Many teachers and students have asked for longer listening activities that can stretch their listening endurance to new levels. Well, I have created these video activities which were created based on live broadcasts about a wide range of topics. Each video activity includes learning activities and a quiz to improve your English. I suggest watching this video to learn how to make the most of video on this site, including how to slow down the audio and reposition the video window for better viewing.
Open one of the tabs below to find the episodes and the related language activities.
Episode 31: Building a YouTube Presence from the Ground Up
Since 2005, YouTube has been the go-to video sharing platform for people around the world to learn new skills and ideas, including anything from fixing your car and training your dog not to chew on your furniture, to baking mouth-watering cookies. It has also been the platform that many people have used to teach and learn new languages. In this episode, Randall and his guest, Riadh Koubaa, talk about how teachers and students can create their own YouTube videos to promote learning of any kind. Riahd discusses his journey into language teaching, his interest in technology, and then his background in launching his own YouTube channel and building his recording studio.
Keeping simplicity in mind, Randall and Riadh explain how anyone can start their own YouTube channel on a shoestring budget with no experience while discussing the wide range of possibilities for those who want to build their own YouTube studio.
Episode 32: Celebrating Holidays and Special Events in Our Family
Around the world, holiday celebrations are a central part and important of our cultures, connecting us to our history, our values, our religious traditions, and our even our folklore. Much of what we do—our work schedules, our vacations, and gatherings with family and friends–revolve around these occasions.
Randall and his daughter, Emily Thorpe, rewind the clock and talk about how their family has celebrated holidays and special events over the years, and how their family practice is both similar and different from other people around them.
Episode 33: Teachers in Transition: Finding Meaning and Success Online
Since June of 2020, Randall has interviewed a number of inspiring teachers who have shared their stories of transition and transformation in the midst of the pandemic and the resulting difficult global circumstances. Randall has been impressed with the way that teachers are so chameleonic—ever adapting to the ebbs and flows of their profession. Teachers often express healthy vulnerability of feeling lost, frustrated, and at their wits end on trying to balance work and family. These shared feelings validate the struggle and bring about greater hope that teachers are not alone.
In this episode, Randall interviews Pragya Adhikari from Nepal on her journey into language teaching, the transition to online classes, and the skills, pedagogical tools and technologies that have made her classes a success.
Episode 34: Models of Online Learning: Challenges and Opportunities
Academic institutions and the lives of their teachers and students have experienced great disruptions throughout 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The results have presented new and difficult challenges for schools and family life around the world. That said, great bursts of innovation have come about that will impact education for years to come.
In this episode, Dr. Sameh A. Galil, Assistant Professor and Head of the Language Studies Department at Arab Open University in Saudi Arabia, speaks on his experiences in establishing and expanding opportunities for remote learning to students throughout the region.
Equally important is hearing the perspectives of students that are critical to this discussion. Sameh is joined by his son, Ahmed, a student majoring in Information Technology, who discusses the challenges and opportunities that online learning offers today and over the coming years.
Episode 35: “Whats, Whys, and Hows” of Language and Cultural Learning
For the past 30 years, Randall has received countless questions on how to develop language skills, how to improve our understanding of other cultures, and how to become a better friend to others. In many cases, he has been able to answer these questions; at other times, he has sought out the advice of other professionals; in some instances, he has had the humility to acknowledge that he is often just as lost as everyone else. However, he believes in the saying: “A mind is like a parachute; it only works when it is open.” We tend to learn when we are open to new perspectives and ideas.
In this broadcast, Randall and his guests take questions from viewers on any topic related to language learning and culture, and they try to provide meaningful answers them.
Episode 36: Fostering an Emotionally-Healthy Learning Environment at Home and School
Creating a positive learning environment at home and at school can be a rewarding, but challenging, process especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this episode, Randall discusses six of his greatest mistakes as a parent and a teacher and how recognizing and embracing his imperfections have lead to his continued transformation as a educator.
Episode 38: Welcoming the New Year – Plans and Goals for 2021
Randall welcomes the new year with warm wishes and hopes for the future. summarizes events of the past year, both personally and professionally, and highlights some of his plans and goals for 2021. Viewers share their own dreams and resolutions for the new year and how they hope to accomplish then.
Episode 21: Losing Someone to Suicide and Why Friends Matter
National Suicide Prevention Week (Sun, Sep 6, 2020 – Sat, Sep 12, 2020) is an annual event in the United States to increase awareness of suicide prevention and measures to support loved ones and friends. Yet, in the US and many places around the world, the unfortunate stigma of mental health disorders and suicide erect barriers of shame that prevent us from having meaningful conversation about suicide awareness, prevention, and true healing. As a result, many people suffer in silence and are unable to talk about their struggles, and they may not be able to able to receive meaningful and compassionate support and understanding from caregivers and friends.
However, teachers are often also on the front lines of this struggle when they encounter students or colleagues who are desperately in need of emotional support. While teachers are generally not trained on mental health issues, they still can have an immense impact on students by pointing them to available resources in their local community—they exist at all.
Unfortunately, there still lacks a great deal of understanding on the nature of suicide, and many myths regarding mental illness still abound.
