English Speaking Practice ⚡️ Lockdown Challenge!
Find out more about the Lockdown Challenge we ran in 2020!
Hey there I’m Emma from mmmEnglish. Even though we’re apart, there are people watching and learning English with us right now all around the world which is very cool to think about. So I wanted to do something special to bring us all together and I’m really excited to share this idea with you. I hope you’re up for the challenge!
Quite a few years ago, I ran a competition with my mmmEnglish students to practise with my imitation lessons and improve pronunciation and their English expression. In fact, let me know if you joined that challenge way back then. Let me know in the comments below.
Now there were quite a few imitation lessons on my channel so I picked one and I asked my students to practise with it, to practise several times and then record themselves performing it and then they sent it to me.
And I was blown away because they had been practising so much that it literally sounded like me, like I was listening to myself. They used the same intonation, the same tone their pronunciation was much clearer because they’ve been practising and imitating me as I spoke. Some people even sent me videos where they copied my facial expression and the gestures that I was using. It was like looking in a mirror.
So I want to do it all again and I have this idea to share your amazing work with the whole mmmEnglish community right here on YouTube. Think of it as a bit of a project for all of us to work on over the next couple of weeks. Are you up for it?
Four things that you need to know about this challenge are it involves practising with this lesson and then recording yourself on video and uploading it to your YouTube channel. So I’ll be watching your videos and selecting some to feature on the mmmEnglish channel.
Plus I’m gonna choose five to give personalised pronunciation feedback on. I’ll give all the specific details about at the end of this video, alright? So excited about this!
If you’re a regular mmmEnglish student, well you probably already know how my imitation lessons work. So feel free to skip ahead to step number one, it starts right there (04:29).
Now if you’re new to the imitation technique, you might be wondering what is it? And how does it work? So it’s a technique that is super effective when it comes to improving your spoken English. It teaches you to listen to the patterns and the rhythm of English and trains you to produce the English sounds that you need really naturally just through repetition and practice.
Now if you haven’t done a lesson like this before, don’t worry. There are just three steps that you need to follow.
The first step is you just need to listen to what I say and read the words on the screen as I say them so you’re just getting familiar with the story.
In the next step, you’re gonna be listening to what I say but then there’s gonna be a pause afterwards so that you can repeat exactly what I said exactly as you hear me. And this is a step that you can repeat over and over again until you think that you’re starting to sound very similar to me, the way that I’m pronouncing and expressing myself.
You can even slow down the speed of the video if you want to practise more slowly and then return it to a regular pace when you’re ready and you’ll need to practise a few times because step number three is a bit of a challenge even for a native speaker because you’re going to be listening to me and saying what I’m saying at the same time so you’ll have me in your headphones or your ear pods and you’ll be speaking as you hear me speak.
It’s gonna be tricky and you’re probably gonna make lots of mistakes until you get it right but it’s gonna be a lot of fun too.
So you’re ready to practise now. I’m gonna be talking about current affairs. My take on what’s going on around us at the moment so this is what we’re going to use to practise with. so this is what we’re going to use to practise with. Let’s get started.
Step one’s easy. You’re just listening and reading.
Let’s take a quick break from the fear and chaos around us at the moment, and talk about how awesome humans are. We just can’t help but be around each other! Even in lockdown, we are finding ways to be social! Communities are dancing and singing on their balconies and collectively applauding all of the health workers for everything that they are doing and sacrificing for us.
Countries are offering to take sick people from their neighbours, to care for them. People are donating not just money, but time and energy as well! Buying groceries for others, making face masks, running free online meditation classes. Some local restaurants are offering free meals to medical staff. It is incredible to see how we can all come together!
And at the same time, the entire world is taking a huge collective breath and slowing down. But to be honest… That part was forced on us! But, perhaps it is something we needed. Not forever, just as a way to reset, you know? To prioritise what is really important.
I mean, without thousands of planes flying and millions of cars on the road, the air is getting cleaner. We’re not rushing from place to place like we used to. We are finding beauty in the littlest things – the things that we never noticed before. And no rush-hour commute means more time spent with kids, or taking care of ourselves. A little extra sleep; a little more exercise; a good book; wholesome, home-cooked meals; and great conversation. I’m really grateful for the chance to live a little less hectically for a while. We’ll get through this together. We will come out the other side. And as SOON as lockdown is over, I’m going to…
Step two is listen and repeat. It’s as simple as it sounds but make sure you slow it down if you need to.
So you want to try and shadow me now? It is definitely gonna take a few goes of this to start feeling like you’ve actually got it right? But imagine that you’re learning to sing a song, you’ve got to learn the words but you’ve also got to learn the rhythm right and the expression?
So the imitation technique is very much like learning to sing your favourite song, right? You’ve just got to practise a few times before you can really get your voice behind it.
And that’s it! So the idea here is to practise this again and again. So the idea here is to practise this again and again. but believe that you will get better as you practise and you become more familiar with the meaning and the tone.
This is an awesome opportunity to work on your pronunciation with me and to get into the habit of natural rhythm and gestures as well. natural rhythm and gestures as well.
But let’s talk about how the mmmEnglish community video will work because this is a chance for you to be featured on the mmmEnglish Channel along with a whole bunch of other mmmEnglish students from around the world.
So it’s going to be a mash-up of all of us together which is super cool. Plus, I’ll be choosing five videos to give pronunciation feedback for so for those students, I’ll make a personalised video for you to help you with your pronunciation and to help you improve it further.
Once you’ve practised this lesson, the imitation technique, as many times as you want to then you’ll need to record yourself. So you can do it on a phone or on your computer but just make sure that you’re filming in landscape not portrait mode.
If you mess up or you get tongue-tied, don’t worry just start the recording again. That’s the beauty of a recording, right? You can redo it until you’re satisfied.
Once you’re happy with it, upload the video to your YouTube account. It can’t be private, otherwise, I can’t see it so make sure it’s public or unlisted.
Upload the video by Sunday the 19th of April and make sure you use our hashtag in the title of the video, alright? That’s going to help me to find it.
If you upload the video and use the hashtag #mmmEnglishChallenge, then I’ll assume that you’re okay with me sharing it on the YouTube channel. If you’re not comfortable with me sharing your video then don’t do it, don’t do the challenge.
The last step is just to make sure you’re a subscriber of mmmEnglish.
So I’m really, really excited about this, it’s never been done before on my channel. I’m really looking forward to seeing your recordings and also to making this community mashup video and getting everyone together.
Make sure you like this video, you subscribe if you haven’t already. Take good care of yourselves and I will see you very soon.
Links mentioned in the video
Practise phrasal verbs in conversation
Advanced Speaking Practice: English Imitation Lesson
English Speaking Practice ⚡️ Lockdown Challenge!