http://www.real-english.com/default.asp

Real English is a Registered Trademark of The Marzio School. The Best ESL ESL Videos ESL Lessons.

If you’re an ELT and you’re familiar with web 2.0, and blogs and stuff, I’m almost 100% sure you know and embed Real English videos from youtube.com channels. Indeed, Real-English videos are a popular choice amongst EFL teachers and learners. I have used them from day 1, especially those for beginners, because they include captions and their speech is spontaneous but manageable.

What’s Real-English?

The Web’s only online ESL site that utilizes authentic and natural ESL videos of people speaking real English on streets across the globe. Designed for individuals learning English, as well as for teachers and institutions, Real English offers unique ESL educational services, including a free subscription to for beginners, and unlimited chat with our teachers, for subscribers.

It’s a registered trademark of the Marzio School, an English language school in France, managed by Mike Marzio and co. Mike Marzio and friends interviewed people in the streets, real people in the US and in the UK and collected a wide range of clips, categorized by levels of difficulty and contents. It’s great to watch the spontaneous reactions to their questions, so that students can really grasp the English that’s really used in our daily lives. I find it more useful than those fake dialogues and the oh-so-boring listening exercises from textbooks, which claim to be authentic. But there’s nothing more authentic than authentic conversations. Real-English is realia in the EFL realm. Besides, they offer a wide range of accents and always always, an excellent sense of humor.

Videos are provided in different lengths, and they might include visual clues, such as captions, images, colors, etc. Each video is about a given topic, for instance, colors, or about a given grammatical structure. The interviewer asks the same question to every single interviewee, and since these are spontaneous dialogues from real life, interviewees’ answers differ from each other, not only in the content -obviously- but also in the form…which is the useful thing here, too, because learners will realize that there are many ways to talk about the same thing, for instance, when giving directions or telling the time.

What’s more, Marzio and co. are now working on providing some follow-up to the videos by including online activities for each video.

They also explain the vocab used in the video with images and teach you the pronunciation of the word with an audio clip.

My opinion about the site: They own a great treasure, i.e. probably the largest array of video resources/realia for EFL learners. That’s their motivation and you can easily feel it in the outcome. And now they have an amazing pile of videos to organize. Here’s where things don’t look that bright, when it comes to managing and organizing such an iniatitive. Of course, you know I’m gonna go 2.0 right now. What I miss  ( know it’s hard, as I told you, Mike, but IMPOSSIBLE IS NOTHING):

  • Something like RSS subscription to contents, so users don’t have to check what’s new every now and then, the new content gets to their RSS readers.
  • Searchable content: Via Google Site Search (1.0 solution). Or if the contents could be moved to a web 2.0 publishing platform, such as Wordpress, videos could be categorized and tagged with keywords, and they’d be easily found. So if a user wanted to know if there’s anything about ‘conditionals for intermediate levels’, they could search by categories (intermediate vs beginner vs advanced) and then by tags (conditionals vs modals, etc). The only way to find content as it is displayed right now is by scrolling up and down. That’s a real downside.

Of course, there are many things that could be implemented in terms of interaction, sharing and socialization  with and amongst users and standardization (of levels and terminology). I’ll keep them for myself, because I don’t want to bore you -more-.

To sum it up:

Real-English is highly recommendable for you, learning English, or for you, teaching English because contents are excellent.

And that’s what really matters. I’m fed up of posting here about sites which claim to have great multimedia resources for the EFL learner and teacher,  and when you go deeper you realize it’s just another 2.0 sleek site without a methodology behind, with just a bunch of videos form youtube or bliptv and stuff. Here’s the opposite. Probably the best content ever, but with a messy layout. Fortunately I believe the former  approach is difficult to be fixed, when your contents are poor and you seem to be more concerned on the appearance.  The latter can be fixed, because the most difficult part, i.e. producing high-quality content, is already achieved and it’s just about making the most out of it.

We’ll see in the -near- future…? Mike, if I were you, I’d go definitely 2.0. It’d be one of the best EFL sites ever. I can’t help but think of all the things you could offer to the users…

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7 Responses to “Real English: spontaneous, real English (videos)”

  1. AvatarMike Marzio
    1

    Thanks so much for the enthusiastic review! I think of the endless tasks involving my big general mess of a site to be cleaned up.

    What to do first?

    Instead of speaking about the site, I simply want to make an offer here, on Elena’s blog, of free online English lessons for the first 2 students who contact me by email saying that they read this message here and are interested.

    The rules are simple: we will look at Real English videos and lessons on the internet, and at the same time use either Skype or one of the Messengers, for text and voice chat. This is for any level student, but is not for students who want to prepare for a specific exam or certificate.

    I’d like to teach online this way as an experiment, with hopes that the student gets something positive out of it.

    I suggest using Skype or a popular Messenger just to keep things as simple as possible.

    Best wishes to all,

    Teacher Mike

    Reply to this comment.
  2. pingback pingback:
    2
    Real English is Really Listening. « Real English is listening.

    [...] June 30, 2008 Thanks to so much to Elena Benito-Ruiz for this enthusiastic review of Real English! [...]

    Reply to this comment.
  3. AvatarE.Benito Ruiz
    3
    Author Comment

    @Mike Marzio: Good idea, I’ll post about it (advertising).

    If I were you, I’d go for Skype.

    Reply to this comment.
  4. pingback pingback:
    4
    A free online EFL lesson with M. Marzio from Real English?

    [...] you remember the post on Real-English videos? Well, Mike Marzio himself left a comment there…and he’s offering [...]

    Reply to this comment.
  5. AvatarMichael Marzio
    5

    Hi again Elena,

    You wrote about my Real English passion project:

    “(snip) Fortunately I believe the former approach is difficult to be fixed, when your contents are poor and you seem to be more concerned on the appearance. The latter can be fixed, because the most difficult part, i.e. producing high-quality content, is already achieved and it’s just about making the most out of it.”

    I was going to write you via email, but I thought it might be more 2.0 and obviously internet-honest, to ask my question right here, in front of everybody: Can you help me? How much would it cost?

    I know you have to approve comments before they are actually published on EFL 2.0, so here we are, talking to each other both privately (if you so choose), or publicly (if you choose).

    It’s simply that you hit the nail right on the head. If Real English is going to continue to exist, it will be in a very new context that only smart youngsters could imagine.

    That’s about it. I simply want to concentrate on what I do best: thinking of questions to ask people which might be good for teaching, videotaping these wonderful volunteer people with my friends, editing, and finally rethinking how this speech could used to teach, in that order.

    TTYSoon i hope,

    Mike

    Reply to this comment.
  6. AvatarMichael Marzio
    6

    I see that it is no longer necessary to get approval to post on your blog. Does Wordpress have a slight advantage here? Reading, then Approving a comment with wordpress is a simple affair in my limited experience.

    Anyway, all the very best to you…

    Reply to this comment.
  7. AvatarE.Benito Ruiz
    7
    Author Comment

    @Michael Marzio: Hi Mike, I’d rather send you an email to discuss about these things. As a matter of fact I sent you one yesterday, in which I told you I’m kinda busy now, but just give me a couple of days. This is a hectic week…with Murphy’s law working at full throttle.

    Reply to this comment.

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