BEING BILINGUAL – THE ABILITY TO SPEAK TWO LANGUAGES RATHER BADLY – A Post by Vanessa Paisley

BUT IT’S ÜBERCOOL…..

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Are you one of many parents out there bringing up kids bi- or trilingually? Are you sick of parents of monolingual kids telling you “Wow, your kids are so lucky” whilst you trawl through Maths in another language when you actually never really got it in your mother tongue? You barely understand the order of operations BODMA rule in English let alone its German KLAPUSTRI equivalent?

Oh I get you! I seriously do. All very time consuming when you are working and homework sessions seem to go on forever. Bringing up children bilingually takes a lot of commitment and consistency. I know it as I’ve been there, done it and yes, have two wonderful bicultural and bilingual children that move in and out of languages and cultures with the flexibility of an American Express platinum card.

But the early days were tough. As a British mother bringing two kids up in Austria, a lot of my friends and colleagues were constantly telling me how lucky I was that my kids were bilingual. I knew in my heart of hearts that this would be great long-term and their future employers would profit from their linguistic assets, but at home I was listening to the dreadful sounds of Denglish, and there was a time when every sentence my kids uttered was painful to my ears. These ranged from word order issues such as “Mummy, I want to the toilet go” (German sentence structure), to verb confusion “French did entfallen today” (was cancelled) and general noun usage errors like “Mum, can you make me a Wurstbrot” (open sandwich with luncheon meat) for words that didn’t really exist in English.

The only book I read on the topic was a bit dry (there were unfortunately no blogs back then) but the message I extracted from it was “keep it consistent” and this has definitely paid off.

battle board game challenge chess

BILINGUAL TIPS AND TRICKS

Let’s break it down into bitesize pieces and see how raising kids bilingually can be done as effectively as possible. Here are five ways of ensuring that bilingualism works:

  1. Be consistent. If you are the parent responsible for a particular language, stick to your mother tongue. Even if your child answers you back in the local language and you speak that language fluently or with your partner. Just don’t budge!
  2. Correct your child in a genteel fashion – the best way to do this is to repeat the incorrect sentence correctly, without pointing it out to the child. This is a bit tedious at the beginning as you may feel that every short exchange turns into a mammoth dialogue, but it really helps.
  3. Expose your child to as much of the less present language as possible, this may be in terms of TV, films and books from the lesser predominant culture. Find ways of making the language attractive – watching films together, cooking, inviting friends over and speaking the language. Their friends will often find having a bilingual friend rather exciting. Talking to them is really important!
  4. Keep family ties going with trips to their “other” culture(s) in the holidays and with Facetime & co, it’s easy to stay in contact with grandma and grandad or other relatives across the seas. This should be encouraged at a young age as teenagers sometimes want to travel less for FOMO as they get more integrated into their local life.
  5. Maybe your child can gain recognised qualifications in a language in the country you are residing in. In the UK it is possible to do a GCSE in most languages and although the school can’t provide all the teaching, they are usually more than happy for pupils go gain qualifications in their mother tongue.

GLOBAL MINDSET

Many parents feel guilty about bringing up kids in different cultures as there are transitional periods when kids suffer from the change. Trilingualism (e.g. parents with two different mother tongues living in a third country) may take a bit more effort and it often depends on the child as to how they cope with it.

Thankfully, it will all unfold with time. My children have been penalised somewhat in school systems – in Austria their lack of knowledge of English grammar such as when to use the present progressive meant they didn’t always get top marks in English despite their fluency.

In the UK they were able to do their German exams (GCSEs and A-Levels) early but they found doing scientific subjects difficult in English because of lack of knowledge and language. In exam scenarios they have to think long and hard about the differences between “examine”, “explain” and “analyse” in questions, partly because this approach is very British but also because their vocabulary is smaller in both languages. And yet they were never considered by the system in the UK to need extra time as they didn’t sound “foreign” enough.

three person doing hand gestures

DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE IMPORTANCE OF LINGUISTIC ASSETS

Being a multilinguist is a great skill for future employers and companies love ‘em! The neuroplasticity of bilingual brains is extensive. Do they think out of the box? Quite frankly NO! Because they don’t have any boxes to think out of! They are flexible, open-minded, empathetic, inclusive and very useful team members as they see value in and create synergy from different ideas and approaches.

