Go Back   Teacher Talk > Using Authentic Materials

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 08-04-2008, 09:57 AM
love_hui love_hui is offline
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2
Default Choral speaking

Hi, everybody,

I'm looking for the "choral speaking". I hope can get a video comes with a script.

I hope it is suitable for primary students. Any website do you all know?

Thanks for all your help!!
Reply With Quote
Old 08-04-2008, 09:01 PM
Sam Simian's Avatar
Sam Simian Sam Simian is offline
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 61
Default Film Scripts and Transcripts

Dear Love Hui,

Film scripts are made before the movie is made, and the words and scenes are often quite different in the actual movie. Film transcripts are made after the movie is made, and the words and scenes are exactly the same as they are in the movie. If you are going to watch the film (or part of the film) in class, I think that it is better to use a transcript if one is available. One good source for film transcripts is Drew’s Script-o-Rama:
Another site is Simply Scripts:
You can, also, Google script “movie title” to try to find scripts or transcripts for the “movie title” that you are looking for. (I don’t know why, but Googling transcript “movie title” often does not work — even when it’s a transcript, not a script.)

When it comes to using films in class, Maria has done a wonderful job of summarizing some of the things that can be done with videos (Teacher Talk > Teaching Listening, Speaking, and Vocabulary > Conversation Help > 3 hour conversation classes):
One of the suggestions that’s especially germane to film scripts / transcripts is the following:
“[Take] a short and useful dialogue for 2 or 3 people from the movie, students read and practice it numerous times. The focus is on natural speech … , [not reading]. Students perform for class with appropriate body language. (Dialogue needs to be short and very important, it should be something the students could conceivably use: in a store, at work, asking questions, functions like inviting, apologizing, complaining, etc.)”
I think that her emphasis on “useful dialogues” is quite good, and I agree that that would be the most sensible way to choose scenes to use in class. However, I also think you could sometimes choose some fun scenes that are not particularly useful in real life — as long as the scenes are psychologically realistic and good examples of “natural speech.” So I think that it would, also, be appropriate to sometimes choose scenes from Pixar’s animated movies (for example, Toy Story, The Incredibles, and Ratatouille) or comedies (for example, Big, As Good as It Gets, and Little Miss Sunshine). I’m not entirely sure what you mean by choral speaking in relation to movies and [tran]scripts, but maybe you could do a variation on Maria’s exercise: that is, have the students watch a short scene, and then have the students read it aloud while focusing on natural speech.

As far as the films and transcripts being “suitable for primary students,” I’m not sure if you’re referring to age (primary school students), level (beginning EFL/ESL students), or both. As for primary school students, of the films that I mentioned, I think that all of Pixar’s movies would be appropriate, and Big would probably be suitable, too. As Good as It Gets and Little Miss Sunshine would not be appropriate for primary school students. As for beginning EFL/ESL students, all of the movies that I mentioned would be pretty tough — especially Little Miss Sunshine. However, I’ve found that Level One students in my classes can understand the stories in Pixar’s movies, but they often cannot understand the English. Nevertheless, with a little effort, I think that you can find scenes that aren’t too difficult for them.

I hope that some of this was helpful.

Sam Simian

Here are the sites where you can download (or copy and paste) the scripts / transcripts that I mentioned:

Toy Story

The Incredibles

(Click on Ratatouille, then click “Download Script”)


As Good as It Gets

Little Miss Sunshine
(Scroll down to Little Miss Sunshine, and then click on it.)

Last edited by Sam Simian; 08-05-2008 at 05:37 PM.
Reply With Quote
Old 08-04-2008, 10:21 PM
love_hui love_hui is offline
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2

Thanks your kindly help!! But, I'm not going to look for a film transcripts. You're misunderstanding. I'm looking for a "choral speaking" . It's not a film movie.

Students read the script text chorally. (This may vary some because, sometimes, groups or individuals are selected to read various parts or characters from the story). With teacher joining in, children are provided a model for fluency and expression. This variation works best with plays, predictable text, text with refrains, and text with lots of dialog.

