Wednesday, March 02, 2011


6.8 Option A Telephoning

This is an interesting podcast site ( with this "Calling in sick" topic seeming to generate a lot of user comments so it is obviously popular. I thought that while the topics such as "dialogue preview" and "take away" were well organized the vocabulary appeared to exceed the dialogue requirements. For example, headache, sore throat, back/arm/neck, runny nose, feverish, recover, etc. These vocabulary items seemed excessive for the simple needs of calling in sick rather describing the nature of illness rather than a need to postpone cancel arrival at work.

However the simple listening dialogue seemed to focus on much simpler vocabulary or expression requirements than the highlighted vocabulary. My students would very much require/appreciate a full dialogue transcript to go along with this listening. There also seems too much explanation and not enough listening practice. I would never want to encourage my students to take "personal days" as I generally accept medical doctor prescriptions for excused absences.

What I would do: I would present some or all of the telephone English expressions and examples from our resources and ask students to generate their own dialogues for this activity after practicing or listening to the podcast as well. Then as a form of blended extension I would ask them to proceed to either or voxopop talk group to record their conversation. Then these could be shared resources for the group of learners who might generate more resources and useful language review from their recordings.

The telephone does not present the same technological access challenges presented by video conferencing. For example, if you are sick you might prefer to use the phone to call your boss. However on a video phone you might need to present more visual cues and visual communication influences to indicate mood, feelings and non-verbal information. For example if someone was calling in sick from a video phone at Disney World it might be easy to spot the "personal day" ruse.

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