Introduction

CBS News World consists of the 15-unit student textbook, two videocassettes with the 15 CBS News segments, and the Teachers Manual. The textbook is designed primarily to help students improve their listening skills through a variety of listening comprehension and cloze exercises that form the middle section of each unit, but it has also been designed with the intent of helping students better their functional and communicative English skills. We strongly recommend that instructors work through all of the exercises and sections in each unit to assure a solid grounding in each of the four basic language skills. Naturally, instructors are encouraged to emphasize the sections and exercises in each unit that best fit the needs of each class.

Each unit is divided into three sections?Before You Watch, While You Watch, and After You Watch. Before You Watch contains three exercises designed to introduce the topic of each unit. It is most effective when used to give students a general understanding of the topic and vocabulary of the segment they are about to watch, as well as a chance to communicate with each other by discussing or asking questions about issues specifically related to the topic of each unit. While You Watch focuses on listening exercises directly related to the video news segments. The five exercises are loosely arranged from least to most difficult. Thus, beginning level classes should focus more on the exercises at the beginning of the section, while more advanced classes can concentrate on the last three exercises. After You Watch is made up of three exercises that force students first to summarize and answer general questions about each video segment, then expand on their understanding of topic-related issues through group discussions and writing activities.

Before You Watch

Comprehension Warmup is made up of four multiple-choice questions asking students to make inferences from photos taken from the video segments of each unit. Students can use these questions to begin thinking about each of the topics and then try to find clues regarding the content of each segment.

Communication Warmup is an exercise that forces students to actively engage each topic before they know the specific content of the news segment. Students have a chance to form opinions, ask each other questions, and carefully consider each topic in a variety of communicative situations prior to watching the video segment. Instructors should also be aware that these activities are very flexible. They can be shortened, lengthened, or otherwise modified very easily, depending on the amount of time the instructor wants to spend on communicative tasks. These activities will be more successful, however, if they are carefully explained and prepared for students by the instructor beforehand. Outlining example sentences, question forms, grammatical patterns, etc. will help students get started and give them some concrete examples upon which they can expand. Further, most of the activities can be used as writing exercises and each unit also has additional Communication Warmup activities in the Teachers Manual.

Key Vocabulary is not only for teaching students new vocabulary, but also to prepare them for vocabulary they may only have used when reading. Knowing some of the more difficult words that will appear in each segment and knowing the context they will be used in will greatly assist students when they watch the video segments.

While You Watch

With the Sound Off is designed to give students a visual preview of each video segment, helping to familiarize them with the content, characters, background information, and other non-verbal communicative modes before listening to the video. A useful communicative activity to add to this exercise is to split students into groups once the question has been answered, then play, gwhat do we know so far?h Students first try to make sentences (either written or spoken) about all of the information they have learned so far. Then groups take turns reporting what they have discussed to the class before watching the video for the first time.

Whatfs it About? is both a reading and a cloze exercise. It is taken from the CBS News anchorfs introduction at the beginning of each video segment. Some extra time should be spent with students (especially those at the beginner level and lower) going over the meaning of the passage after the exercise is finished, as it sets the context for understanding the entire video segment. In addition, there are notes at the end of the segment scripts in the Teachers Manual for instructors who may be unfamiliar with certain terms or people mentioned in the segments.

Getting Specific Information asks students for specific information from a portion of the segment. Students may need to listen to the video more than once. A good way to add a speaking activity to this exercise is to have students work in pairs to check their answers orally (making sure they ask each other for the information, rather than simply looking at each otherfs written answers).

True or False is a general comprehension exercise that is the most difficult of the five in this section. It may be too difficult for the lowest level classes.

Listening for Details is similar to the Whatfs it About? exercise at the beginning of the section, but there are no answers to choose from, making it more challenging.

After You Watch

Reading for Details can be assigned in two ways. For lower-level students, it is best done according to the directions in the student textbook. For higher-level students, however, it is more challenging as a listening comprehension task that uses the video rather than the Summary Reading, which can then be used by students (working in pairs or groups) to make new questions that they ask each other.

Further Discussion consists of two open-ended discussion questions expanding on each unit topic. As with the Communication Warmup section, these questions can be easily modified in terms of length and complexity. They can also be used for writing assignments.

Further Study

For group projects, presentations, essays, or other out of class assignments, instructors are encouraged to have their students watch more news, both in Japanese and English, and to have students find some useful resources on the Internet. There is a list of sample Web sites at the end of each unit in the Teachers Manual.  

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank for Mr. Eiichi Tamura of Seibido, Co. Ltd.  for his continuous support and the reviewers of earlier versions who suggested various improvements.


Kazunori Nozawa
Ian Smith
Yuko Shimizu
Dianne Lim
Kusatsu, Shiga, October 2002