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Voice and Video recordings as homework. Our talk from IATEFL. Part 2. Retellings

In the previous post we gave you some insight into the idea of using recordings as homework and we went into more details about recording reading. We also demonstrated you our learners’ recordings.

In this post we’d like to show you how we work with retellings.

For retelling we take texts from:

  • coursebooks (we do use coursebooks at our school and we have a good reason for this, a topic for another post!),
  • texts we find on the Internet, e.g. from Learn English Teens
  •  videos, often based on materials from Jamie Keddie’s LessonStream  and Videotelling  or Kieran Donaphy’s Film English

Getting ready for retelling learners do even more thorough work with the text. They pay considerable attention to lexical and grammatical structures. As the result of this work, they have a chronologically listed set of phrases, e.g. idioms, phrasal verbs or strong collocations, to build their retelling on. Another way to support retelling is to prepare questions, by answering which learners get a coherent text. To make retelling more visual diagrams come handy.

The main condition for learners to meet is that they cannot read their retelling. Therefore video recording is preferable.

The advantages of retelling are the following:

  • Learners take their eyes off paper and try to retrieve the new lexical chunks and grammatical structures out of their memory.
  • Learners work towards moving passive language into their active vocabulary.
  • Teachers hear clearly if the learners learnt the text by heart or they actually retell the text thinking about sentence structure, including lexis and grammar, and about context.
  • Teachers can judge learners’ grasp of word order, lexical and grammatical structures and pronunciation.


started learning from scratch in 2015. Listen to his recordings


started learning English in 2013. Her level was pre-A1. In 2015 She successfully passed FCE. She carries on attending English classes at our school.

In the comments to the recordings, you can see the dates the recordings were made.

We’d love to know your opinion on this type of homework and answer your questions. So we kindly ask you to add your comments below and ask quesitons if you have any. We’re planning to have a webinar on our experience working with recordings later this summer and we’d like to make it as much useful to you as possible including what you’re most interested in not just repeat what we write in the post devoted to this part of our work.

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This entry was posted on June 10, 2017 by in Lesson ideas, Uncategorized.


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