Gone are the days when bilingualism was frowned upon – the tut-tutting of immigrants using their language on public transport or when immigrants were told by kindergartens and schools to speak the local language at home.

It’s something to be proud of and companies definitely do not undervalue linguistic assets. These days being ahead globally means having both knowledge of foreign markets and speaking foreign languages. So being bilingual gives you a step ahead – and it’s okay if your kids are not perfectly balanced bilinguals.  The effort and hard work you put in in their younger years is definitely worth it in the long run.

friends friendship fun girlfriend

Email Vanessa now at vanessa@paisley-communication.com to start a conversation on bringing up children multilingually.

And please share if you know anyone who may benefit from reading this.

About the author:

Vanessa has been training intercultural communication in various locations for around 14 years and is passionate about helping people relocate and reach their maximum potential from their time abroad.

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Classroom Training for Companies is NOT Dead! And, here is the business case.

10 reasons why classrooms beat screens – An opinion piece by Matthew Hill

At the moment I am battling with a large client to “save” classroom face-to-face training against the passionate arguments from a few of their senior directors who wish to take ALL content on-line and deliver educational content via virtual E learning packages.

Their logic for this centres on time, money and travel.

Time Management Course

The way they state it, in the long run, if the company builds, say, 100 units of virtual training, the job is done – There will be relatively little further expense. In their utopian vision of the future for education, the company will not have to move people around, book flights and hotels, repeat live training or pay for group suppers and trips to the local town amusements etc. From a purely financial perspective this is both understandable and correct.

But, What is missing here, and what is going to be lost?

Save the Classroom – 10 Things to Consider…

  1. Realism

The classroom affords a much more realistic representation of a corporate meeting, a heated discussion or a simple live pair dialogue. It is this realism that will adds educational value later when the participants are locked in conflict and combat for real.

Studies in learning impact mostly conclude that the closer a learning simulation is to reality, the greater the transfer is, making the new competence ready for use in an actual live and important work scenario.

So, the 3D simulation of realistic soft skills, leadership and change exercises found in classroom encounters is going to almost always be more fresh, alive and more nuance that its virtual equivalent.

You don’t learn to ride a bicycle by reading a book.

  1. Stimulation

A half decent facilitator will bring the room to life, the group to life and the material to life. They will add energy, manage the group dynamic, warm up the participants and use humour, drama and stories to illustrate many key points and, at just the right moment. This makes a difference in driving home the learning and makes any training session, special and memorable. Let us contrast this with many conversations I have had with corporate executives bored and frustrated with long, repetitive and “averaged out” on-line training materials. Just the delivery channel alone represents an unwelcome addition time tying the stressed executive to their laptop.

We are suffering from a plague of screen fatigue.

Change management course

  1. Tailored

A live training does not have to average out the talent in the room and cater for the median delegate. There will be the strugglers, the walkers and the sprinters too. They have different needs, separate learning style preferences and each has an ideal individual tempo. In a live encounter these subtleties can be serviced in many ways to help everybody to get to progress, satisfaction and a fuller understanding of the learning on offer.

One size does not fit all.

  1. Concentration

A great trainer will sense the corporate commercial context they are walking into and feel the energy in the room. Have some awful financial figures just been released? A round of redundancies announced? Has a product or service just failed? Or, is there a tension due to an on-going external threat such as Brexit or US trade protectionism?

The trainer is there on the ground and can shape the day and absorb concerns whilst leading the group to the commercial and educational objective via adapted strategies and behaviours that respect the bigger picture and the current perceived reality.

And, they can respond to the energy levels in the room by scheduling a break or putting in an extra exercise to manage the concentration or mood of the group live, as opposed to guessing the concentration span of the average participant months in advance and having to ignore any real time distractions.

Live energy management adds to great transfer outcomes.

Diverse group of people at a community center. Meet and greet.Group exercises

  1. Exercises

Spending live time with people gives more possibilities – Role play, team building initiatives, group discussion, feedback – giving and receiving, physical breakout groups and the live reconciliation of differing opinions, learning styles and behavioural preferences as experienced when any two or more people get down to business.

