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Embassy English 15 April 2017 - by By Karina Bailey, English Teacher, Embassy English Melbourne

Bringing English to Life at Embassy Melbourne


Students are accustomed to learning within a classroom with their peers reading from a textbook, but our Bringing English to Life programme at Embassy English aims to change that. “BETL” is an opportunity for students to use English in a realistic way. By leaving the classroom, they can see that the skills we have taught them in class can be used in their everyday lives.

Students come out of these activities feeling proud of their achievements and excited to participate more in English speaking society.

At Embassy Melbourne, we use different types of BETL activities: inside the classroom, around the building and outside the school.
Of course these projects can be nerve-wracking for students, but as teachers we must create an environment where students will feel comfortable and safe to speak to other students or native speakers.
In my opinion, it is the enthusiasm of the teacher that creates the best environment.

 

This can be achieved by giving an academic purpose for the activity, preparing them for interactions (e.g. polite interruptions, the kinds of people to approach, what to do if someone says no etc.) and a pep-talk before and after the activity.
Teachers generally do one activity every two weeks and we all do a big project in week 12/13.
Each teacher does their project differently but it consists of two important components: students must speak with native speakers and must create a video of their interview. 

 

I usually join with another class and divide the groups into a mix confident and shy. For lower levels I give them a topic and they can think of questions or for higher levels I let them choose their topic and questions.
They then have one week after the BETL excursion to edit their video and we watch them in class together voting for the best one.  
With these activities, we upload videos and photos of the activity on our Instagram or if they are longer, onto YouTube. 
This is how we produce the #BETL & #EmbassyMelbourne posts.
Recently we had a photo competition using these hashtags around Melbourne with the best teacher photo and best class photo winning a prize.
It’s a great way for students to have photos and videos of their time here as well as see how they have progressed. 

 

Here are a few of our favourite BETL activities at Embassy Melbourne
– Elementary students pretending to call each other with their phones not facing each other.
– Pre-Intermediate students using clothes when pretending to be shop keepers and customers.
– Intermediate students presenting a news story like a news anchor with backdrops or news music.
– Students creating a scene in the street or café or park or shop to make it feel more realistic.
– Elementary students ordering a coffee from Starbucks.
– Pre-Intermediate students asking for people for directions.
– Intermediate students going to shopping centres and asking for products of which they don’t know the name.
– Upper-Intermediate calling native speakers and asking questions.
To learn more about studying English in exciting Embassy Melbourne in Australia, contact us today! 

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