If you’ve ever tried recording real conversations and interviews to use as class materials, you’ll know how difficult it is. Just a few of the problems include:
- In normal conversation, speakers will refer to things they share knowledge of, that students won’t understand (or need to know)
- Spontaneous speech is often REALLY boring. What’s interesting for the people in the room can be very long winded and dull for outsiders
- Technical issues – capturing good quality audio is hard, and if you want video as well it gets even harder.
So you’d think creating a site with large numbers of videos of natural and engaging conversation would be an impossible undertaking. But it’s not. In fact there’s a site that’s been doing it successfully for years: Real English®. It’s a great resource for English learners – the language is graded and well organized and it has interactive exercises and a mobile section too.
Mike Marzio is the founder and he’s been a pioneer in the art of the spontaneous ELT interview with the man (and woman) in the street. The camera just seems to love some of his interviewees, but I also think Mike has a very strong editting eye.
I don’t know how much footage Mike cuts from the raw interviews that he and his team collect, but I’d wager that it’s stacks more than the materials he actually uses. That’s a great strength because when you put a discerning EFL professional in charge of video editing decisions, it means you can overcome the obstacles I listed above.
I think the website is a remarkable achievement and a real inspiration for other video makers (like me!). Thanks Mike, and may Real English® keep forging a path forward, growing and rocking for many years to come.