I had found some good website, but they provided texts without videos.
I hope can get it and practice as well.

Do you get what I mean? Anyway, really thanks for your help.
Reply With Quote
Old 08-05-2008, 12:47 AM
Maria's Avatar
Maria Maria is offline
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 130
Default choral speaking

I understand what you mean by choral speaking, but if you don't mind me asking, why is video an important component?

For others who may not be familiar with the activity, check out these brief explanations:


Reply With Quote
Old 08-05-2008, 04:41 AM
Sam Simian's Avatar
Sam Simian Sam Simian is offline
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 61
Default Choral Speaking, Plays, and Reading Theater

Dear Love Hui,

I think that I understand what choral speaking is:
Following your description, I think that a script, or a transcript, for a film is similar to a “play” or a “text with lots of dialog.” I, also, think that a movie “provide[s] a model for fluency and expression.” (It’s even possible that the English that’s used in a movie might provide a better example of fluency and expression than many models in country where English is not the dominant language.) To me, a “text with refrains” sounds like a song. It’s often easy to find the lyrics to a song on the Internet. (Just Google lyrics or words and “the song’s name.”) Now, I assume that you want videos of choral speaking because you want a model for you and/or your students to follow. Am I right? Well, you can see many videos of choral speaking if you Google the following: video "Choral Speaking.” (I didn’t try to find “scripts” for any of these videos.) Here are some of the sites from the first page of results:

(And look under related videos, to the right.)


(The SMKL choral speaking group was easier to understand
than many others that I Googled, but I’m not sure what they
were talking about — the recent tsunami?)
(And look under related videos, to the right.)

(This group of videos might be identical to the first site. The first one definitely is. Look at some of the videos in the top, right-hand corner of the page.)

The good thing about these videos is most of the kids seem to be having fun. The bad thing is I often cannot understand what they are saying. I suppose that this technique might be helpful for shy kids, and it might be good for improving suprasegmental features (like stress, rhythm, and intonation), but as I found much of it incomprehensible, I don’t think that I would use it very much.

I taught in Japan, and at one of the private schools, we had children who ranged in age from 5 to 12. The owner put together an annual event in which the younger children sang songs and the older children performed in plays. I suppose that singing songs together is similar to choral speaking, but the children were much more comprehensible — and much younger — than most of the choral speaking groups that I saw online. However, I think that performing in a play is a better way to practice suprasegmental features and pronunciation, and I think it’s much closer to realistic language use: the kids memorized their lines and interacted with other kids. If you didn’t want to take the time for the students to memorize the words, I suppose that you could, simply, have the students read from scripts. (I gather this is called “reading theater.”) In other words, while choral speaking might be a good way to introduce something and involve shy children, I think that it would behoove the children if, ultimately, “individuals [were] selected to read various parts or characters from the story.”:

I hope that some of this was helpful.

Signing off,

I still think that using a short scene from, for example, Ratatouille that children have memorized (essentially, a play) or read from a script (that is, reading theater) would be a better way for kids to work on their English. You could have students watch a short scene, read the transcript, practice it, and then perform it. Here’s a possible excerpt from Ratatouille. (NOTE: I have edited the excerpt — mainly simplifying it.)


NOTE: All of the characters in this scene are rats.
Remy (The main character)
Emile (Remy’s brother)
Django (Remy’s father)
About 3 to 5 Worker Rats (Members of the clan)

[Remy smells something; which leads him to a nearly untouched piece of pastry, a discarded Napoleon.]

Remy: [Sniffing Napoleon] “Flour, eggs, sugar, vanilla bean, small twist of lemon...”

[The Napoleon suddenly erupts, and out pops Remy’s pudgy brother Emile, covered in cream and completely unaware of what he did to the Napoleon.]

Emile: You can smell all that? Wow. You have a gift.

Remy (V.O.): This is Emile, my brother. He’s easily impressed.

[An older rat, Django, comes into view. He picks up an apple core from the trash heap.]

Django: So you can smell ingredients. So what?