In this episode, Randall relates the story of his son—the mental health issues, the incessant bullying that can happen at school, and the chronic depression—but also the ways in which Josh enriched our lives with empathy and hope. Randall dispels some of the common assumptions about mental health and suicide—from the point of view of a father, not a health professional—and suggests things that friends and family can do to support one and how to experience joy in the midst of grief.
Episode 22: Balancing Career, Family, and Life in the Pandemic Era
Nowadays, a common theme echoed by teachers around the world is that the pandemic has stretched them in different ways, professionally and personally. The words, “struggle” and “growth,” are often spoken in the same sentence when it comes to teachers’ experiences in finding their ways in uncharted territory. In many cases, teachers appreciate hearing the stories of others that help validate their experiences, and the knowledge that they are not alone can help soothe some of the frustration and uncertainty.
Nalleli Becerra Carrasco, an English teacher in Mexico, relates her own experiences in balancing career and family. In this episode, Nalleli describes her own path to becoming a language teacher and some aspects of the educational system in her country. She also relates the impact of COVID-19 on life and schools, including the challenges of caring for the educational needs of her children during this challenging time. Finally, Nalleli details some of her teaching ideas that have made a difference in her classroom and her hopes for the future.
Episode 24: If I Only Had One Day to Live
If today were the last day of your life, what would share with those closest to you that would hopefully serve as the guiding principles of their lives? What would be some of your innermost thoughts that you would tell them beyond, “I love you?”
In 2011, Randall decided to write a book and give to his children with the title, “Chronicles of Everyday Living: What if I only had One Day to Live?”￼ It outlines 13 principles of living that he felt would be important to his own children. In this episode, Randall will read some of his thoughts from the book that are perhaps relevant, not only to parents and friends, but also to teachers who want to instill important values into their classrooms.
Episode 25: Behind the Curtain: A Tour of Randall’s ESL Cyber Listening Lab
Randall discusses the background of his main Web site and answers commonly-asked questions about his work.
Episode 26: “Yes, We Can!” Learning and Succeeding in Learning English in Costa Rica
Randall interviews students from Costa Rica about the challenges and successes in learning English in their country. The talk about the unique features of their culture and conclude by sharing their plans for the future.
Episode 28: Lifted and Inspired: Teachers Who Have Made a Difference
All of us have probably been inspired by people who helped us learn new things, taught us to see the world in different ways, and guided us through difficult times. These life guides could be a parent, a next door neighbor, or a classroom teacher, and their influence often inspires to be better students, friends, and world neighbors.
In this episode, several guests share stories about their favorite teachers, and how these mentors changed their lives.
Episode 29: How the Pandemic Changed Me, My World, and My Teaching Forever
One year ago, the word, COVID-19, still hadn’t been born, and its tsunamic-like impact was only on the distant horizon for most of the world. However, since then, life on this planet has been radically altered and over one million people have died of the virus. Countless millions—billions— of other lives have been effected—socially, economically, and psychologically – for example.
In this episode, Randall and his guest, Paulina Rojas Ceciliano, share five perspectives on how their own lives and teaching have changed, and how the pandemic has shaped some new ideas on how students and teachers can move forward with hope into the future.
Episode 1: New Learning Opportunities
Overview: Randall discusses Memorial Day and the lost of his son, Joshua, and how these experiences have shaped his own life, Web site, and interaction with others.
Episode 2: Seeing the World Through Another Language
Overview: Randall relates insights on how learning a language can help you see the world and other people differently and more expansively.
Episode 3: Memorial Day – What it means to me?
Overview: Randall Davis shares insights on how learning a language can help you see the world and other people differently and more expansively.
Episode 4: The Danger of Stereotyping and How to Avoid it
Overview: Randall explains the danger of stereotyping and what we can do it avoid it. He shares experiences in which his own biases and stereotypes limited his understanding of others.
Episode 5: Behind the Scenes with Randall
Overview: Randall answers the most commonly-asked questions that he has received over the past 20 years about his work (teaching and Web site development) and life, and he invites listeners to join in the conversation by sharing their own questions and comments. Feel free to post your questions here beforehand so Randall can prepare.
Episode 8: Transforming My Teaching, Fatherhood, and Life
Overview: Although Randall has been a teacher and father for more than 30 years, some of the greatest learning experiences affecting his work, teaching, and personal life has taken place during the past few years. In this live broadcast, Randall opens up and discusses his life in an unvarnished and candid way—-mistakes and all—-and shares the top books that have helped him focus on better teaching, connection with students, and his family.
Episode 9:Thriving as a Private Online Language Teacher
Overview: The COVID-19 pandemic has radically changed the teaching and learning landscape from traditional classrooms to online educational environments. In many cases, teachers have lost their jobs or have found it difficult to adapt to the new world online teaching with their current school. As a result, many teachers wonder if there is a future for them in the language-teaching profession. In response to this dilemma, Randall interviews Elaine Oliveira, a private teacher in Brazil, on how to get started teaching privately online and finding ways to thrive at it.
Episode 10: How to Make the Most of Online Video for Language Learning
Overview: Randall talks about tips on how to use some Google Chrome extensions on your desktop or laptop browser to control the video playback on my site and other video content on the Internet. Wanna learn how to slow down video better, even within Nextflix? Watch this video to learn how.