I have had a couple of e mails over the past week about Morris dancing! Well, I’ve never really thought about it, but I guess they do look rather silly. Someone asked me about the history behind Morris dancing and I have to say I don’t have a clue so I had a quick look at Wikipedia – and it seems that Morris dancers are not restricted to England as I thought. Yes, like many people I use Wikipedia but I always tell my students to use it with care. If you want some general background information then Wikipedia is fine but it is not generally accepted as a reliable source amongst academics which means it doesn’t look good in a bibliography. Remember: any idiot can publish something on the Internet (yes, including me!).
One of the things that English learners are constantly looking for is materials for listening practice. If you have a good Internet connection then it is very easy to find lots of English to listen to. But it’s not very easy to find English which is a bit simpler than usual with transcripts. I’ve been looking at a page on the BBC with lots of different listening exercises. What I like about this page of audio activites is the range of topics available – Climate Change, Pricing Strategies, New Urbanism, Emotional Intelligence, Crime, eBay, The Airbus….. Each of the listening exercises has some questions and the transcript so you can see what they are saying. My advice is to listen first without reading the transcript and then look at the transcript to help you understand the bits you couldn’t get. Then you can listen again without the transcript and it falls into place. Check out the BBC Listening Downloads Archive here!