Remy (V.O.): This is my dad. He’s never impressed. He also happens to be the leader of our clan.

[Remy smells another scent and frowns; this new scent is different, wrong. He follows the scent to Django. Django is about to eat the apple core when Remy jumps at him and takes the core from his hands.]

Remy: Whoa whoa whoa! DON’T EAT THAT!!

[Still holding the apple core, Remy sniffs the air, and follows the scent to a tarp in the corner. He lifts it, revealing a can of rat poison. The other rats react. Django’s impressed.]

Remy (V.O.): Turns out that funny smell was rat poison. Suddenly Dad didn’t think my talent was useless. I was feeling pretty good about my gift. Until Dad gave me a job: “poison checker.”

[A line of rats file past Remy, holding up garbage so that each one passes under his nose. As Remy sniffs each piece of garbage, he is quite bored. The line moves forward with each “clean.”]

Remy: [sniffs before each one] Clean... clean... clean-erino ... cleaneriffic... close to Godliness —

[The rat just stands there. He doesn’t understand what Remy means.]

Remy: [Continued] — which means “clean”. You know — “Cleanliness is... close to—?”

[No response. Remy waits, expecting the rat to get his joke.]

Remy: [Continued]...never mind. Move on...

[The rat moves on. Remy continues his bored inspection.]

Remy (V.O.): Well, it made my dad proud.

Django: Now don’t you feel better, Remy? You’re doing something noble.

Remy (V.O.):
Noble? We’re thieves, Dad. And what we’re stealing is — let’s face it, garbage.

Django: It isn’t stealing if no one wants it.

Remy: If no one wants it, why are we stealing it?

Remy (V.O.): Let’s just say we have different points of view. This much I knew: if you are what you eat, then I only want to eat the good stuff.

[Remy pushes the garbage away. Django reacts.]

Remy (V.O.): But to my dad —

Django: Food is fuel. You get picky about what you put in the tank, your engine is gonna die. Now shut up and eat your garbage.

Remy: If we’re going to be thieves, why not steal the good stuff in the kitchen? Where nothing is poisoned.

Django: First of all, we are NOT thieves. Secondly, stay out of the kitchen and away from the humans. It’s dangerous.

Remy (V.O.): I know I’m supposed to hate humans. But there’s something about them...

If you are determined to use choral speaking, I would suggest that you use Carolyn Graham’s Jazz chants or one of the many variations that you can find on the Internet. I think that there are two advantages to these: 1.) they were written to be performed; 2.) realistic (or semi- realistic) language is used — “something the students could conceivably use: in a store, at work, asking questions, [or other] functions like inviting, apologizing, complaining, etc.” In addition, unlike the students in the videos above, I can usually understand what the students in the videos below are saying. (However, I think that performing these jazz chants would be, essentially, the same as performing choral speaking.)

(Carolyn Graham’s books for sale)

(“Choral speaking” performances of jazz chants)

(Free audio recordings and scripts of various jazz chants provided by One Stop English.)

My computer's crashed

Computer, computer,
I love my computer.
My printer, my keyboard, my mouse.
I never have problems,
I use it all day.
I never go out of the house!

Computer, computer,
I hate my computer.
My modem, my disk drive, my screen.
I always have problems,
It's driving me crazy.
Computers make me want to scream!

(This is one of the jazz chants — “My computer’s crashed” — from One Stop English. I love it! )

Last edited by Sam Simian; 08-05-2008 at 05:55 PM.
Reply With Quote
Old 08-06-2008, 03:21 AM
logos logos is offline
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 4

Hi Love Hui,

I notice from your profile that you are from Malaysia. I used to work at Jabatan Pelajaran Kelantan and so I know all too well what you mean by choral speaking. I personally see little value in forcing pupils to take part in the numerous competitions that are organised by public schools in Malaysia as many of the participants simply memorise the script, repeat it back like parrots, without a real understanding of what it is that they are saying. The real contribution that it does make to language learning is in the rehearsals, where everything should be conducted in English, but alas my experience has been that rehearsals are 99% Malay, Chinese or Tamil, depending upon your school background. Anyway, our State hosted the National choral speaking championships last year and so I have a CD of all the representatives from all the States in Malaysia and I would be happy to share this with you. If you are working in the State system, then contact your local PPD languages officer and ask him or her for these resources. This is their job, though they will probably say they know nothing about it!!! You can send me your postal address or contact me through mminc@streamyx.com and I can make arrangements to get the CD to you.

