Speak English on Monday

Nong Grace, Nong Tip and the students and teachers at Sriwittayapaknam School are proof that a "speak English day" is not only possible, but it's fun, especially when you have a global audience on the web.

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The video is very easy to understand so I have just added a few words of explanations for beginning learners. Teachers will be especially interested in the "How we did it" section that explains exactly how it and other similar videos were produced. To learn more about the outstanding Sriwittayapaknam school, see its website: http://www.swp.in.th/ and its Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/SrinaiSchool

Speak English on Monday

Easy English can be a lot of fun if you have something fun to talk about. Food is a great subject and that what the kids in this video are talking about.

Two students, Nong Grace and Nong Tip, are the main speakers. Nong Grace begins by telling us the subject"  "Today we're going to talk about food. What's you're favourite (ที่ชอบมากที่สุด, ของโปรด) food?"

After that, everything should be very easy to understand. There are just a few English words you might not know:

rabbit – a small animal with soft fur, long ears and a short tail กระต่าย
snail – a small soft creature with a hard round shell on its back, that moves very slowly and often eats garden plants. Some types of snail can be eaten. หอยทาก
snack – a small meal or amount of food, usually eaten in a hurry  อาหารว่าง, อาหารเบาๆ
snack shop – a shop where you can buy snacks
lunch – a meal eaten in the middle of the day อาหารกลางวัน
delicious – having a very good taste อร่อย

If you have any problems understanding what the students and teachers say, you can read the whole script at the Sriwittayapaknam website here: http://www.swp.in.th/

How we did it

Here is a short description from Sriwattanapaknam School on how this, and other videos, were produced.

Sriwittayapaknam School are running a number of different campaigns to promote the new government policy of “Speak English on Monday”. We are encouraging the students to speak English and not to be afraid to make a mistake. We have found from experience that the students already know a lot of vocabulary words but just lack the confidence in using them.

The first series of video clips involves one of the foreign teachers walking around the playground and classrooms during break time. He approaches people at random asking them some basic questions in English. In the earlier videos you will see some of the students running away when they see him approach. We are hoping that as they get used to this that they will become less shy. The video itself can also be seen as instructional as the students can learn how to answer questions by watching their friends.

These videos were shot using a Go Pro HD which is a very small  camera which not all of the students noticed. We used a microphone and a 7 meter long cable which meant the camera didn't have to be very near. 

The second series of videos we have uploaded to youtube and Facebook takes a different approach. This time we are using students as the anchor for a short video. Each week we take a different theme and get as many different students involved as we can. But the anchor student will always be the same.

These videos use an iPhone for everything. From shooting the clips, editing and also voice over. The final video is then uploaded from within the iPhone to YouTube. Nothing is done on the computer. Doing it this way the students can be a part of the production as it can be done anywhere at any time. Another advantage of using a mobile phone is that again it is not intrusive and the students are less shy.

After the first video was completed, the students then had an idea of what could be achieved. This meant for the second video that they contributed more with topics, what to shoot and also the script. We wrote the script for them, but encouraged them to change things to make it sound more natural. As they gain more experience we hope that they will become more involved.

We have received some good feedback from parents and students. Some said that they had watched many times to practice their English. Hopefully this will encourage more of them to take part and make videos. Next term I would like to see students going around the school in the break time asking their friends questions at random.

With any project like this, to be successful you really do need to keep it simple. Don't bite off more than you can chew as you probably won't complete the project. If it becomes hard work and time consuming then it is doubtful that it will be repeated often.