Dynamic simulation exercises leads to excitement leads to retention.

  1. Questions

The effectiveness of the classroom is realised when dealing with magic learning moments that are thrown up by a group interacting around critical topics in the intimate and personal space of the classroom.

With on-line delivery, exceptional cases beyond the obvious ones cannot be catered for, as the learning piece must, by definition target a lowest common denominator of material and methods.

When an average person gets stuck, they represent more than themselves. Live, the teaching can be paused as the facilitator illuminates the troubling topic from a new perspective to ensure understanding. It can be in these simple moments that the “aha” breakthrough occurs for many. Or, when the genius delegate spots something that even the experienced facilitator has not come across before. These incidents can be special and make the live event stand out in the memory of the participants and lead to the company attaining a level of awareness or breakthrough.

More,

Those break-time chats or questions can save lives and careers, starting when a quieter member seeks out help. They can do this because the facilitator has established a safe space with sufficient levels of trust and confidentiality for the confession or enquiry to occur. Early intervention can make a significant difference to outcome.

Cater for the exceptional, the quiet and the cautious to help the whole corporation.

  1. Networking

The opportunity in the classroom to meet new people, experience the philosophy of other departments and gain knowledge of alternative points of view from a variety of counterparts can be a major contributor in gluing together a disparate multi-site organisation of virtual workers so creating an esprit de corp that will produce a lasting benefit experienced in elevated levels of cooperation and exchange during a project or around the creation of a new product in the future.

Inspiration can be all around us.

  1. Retention

When pre-reading is assigned, this can be tested for comprehension in the room. During the session, simple memory techniques can be applied to help the learning stick. When a trainer asks what have you learnt to each participant, something powerful and effective occurs. There is a richer processing of the materials, a personal commitment to owning content and a chance to challenge any part of the material just covered.

Profound and intense exercises are the way to max the stickiness of material, and, a post training conf. call can further aid retention with 3 questions; What do you remember from the day? What have you applied and it is working? And, what have you attempted to apply and it is not working?

Deeper interaction leads to greater retention and better application.

  1. Collective Mistake

The best argument for the live classroom comes in the training moment when a collective company-wide misapprehension is revealed. If everybody at Company X believes something to be true and the trainer can show that an alternative explanation or method is valid, there can be a step evolution in outcome. The magic of modern time management or leaving the comfort zone during change are two excellent examples of this, where the majority view does not always represent the “truth” of the matter.

Live training can challenge group-think in a unique and powerful way.

  1. Cost

The number one reason for the shift to on-line learning platforms is cost. But, classrooms do not have to be so expensive and a more dynamic version, blended in with any pure on-line can really make a difference.

When training days are attached to regular conferences or regional meetings, the travel costs have already been apportioned. When the benefit of constructive networking, trust building in reducing escalations or the forming of profitable collaborative partnerships is added back in, the cost per head becomes more than attractive again.

And, in the spirit of constructive compromise, when a summary film is made, pre-reading materials are edited to boost charisma and energy, and, follow up training is delivered by live webinar, the live and virtual costs can be averaged out. When we otimize the cost of classroom and virtual live exchanges and create better non-live materials, we help the finance department to approve investment in training. This then helps generate exceptional knowledge retention to please the L&D department and stimulates and helps create competent and connected workers who now enjoy training sessions put on by the company.

A networked, trusting and collaborative team will beat a siloed one, every time.

Action

Please like and share if you agree with the arguments we have put forward, if you enjoy classroom training, or if, you feel that the classroom is a relevant space for learning, development and business improvement. Thanks.

Have I missed anything?

Can you add to the business case?

Please add any constructive comments that will add value to this piece. Thanks.

About the Author – Matthew Hill is a soft skills trainer working in Europe delivering dynamic group training live in the classroom.

 

Lucy Fogarty’s Culture Buff Games and Cartoons

Long time SIETARian, Lucy Fogarty has recently launched a company, Culture Buff Games  (to be found at http://www.culturebuffgames.com)   that develops country specific interactive cartoon-based games to help adults and teenagers learn about cultural values in a fun and engaging way. We have a suite of interactive cartoon games for British and American culture.

