Friday, January 20, 2012

Audio: What is a "passive" home?

A2, B1, B2

In this audio programme from the VOA Special English site, you will learn what a "passive" home is and how it  saves energy. The programme is written in simplified American English and the presenters speak slowly to help you with comprehension. American accents.  Audio time: 3 minutes 55 seconds. Total activity time: 15 to 30 minutes.


Task: Listen to the programme without reading the transcript and discover:

- how much of the total US energy use comes from homes
- how much passive homes reduce energy costs
- how passive homes are similar to or different from normal homes
- the temperature inside an unfinished passive home on a cold winter's day
- where and when the first passive home was built
- the price compared with normal homes
- how passive homes can be made more energy-efficient

Then read the transcript and check your answers.

If you have problems understanding, listen with the transcript. Then cover the transcript, listen again and answer the questions.

Go to the activity here.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Video: Words in the News - Weather

A2, B1, B2

In this short video from the BBC Learning English website, you will learn some words often used in the news for describing extreme weather conditions in the news. You will also do a short exercise to practise the vocabulary. Video time: 2-3 minutes. Activity time: 10 to 30 minutes.

Task: 1 Watch the video
2  Go down the page to the "Report and vocabulary" section. Read the transcript and look at the definitions of the words if necessary.
3 Watch the video again and read the text aloud at the same time as the speaker.
4 Go down to the "Exercise" section. Do the exercise and check your answers on the right.

Go to the activity here.

If you want to learn more vocabulary about extreme weather, go to this article from the Washington Post.



Video: Motivation at work

B2, C1, C2

Daniel H. Pink is an expert on the changing world of work. In this talk from the RSA  site, you will hear how motivation at work isn't always driven by money, at least for those doing more intellectual jobs. The talk is illustrated by a cartoonist, who reproduces the key points with cartoons and text. Video time: 10 minutes 48 seconds. Activity time: 20 minutes to 1 hour.

Task: Watch the video, pausing at intervals to look at the illustrations and relate them to what the speaker has just said. If you find it too difficult to follow, read the transcript and check difficult vocabulary in a dictionary. Then watch the video again.  

Go to the video here.


Read the transcript here.