Archive for the ‘Speaking’ Category


Posted: 2014 年 04 月 11 日 in Speaking

Kiwi: a flightless New Zealand bird with hair-like feathers, having a long-downcurved bill with sensitive nostrils at the tip.

The video shares a touching story that may move you to tears. The audacity of the kiwi always inspires people to achieve their goals against all odds. In terms of English teaching, the video serves as a great material for training speaking and writing. For example, teachers may ask students to retell the story in the first person point of view, that is, students are the kiwis themselves. In this way, students feel empathy with the kiwi and naturally they are more willing to speak or write more.


Whenever I saw a flock of birds fly happily in the sky, I’ll close my eyes and imagine what it will be like to hover over the mountains. One day, I made up my mind to fulfill my “flying dream” at all costs, nothing can block my way! Actions speak louder than words; I worked on my plan soon after setting the goal. In the following days, I fastened the trees on the steep hill with ropes and nails, and made all the trees into a horizontal direction. Although this was really exhausting, it was the most joyful moment in my life because my weak wings which made me unable to fly will never frustrate me anymore. “There’s only one step left.” I said to myself. Then, I took a deep breath, flapped my wings, dashing down the mountains. Wow! This was totally a novel experience! It seemed that I am on the top of everything, even trees were underneath, and a gentle breeze caressed my face. As the height decreased, a teardrop rolled down my cheeks, but I wasn’t seized by fear. Instead of being terrified, a sense of satisfaction came up to me for realizing my dream, and I knew that nothing was left to regret in my life. (依霖@TCGS)

Extracting my strength, I finally made the tree hung against the cliff. Then I hammered tons of nails in the roots lest the trunk fall. Again and again, I strove to fix thousands of trees to the cliff, transforming the rock wall into the woods. Gazing at my work, a great sense of achievement surged. I put on an aviator’s helmet and made a sprint toward the precipice. Yes, I did plunge. Feeling myself falling down freely, I fluttered my shrunk wings as if I were soaring like an eagle, overlooking the vast woods. My eyes were brimmed with warm tears not because I knew I was doomed to die, but because I made my dream, flying, come true. Although I was born with disabled wings, I never yielded to the fate. Instead, at the expense of my life, I created my own way soaring in the sky. (瓊儀@TCGS)

Kiwi, as humans called me,

I want to fly!

I want to feel leaves brushing

Through my wings along with breeze.

Crazy as you may think,

I built rows of trees on a

Cliff with bare “wings.”

And today, it’s time to

Give it a try.

“Wow, I’m now flying!”

Is my first thought,

And later followed by

“Will it come to an end?”

Or “am I going to die?”

Well, I cannot answer

Either. What I can tell

Is: I feel good right now.


Exercise 1: The Last Knit

Exercise 2: Changing Batteries


Language exchange websites

Posted: 2013 年 11 月 06 日 in Speaking

A slightly-edited reblog from written by Anastasia Koltai

Language exchange websites are a fantastic possibility, a challenge. You can learn languages completely free and talk to native speakers. However, you’ll need lots of motivation not to stop after the first occasion.

1. Easy Language Exchange

Easy Language Exchange makes language learning available and free for all. They provide all the essential tools to make languages easy for you. Practice to read, write and speak with natives. Although the website is new, you will find many people there. The founders are nice people and you will be in a good company.


The friendly language exchange community. The website is absolutely amazing. You will also be able to play games to improve your vocabulary and pronunciation. Test yourself and, of course, share the results with your friends.

3. LingoGlobe is a free Language Exchange Community. Learn and practice foreign languages with native speakers. Discuss on the Lingo Globe language forum or even a live chat.

4. italki

Italki is a language learning social network that connects students and language teachers. You can find language exchange partners, practice speaking a foreign language, ask questions, find free online language resources, and get help from an international community of language learners. Italki has become one of the most popular language exchange communities in the world.

5. Verbling

Verbling lets language learners instantly connect with native speakers around the world through live video. Right now on Verbling you can learn languages like English, Spanish, Arabic, Mandarin, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese and Russian.

6. is one of the biggest language exchange communities out there.

7. Language Exchange –

Now, this is an advertising board where you can place your ad and quickly find a language exchange partner. It doesn’t look so beautiful like the websites above, but you will get what you were looking for.

8. Language Exchange Project

The personal project by a polish guy, Greg. His website works great.


Practice and learn foreign languages with native speakers via email, text chat, voice chat or meet up for face to face conversation exchange. There are millions of registered members!

10. Conversation Exchange

Through Conversation Exchange you can have three types of language exchange. Face to face conversation by meeting up with native speakers, Correspondence (pen-pal), text and voice chat.

Lip sync

Posted: 2013 年 11 月 03 日 in Speaking

This post originates from an idea of Dr. Krisztina Zimanyi, a mentor of Ben during a short study in Ireland subsidized by the MOE of Taiwan in 2013.

I feel we should’ve tried this during the course, but you can have a go with your classes – lip sync, or karaoke without the words on the screen 😉 might help with those memory problems :))

By definition, lip-sync is to move the lips silently in synchronization with a pre-recorded soundtrack. Practically speaking, it can be adapted into a creative speaking activity. In this way, learners may not only memorize the lyrics pretty well but also get themselves fully involved in the scenario created by the song itself.

1. Play the lip-sync video above to motivate students and explain how lip-sync works.

2. Group students in twos and ask them to choose a song of their own.

3. Video the performance and upload it to a teaching platform.

4. Vote for the most entertaining videos and ask the winners to perform in person.

If students are too shy to do lip-sync, teachers may ask them either to pick an easier/slower song or focus on doing lip-sync and facial expressions. Students can grade one another in terms of lip-sync correctness, facial expressions, body languages, creativity, popularity, etc. In this case, low-achievers may have an incredible performance that makes teachers’ chins hit the floor. Hopefully, low-achievers’ motivation is highly-enhanced as a result.

Here is another example:

For advanced levels, English teachers can work with IT teachers to engage students in collaborative teaching and learning. The following link demonstrates what amazing stuffs can result with a video-making software and lip-sync.

Chemical Brothers–Get Yourself High (2003)  (Highly-recommended!)

What would you do? (WWYD)

Posted: 2013 年 10 月 31 日 in Speaking

From Wikipedia:

Primetime: What Would You Do? is an American television news magazine and hidden camera show broadcast on ABC since 2008 as part of the Primetime series. The series is hosted by news correspondent John Quinones. In the series, actors act out scenes of conflict or illegal activity in public settings while hidden cameras videotape the scene, and the focus is on whether or not bystanders intervene, and how. Variations are also usually included, such as changing the genders, the races or the clothing of the actors performing the scene, to see if bystanders react differently. Quiñones appears at the end to interview the bystanders about their reactions. As the experiment goes on, psychology professors, teachers, or club members watch and discuss the video with Quiñones, explaining and making inferences on the bystanders’ reactions.

WWYD is ideal as topics of conversation. Teachers may guide students to have a speaking activity based on the issue provided in each scenario.

  1. Ask students the target question and collect their potential responses.

  2. Play the video in Chinese or English caption.

  3. Play the video again without captions.

  4. Group students to discuss the video in depth.

  5. Group students to write and role-play their own script.
  6. Assign homework based on the characters at issue, such as the homeless/homosexual/transexual/racist/minority, etc.

  7. Provide more links of WWYD for after-school learning.

Lists of WWYD:


What would you do if a man is denied service simply because he is homeless?

What would you do if a stranger collapses on the street in front of you?

What would you do if you witness adopted kids harrassed and bullied for having gay/lesbian parents?