Lucy is looking for feedback on topics such as the use of cartoons as educational tools, the benefits of gamification, something we covered in George Simon’s recent webinar.

Culture Buff

https://www.culturebuffgames.com/#games

Film Clips – From International Intercultural Students

Tales from A Multicultural Classroom project – Films 

JAMK University of Applied Sciences, Finland

Our Tales from A Multicultural Classroom project (Tales) has it’s own channel on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6p0Wps-7OxNGSCmTTZrdVw
 
Our intercultural communication course for 1st year international business degree students and exchange students introduces a parallel workshop comprising simple video production techniques, including character development, script writing, story-boarding, shooting and editing. The results belong to the students, and they upload the videos to the channel voluntarily. We have had only one instance in which a video was not uploaded due to a student’s objection. Some of their work is shared here.
Here are a few favourites selected by Course Leader, Steve Crawford:
 
Stereofives
 
Five students from different nations try to solve the global financial crisis but run into stereotypical challenges:
 
 
Intercultural Plagiarism
 
Based on action research we conducted at our school, we discovered a phenomena we call “cheating without intent,” where students do not set out to cheat but find themselves in difficult circumstances that compel them to make bad decisions:
 
 
Dmitri’s Drama
 
A Russian student finds a difficult path to acculturation, and reaches a crisis point:
 
 
Lisa’s Acceptance
 
Newly off the press… A young girl discovers something new about herself in Finland:
 
 
A Cultural Deal
 
A Finnish girl finds herself in Italy to close a deal, and returns home empty-handed. (this video is often used with our critical incident analysis tool)
 

Film of ELC Webinar; Identity – Values – Language – Culture? Methods and Materials for Teaching Intercultural Competence in English

 

ELC Screen Jpeg

To watch the film click here; https://vimeo.com/224431112

Dr. Judith Mader and Dr. Rudi Camerer Broadcast from Frankfurt on the schools of thinking around culture, where the problems lie, effective blending learning methods, the use of critical incidents and case studies and how a combination of “home” work and classroom discussion for individuals or groups can work successfully.

If you enjoy the show and want to experience the ELC ICE course for yourself, feel free to contact Rudi at; R.Camerer@elc-consult.com

12 Training Film Clips – Culture, Leadership and Teams – Resources For Your Classroom

Training Resource Films – Intercultural Exchange, Diversity in Work, Leadership and Coaching, Conflict and Debate & the Power of the Individual in Business.

12 Films to use in your classroom

12 Films to use in your classroom

1, Wild Tales (2014) 6 Tales of Revenge. Directors – Pedro Almadova & Damian Szifran

Training Themes; Revenge, risk taking, morality in business and relationships

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNURIZWLm1M&list=PLhbb3wdghNhRk69plSRI2BMy5aXING4G-&index=1

2, The BP Coffee Spill – Humourous Metaphor – UCB Comedy Channel Team

Training Theme – Introducing a difficult topic into the training room.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AAa0gd7ClM

3, Morning Glory (2010) – First Meeting Scene – Rachel McAdams, Diane Keaton. Directed by Roger Michell

Training Themes; Multi – Focus orientation, assumptions about youth, change, active listening, testing authority & managing in chaos.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWrw5ogawS8

4, Recursos Humanos (2013) Rosio Manzano, Xavier Pamies, Director Juan Alvarez Llados

Training Themes, Sexual harassment, trading favours, wielding power and gender assumptions, bias and prejudice.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rS7PM9AUFjQ

5, Deloitte Diversity & Inclusion in Business (2015) Deloitte University Press

Training Theme – Diversity, inclusion, values in business

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7G0OUHnCudw

6, House of Cards (2014) Frank Underwood Ruthlessness Kevin Spacey, Netflix

Training Theme – Power, corruption, manipulation & ethics

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5Ha3IWeXOo

7, Suits – A Different Kind of Power – Donna Poulson – Sarah Rafferty, Netflix

Training Theme – Alternative sources of power, female roles – defined, prescribed and actual in business.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfX_lXvi008

8, The Intern (2015) – Robert De Niro, Anne Hathaway

Training Theme – Age discrimination & diversity.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6p2exVZttE