Reply With Quote
Old 08-06-2008, 04:35 AM
Sam Simian's Avatar
Sam Simian Sam Simian is offline
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 61
Default Is this normal in Malaysia?

Dear Michael (Logos),

Since you are familiar with choral speaking in Malaysia, I’d like to ask you about this … ummm … interesting activity. First, were any of the videos that I included links to recorded in Malaysia? Second, I can’t understand most of the students in the videos that I included links to. Am I being too critical, or do you feel the same? Third, are these videos representative of most — what should I call them? — choral groups? Fourth, your post suggests that these competitions are quite popular among “higher ups” in Malaysia’s public schools. Why do you think they like them? Finally, if I mail you a self-addressed stamped envelope, could you mail me a copy of the CD, too?

Sam Simian

Last edited by Sam Simian; 08-06-2008 at 09:24 AM.
Reply With Quote
Old 08-06-2008, 06:04 AM
logos logos is offline
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 4

I did not look at all the links you gave, but the ones I did see were really small groups of people performing jazz chants, which I agree are an excellent tool for use in a classroom to develop rhythm and pronunciation problems. Choral speaking - in Malaysia - consists of a team of at least 35 participants who usually stand in three or four rows. They have a script which they memorise and basically say the whole thing together. Naturally there is some creativity in that at some stages individuals can speak, or small groups, but generally the majority of the script is the whole group together. Some of the scripts can be extremely imaginative and amusing, but as you pointed out, in many performances the actual words are lost in the melee of everyone speaking together.

Originality is also achieved through small movements that the participants can make, usually limited to shakes of the head, slight bobbing up and down. The rules state that they cannot move any part of their body below their waist and must not use any hand movements that would 'endanger' other participants.

Every year there is a national competition with teams from every State in Malaysia taking part - at considerable expense. Imagine moving a team of over 40 people (including teachers and hangers on) from all the states to one place, and providing accommodation and food for all. Within each State there will already have been a number of preliminary rounds to determine which team will represent the State. In theory every school should submit a team, but in practice only a few who have enthusiastic teachers actually compete.

I think they are popular amongst Education officials mainly because they seem to have a large participation factor. 35 people speaking together must surely be better than one person giving a speech or four people in a debate!!!!!! In this way the schools can be 'seen' to giving everyone an opportunity to practice their English.

Please do not misunderstand me, that I am totally negative about Choral speaking. When conducted properly it can be great fun and entertaining. But in reality, the majority of the preparation is done in L1 (Malay, Chinese or Tamil) and the only English practiced is that in the script.

In addition to the choral speaking competitions they have now incorporated an 'Action song' competition where a smaller group of peple dance and dress up around a chant or song.

Don't worry about the stamped addressed envelope, I think i can run to a couple of bucks to send the post. Just e-mail me your address at mminc@streamyx.com and I will be happy to forward a copy
Reply With Quote
Old 08-06-2008, 01:21 PM
Rachel's Avatar
Rachel Rachel is offline
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 5
Default Choral speaking

I'm not sure, but I think the kind of thing that Love is inquiring about is what Logos has described.

Anyway, I found this site that sells "choral speaking" scripts. Is this what you had in mind, Logos?


Reply With Quote
Old 08-06-2008, 02:10 PM
logos logos is offline
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 4

You are correct, this is the sort of activity that is practiced in Malaysia. I have seen this site before and I have downloaded their introductory worksheet and whilst I acknowledge that hard work should be rewarded, the scripts here are too pricey for Malaysian pockets. There does seem to be a dearth of 'free' scripts online. Anyone in the mood to write some and give them gratis!!!
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump