

I think a blog post that includes a list of heard words might trick them into attempting the listening, too, as they can probably easily get nearly the week's 50 with the list alone, so they'll think they're getting away with something. However, I think they'll have to take it in chunks of no more than 5 minutes (some found some lengthy videos) to focus their attention.

Checking themselves with WordReference will also be key to verifying what they hear. Picking out conjugated words was a little tricky for me, but I was glad I had words like vou under my belt and that we'd assiduously rehearsed voy a/vas a this week as sort of a preparation. I don't want to overwhelm them with conjugations, but at least knowing the present tense yo form should give them a place to start.

Next Steps
I think I will assign ONE video vocabulary list first, then a soundboard glog, followed by a second video vocabulary list (maybe it will be improved?) I believe it will be crucial to establish confidence in the interpretive skills before having them branch out into interpersonal. I do think, however, that during the second six week grading period, I would like them to at least locate a few possible "experts" who are native Spanish speakers whom they can grill with questions at a later date. This may be where cultivating a Twitter list might come in handy or even isolating Pinterest buddies with common interests.

Previous Genius Hour Experiment posts:

1 comment:

  1. Power of Google search tools. Never thought of that, but great idea!