9, Erin Brokovich (2000) – Julia Roberts, Veanne Cox. Directory Steven Soderburgh – “F*cking Ugly Shoes”

Training Theme – Social status, educational prejudice and the consequences of assumptions.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZMg4vFcRQs

10, Andrew Stanton (Writer of Toy Story) – The Clues in the Story TED (2014)

McGregor the…

Training Theme – Reputation, story telling & humour.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxDwieKpawg

11, Finding Forrester (2000) Murray F. Abrahams, Rob Brown, Sean Connery. Director – Gus Van Sant

Training Themes; Assumptions about scholarship students and social status,

white privilege, institutional compliance, rules, power & race.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xSnraJOeOyM

12, Any Given Sunday (1999) – Motivation Speech – Al Pacino. Director – Oliver Stone

Training Themes – Responsibility, consequences, reputation, coaching, leadership, accountability, sacrifice, personal choice, motivation, power & salvation.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_iKg7nutNY

Please share and let us spread the word.

A Big thanks to all those that contributed to this list and those that took the time to prepare the work for YouTube.

What can YOU do at the SIETAR Congress to change your life?

A Guide to the European Intercultural Event of the Year by Matthew Hill     1, Meeting people With up to 450 people attending the SIETAR Congress in Leuven, Belgium later in May, There is no better opportunity this year … Continue reading

Make your Training STICK!

15 Suggestions to aid retention in the corporate classroom

I teach a number of short courses around Europe for a large organisation and like to ask my delegates which other courses they have attended and what they learnt in them. More often than not, not only do the executives not remember much or any content – they fail to recall the main course subject, especially if they took it is more than 6 months ago! Not very encouraging at the start of a fresh half-day programme.

Here are a number of insights that will help you, as trainer / coach, to assist your participants / coachees in remembering more of your words of wisdom. There may be a test later…

Young teacher working in school classroom

“Pay attention class!”

  1. Pay it forward – If the participants are asked to learn and interact in the classroom knowing that they will be asked to teach someone the key models, theories and findings, they will learn in a different way and invest in the course with a higher level of attention. When you learn to teach you learn more deeply. And when you teach you learn a second time.
  1. Learning buddies – When I train in a company building I ask, “Do you guys know each other?” If the answer is yes, I pair up the participants and give them a challenge to undertake after the training has finished. “When you meet again in the canteen of the corridor, help your learning by asking the question – what was the most important point you have taken from the training?”

When we strive to recall we recall. When we know we must recall we, again, process more deeply.

