Learning to operate within the interpretive communication mode for our students means that they need massive doses of authentic texts--listening, reading and video-based--which can give them the skills and confidence to encounter basically unknown texts with a positive attitude that predisposes them to try to figure out what is before them. This can only be achieved by teachers providing such texts in class and pointing students to resources that they can access outside of class to continue learning independently as they choose.


Locating listening texts that are appropriate and "Vygotskyian" for our leaners can be a challenge. Below are some sites where teachers may access texts from a variety of speakers, locales and levels that may be of use for numerous levels of instruction.


Audio-Lingua

http://www.audio-lingua is a website from the GEP (a Group of Pedagogical Experiments) of the Regional Centre of Pedagogical Documentation (C.R.D.P) in the Académie of Versailles. It offers listening passages from a variety of languages, and teachers may choose passages based on the following: gender of the speaker, age of the speaker, topic, language level (levels used in the European Union), and length of passage. All passages are authentic, can be streamed synchronously or downloaded for use later.


Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center

The Defense Language Institute, world renowned for its language development services to the military needs of the United States, generously makes available a number of its teaching and learning resources that classroom language teachers may find useful. A visit to its home site, www.dliflc.edu, and a look at the tab labeled "Products" will reveal a number of resource possibilities for teachers. Among the more promising options is that of the Global Online Language Support System (GLOSS), http://gloss.dliflc.edu/Default.aspx. Here teachers may choose authentic passages for listening and reading from a large variety of languages and also from different language levels (using the government rating scale of 0=Novice, 1=Intermediate, 2=Advanced, 3=Superior and 4=Distinguished). NOTE: Teachers should be advised about two things at this site: (1) Virtually no resources will be found for the Novice (0) level since this level is deemed as non-useful, and (2) Some of the lower-level listening passages are actually semi-scripts rather than totally authentic. The semi-script idea has been adopted for some of the lower listening levels because of the recognition that many authentic listening passages are just not useful for the beginning stages of listening development. Therefore, the semi-script lays out a real-life scenario, recorded by native speakers at perhaps slightly slower speed, whose general direction is laid out but whose actual speech lines are not, thus allowing for a spontaneous exchange between the two native speakers.


University of Texas at Austin

The University of Texas at Austin has produced audio passages that can be very useful for teachers of French (http://www.laits.utexas.edu/fi/) or Spanish (http://laits.utexas.edu/spe/). Teachers will find some of the passages more useful than others but all have are linked to proficiency levels which should facilitate planning and implementation of instruction. Sites like this one and those above can also be used to encourage extended learning outside of class for those students who are so motivated.