Saturday, 14 January 2017

Right to Repair and Copyright Law: Listening, Reading and Writing Lesson

Students learn about copyright issues in tractor repair and practice their listening, reading and writing skills for the BTS end of program exam. 


The report focuses on a copyright law (the Digital Millenium Copyright Act of 1998) that tractor companies are using to condone the presence of digital locks on tractor software, which prevent farmers from fixing their tractors themselves. The reporter Laura Sydell interviews two farmers, whose testimony epitomize the unnecessary complications generated for farmers by the tractor companies proceedings and the deadlock farmers find themselves into.

This set of exercises is essentially a listening activity, followed by a reading exercise based on transcript, in which students answer questions in writing. So it is a good practice for the BTS end of program exam.


1. Listen and report

The first part is carried out in the same fashion as the TEDx speech listening exercise, that is 3 consecutive listening without pauses. Then I ask them to write a paragraph on what they have understood in French.

You can read about the pieces of advice I give to students to help them with their note-taking in this article : TEDx Oral Presentations Listening Skills.

It is crucial for students to be able to explain and put forward every single piece of information they have understood. Therefore I encourage them to use expression such as Il est question de..., la personne parle de..., but to avoid making risky connection between isolated words. 

For instance if they understood the word tractor and John Deere, they should write: Il est question d'un tracteur et la personne parle de John Deere. 

But they should avoid jumping to the conclusion that the person is speaking about a John Deere tractor if they haven't heard it. However once they have clearly laid out what they are sure of, they may take a chance and make assumptions which they can add by saying peut-être que... or il me semble que..

For example: Il est question d'un tracteur et la personne parle de John Deere. Peut-être qu'il s'agit d'un tracteur John Deere. 

When this stage is over, I give them a gapfill exercise. This allows a final detailed listening, during which students simultaneously hear and read the transcript. This is usually the moment when they realize the audio was not that difficult to understand, they just need to train their ear more.


2. Read and write

Finally, in order to get into the details of the text and make sure they have fully understood the situations and the issues at stake expressed in the report, I give a set of questions to answer in English.


Needless to say they are expected to write full sentences, although they'll probably need to be reminded!


Worksheets and audio:

This is the three minute version report that I edited myself with Audacity:




The full NPR report by Laura Sydell can be found at this address:

http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2015/08/17/432601480/diy-tractor-repair-runs-afoul-of-copyright-law 


You can click on the links below to access the worksheets:


DIY tractor repair running afoul of copyright law questions


JPEG versions of the worksheets are also available for download below :


Students  learn about copyright issues in tractor repairs and practice their listening, reading and writing skills for the BTS end of program exam.


Students  learn about copyright issues in tractor repairs and practice their listening, reading and writing skills for the BTS end of program exam.

No comments:

Post a Comment