  1. Follow-up call – Add a follow-up telephone conference call one or two weeks after the face-to-face training has happened. Ask 3 simple questions in a call that lasts between 15 and 40 minutes. The questions are; A, What do you remember?, B, What have you tried from the course and it is working well? And, C, What have you tried from the course and its NOT working well? This gives the trainer a chance to find out if the messages have landed and landed correctly.
  1. If you measure before, you can measure after – You can only see improvement if you know where you started. Simple ways include either a pre-training intake form or administering a knowledge-based quiz at the beginning of the training. If an identical or similar quiz is administered again at the end, this can create a reasonable measure of the increase in learning that has occurred.
  1. Write your own summary – There are various versions of this. One I currently use quite a lot is to ask the students to collate an Excellence Charter of desirable behaviours and undesirable behaviours. I then asked them to present this back to me in a novel way. A recent triumph was a tech group who hijacked my computer and installed some software that animated the Star Wars credits and combined this with some dramatic content to prove their understanding of the material. I was impressed and we will all remember what was said.
  1. I do declare – Writing strong personal actions on post it notes and shouting them out to other people both aids memory and reinforces commitment to take the promised action. The participants are then asked to fold up the paper and put it next to money in their purse or wallet. When they are out in a bar or shop and move to pay for something they will be reminded of the training.
  1. Interrogation – By bombarding the participants with W questions, the trainer can create a modestly tense training environment where the students actively attempts to avoid stress by preparing the answers in their heads in case they are called upon. There is a limit to this method. It is not advisable to annoy a class to the point where they rebel!
  1. Mind map – It still surprises me that in 2018 many executives in Europe have not heard of this diagrammatic learning method. With a quick lesson in how to do them, it is fun to see how quickly bright executives pick up the technique and use it to reformulate their notes. This can be very effective especially when icons and colours are employed to create more complex schema.
  1. WIIFM? – The teacher and coach may boost the percentage of retention by tailoring the material to the known and specific needs and wants of the assembled learners. By honing the material and using more appropriate language and stories, the teacher’s efforts will hit the mark more frequently.
  1. Practice practice practice – With soft skills courses especially, repetition and dynamic exercises of increasing complexity can have an extraordinary beneficial effect. This is why it is good, if you’re proposing training and have some control, to ask for a second day. On the first day you apply the polish. And on the second day you bring out the shine.
  1. Sell the benefits – Related to 9. If you emphasise the positive outcomes for the individuals in the room, they are more likely to volunteer more of their attention. One fact I like to share is that, with specific courses, the diligent application of the key learning points and plenty of practice, a single delegate will experience an extra lifetime income boost of €5000,000. It is true. This fact has a powerful effect on class attitude.
  1. Review review reviewIf the student assigns space to review the key schematics and theories after one day, one week and one month, it is amazing how much more they retain permanently. Most people are not aware of learning decay and need to have the review time specifically scheduled and monitored by the teacher.
  1. Mnemonics and metaphors – The brain seems better able to remember when aided by dramatic tricks. At school we remembered the colour order of a rainbow by “Rowntrees of York give best individual value.” Another way is to create similes, metaphors and stories. If you can connect things to be remembered with brilliant and wild coloured associated images in motion and make them into a funny film with a jokey sound track, the facts themselves will be hard to forget.
  1. Question Time – A wonderful way of retaining learnt material is to question it in more detail after the training has finished. Searching for the topic on the TED website may throw up a keynote speaker who gives you a different perspective in just 17 minutes. This can reframe the your perspective and help you to keep more of the content in mind.
  1. Doublespeak – 15. may be a stretch too far, but I have tried it and it works. Peter Thomson in one of his three-day training sessions asked all participants to repeat every word he said silently in their head simultaneously. It feels very strange for a couple of minutes and then it seems fairly normal. Obviously your brain processes the 2 streams of words in a special way that seems to aid memory.

FUN – TEST TIME. Turn away from the screen, pick up a pen and paper and write down as many of the 15 ideas as you can remember!

Good luck.

About the Author – Matthew Hill is a class room trainer in the areas of culture, conflict, communication and leadership and has worked with 1000’s of executives having delivered live classroom training in more than 30 countries. Do feel free to contact him at matthew.hill@hillnetworks.com

 

Trainer Resources – 18 Team Building Exercises and Games – Video

1. – 3 Physical exercises to get the team moving and deciding as a group in the classroom – With thanks to the Vancouver Canucks for their Team Building Day video posted via YouTube.

Preparation – These games takes up some space, require some organisation and require the energy and input of a dynamic facilitator to ensure good group energy levels leading to a rewarding team building outcome;

Help build your team spirit

Help build your team spirit

Great version of the “Minefield” exercise with aluminium pie cases and opaque goggles with instructors directing from the side.

The Water bucket challenge – keeping up a bucket of water using the feet of a team in trainers and socks. Then, one person at a time removes their trainers and socks whilst everybody keeps the bucket in place.

Team skiing – This takes some DIY resources to drill out holes in 4 “skis” and attach ropes to the planks of wood. The ideas is that 4 or 5 team players “ski” in formation along an obstacle course – watch out for the turn around and see the difference in pace between a beginner team and how slick they become at the end of the exercise.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mtaqb_6BaRE

  1. If you don’t have the resources – This next set are so simple, lots of fun and involve competing with yourself…

Thanks to Australian, Mark Collard for filming and posting these. This name impulse game requires no resources other than chairs and a timer and produces some good clean competitive behaviour.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4GUZspslY0

  1. – And, finally, a wonderful fun team building / icebreaker exerciseKnee tag

This needs to be played by consenting, mobile & agile executives!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=asbgD6vsjfM

Thanks to Mark Collard at Playmeo for filming and posting this lively game on YouTube.