Sounds Awful

Posted on November 5, 2012


Here’s a few activities which might fit in with lessons on sounds, noise pollution, the senses or mobile phone etiquette. It includes conversation practice and an out-of-class activity which involves students making recordings with their mobile phones.

Idea One : Video

a) Show your students the still image from the beginning of the video below (make sure you hide the title bar at the top of the video player) and tell them that something unexpected is going to happen. Ask them to guess what happens.

b) Show the video. Ask your students for their reactions to the video and, more generally, for their opinions on mobile phone use in public places (Prompts: How do you think the violinist felt? How do you think the person whose phone rang felt? In what situations can mobile phone use be annoying? etc).

Idea Two : Conversation

Ask your students to discuss the following questions on annoying sounds in pairs or small groups (I usually project these documents on the screen in full-screen mode, it saves on photocopies).

Idea Three : Record an annoying sound

For “homework”, ask your students to make a mobile phone recording of an everyday sound which they find particularly annoying. At the beginning of the next class put your students in groups and ask them to listen to each other’s recordings, they should try and guess what the sounds are and where they were recorded. The different sounds should then be explained by the student responsible for the recording (what it is, where they were, why they find it annoying, whether other people are equally annoyed, how the sound could be avoided or made less annoying etc).

If you really want to go to town, here are a few more ideas …

1. Students might like to make their recordings using Soundcloud. After installing the app on their phones and making their recordings, they could then embed the Soundcloud player (with a written description) on a blog or wiki.

2. If you don’t have a class blog/wiki, you may like to try out a simple content-publishing tool called Tackk. This click-and-type application enables you to create and share an on-line “poster” by adding headlines, body text and media from a variety of different sources (Youtube, Instagram, Soundcloud). Here’s an example.

3. On a more positive note, get your students to do the activity again, but this time recording sounds that they find pleasant and/or relaxing.

Hope you find these ideas useful!

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