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What is Real English® ?

2014 Update - A new interview of Michael Marzio, Real English® team leader.

Michael Marzio, 2012 ESL Teacher and VideoMakerIt all started over a decade ago when a group of American and British ESL teachers at the Marzio School in the south of France noticed that the traditional materials they were using from The Big Publishers to teach their students simply weren't doing the job they were supposedly designed for. Classroom English is all too often We filmed in many English-speaking countries."perfect" with slow short phrases spoken on the audio and video materials used with students. This is fine until the learners actually meet genuine Americans, British people, and other native speakers of English, to discover that nobody, in the real world, speaks "classroom English".

Michael Marzio and his friends & teachers started interviewing people on the streets of the USA and other countries during his vacations, came back to his school in France, and edited the video according to classic grammar structures and functions, in order to make the spontaneous, authentic, seemingly "fast" speech usable by different levels of students, including beginners.

The idea was to take the shock out of hearing real English for the first time. Since our students now watch and listen to real people, the shock is built into the method itself, saving learners many hours of frustration during their first weeks and months in new English-speaking environments.

The first results were in the form of video cassettes (now DVDs) & CD-ROMs. We now concentrate on web video and interactive web lessons for students. Our new site for mobile devices is under construction.

2012 has been a year of consolidation, while we make new exercises and throw out the old ones. We've also done new filming in New York, Miami Beach, and Seattle, Washington. We will be doing more filming soon, and for as long as I can.

Click to read: Welcome from Michael Marzio, founder of Real English

I began Real English a long time ago, in 1993. Although I continue to help manage the language school I founded in France, I spend almost all my time working on this site with help from different freinds and colleagues. It's simply a passion, and a constant learning experience.

Built from a simple idea

Real English is based on a simple idea which began with repeated incidents which occurred at The Marzio School. Our students came back to the EFL classroom after trips to the USA, the UK, Australia, and other countries, complaining to us that the people they met at business meetings didn't speak like we did in the classroom and they certainly didn't speak like the people on the audio tapes and videos that the big ESL publishers were producing, and which we were using every day. We were hearing this complaint with increasing frequency. In other words, despite our efforts to prepare them, our students were lost as soon as they heard real English at their destinations.

We then began to search for an answer to the question, “How do you bring spontaneous, authentic English to the ESL / EFL classroom for all levels of students, including beginners?” and “How do you make spontaneity manageable for purposes of learning the English language?”

We went about it step by step.

We traveled around the world with the best video equipment available and interviewed people in the streets to capture some real English with all the variety imaginable. We tried to ask questions which would elicit certain responses, providing us with examples of the grammar or function we were targeting for our new courses. What a surprise! We would ask simple questions such as "What did you do yesterday?" in order to have examples of the past tense for example, and so many people didn't even need the past tense to answer the question!

We began to change our strategy and course content to adapt to the way people actually spoke. These common but unexpected answers are mostly found in the upper intermediate and advanced sections of Real English. We were more conservative with beginners, using more standard responses because they need a more traditional ESL/EFL structure.

There are now over 350 one-hour video tapes behind me on my favorite shelf and over 100,000 lines of interviewer / interviewee speech in our databases. You will find the best video from this collection right here online. We also continue taping. This is now our 20th year.

One important bit of advice - Intermediate and even Advanced students should try some beginner lessons first. This will help you become familiar with the methodology used on the website, and introduce you to some concepts that are expanded in the intermediate and advanced sections. Particularly challenging, even for advanced students, are those lessons involving spelling. I have not yet met an advanced student who can do all the beginner exercises involving spelling people's names.

Real English is different. In the real world, people speak at normal speed, which seems, at first, to be very fast for nearly all students. So take your time and enjoy. I believe that you will find the people in the video clips engaging as well as instructive.

2012 has been a year of consolidation. We've made a lot of new lessons, using new techniques. Lessons take a long time to do well. We also did quite a bit of new filming again this year.

M.Marzio


My wife helped me a lot, and so did this interviewer! We continue to film, and make lessons based on the videos. You will not find any actors in our videos. All of our clips are based on people being themselves, speaking naturally and spontaneously, just like in the situations which learners will deal with when their training is finished, when they travel to English-speaking countries, or when they welcome English speakers into their homes and offices.

This emphasis on lexical items, functions and grammar provide an anchor and a counterpoint to the spontaneity of street video. This unique approach is greatly appreciated by teachers who have been using traditional materials, which present us with actors speaking slowly and distinctly, as if the real world were slow and distinct. The lessons include images and audio files directly related to what the speakers are saying in the videos, providing meaning for beginners and intermediate students alike.

The About Real English Video
(Credits for the Real English project):



The "What is Real English Video"
(Presentation of Typical Content):