4 children sitting on chairs against a blue background holding coloured speech bubbles above their heads

Speaking a language confidently and coherently is an important part of the curriculum throughout the four devolved education departments in the United Kingdom, and forms a critical part of linguistic and cultural development for all learners of languages.

However, the impact of Covid-19 has meant that many pupils have had fewer opportunities to speak the languages they are learning.  Therefore, the Association for Language Learning, the British Council and the cultural and linguistic bodies in the United Kingdom have combined efforts to devise an exciting event entitled ‘Express Yourself in Lockdown’.

This will be an opportunity to showcase language learners’ enjoyment of a language that they are learning or that is normally used in their home community from home (except for English unless you are an EAL learner!). 

Language learners can prepare:

  • A short poem in the target language (written by themselves or by another author)
  • A short presentation on any theme e.g. climate change, equality, why I love languages
  • A short sketch
  • A short dialogue

This can be a solo or joint performance but should be no longer than 90 seconds in total and should be recorded in landscape mode. The participants will record themselves delivering their performance, however participants who are under-16 should use either PowerPoint slides/Bitmoji/other pictures or video imagery rather than showing their faces.

Teachers can then upload the performances to a teacher or school Twitter, Instagram or YouTube account with the hashtag #CelebrateSpeaking and the language chosen (e.g. #French or #EAL if applicable) by 28 February 2021.

Don't forget to tag @Schools_British on Twitter or @BritishCouncil on Instagram when sharing your entry.

Contributions are welcome from language learners / users of any age and any language. Adults can upload their performance from their own account.

Use the contributions from your school to create your own festival of languages to showcase how languages can still thrive in lockdown!

Tips for teachers and pupils

This celebration is not a test or a competition, but it is a short performance which may be viewed by others, and you might wish to consider these points:

  • Will you deliver a solo performance or work with someone else in your family / bubble / online? 
  • Will you deliver a presentation? Recite a poem? A role-play? Tell a very short story? Sing a song? Something else?

Whichever format you choose, you need to get ready to perform.

Tips for rehearsal

Rehearsal is important and helps you make your performance much better.

  • If you are reading someone else’s words, make sure you understand the meaning of what you are saying. 
  • Rehearse until you don’t need to read what you are saying. Reading aloud is a very difficult skill. It is much easier to perform something you have learnt, maybe using some prompts such as key-words or pictures.
  • Practise pronunciation.
  • Think about what kind of images you will use – a PowerPoint presentation / pictures / an avatar. Images are often copyrighted so may not be able to be used.
  • Speak at a smooth, clear pace that is easy to follow.

What makes a good entry?

Something everyone can enjoy listening to; it is clearly spoken, well-paced, and communicates to others.