Drawing on experience training workers on an Australian-run, Chinese-owned mine in Laos, Paul Anthony Marshall broke down his methods and research in using video and task repetition as an effective tool for improving language performance. Laotian workers, including teachers, miners, security guards and managers, were required to take intensive English lessons with the ultimate goal of transforming the mine into a Laotian-run endeavour. The workplace infrastructure and mining expertise were Australian-based, so initially knowledge and use of English was paramount.
Even though many workers were not well versed in the linguistic intricacies of their own language, it was expected some would ultimately receive instruction and instruct others on safety and practical measures around the worksite. The original language of instruction was English, therefore rapid acquisition of the same was expedient. Anthony and his students concentrated on the discourse elements of stress, repetition, pausing and stretching key words for emphasis within presentations. Students recorded and viewed their presentation, looking for these elements, conducted student self-assessment, and repeated the task. Using this deliberate form of noticing, improvement in language use in this setting was noted. The method is transferable to Japanese and other language students wishing to improve specifics of performance and communicative competence within presentations. Noticing and repetition can be beneficial in many language learning areas.
Anthony’s teaching experience was unique amongst the audience members, and his explanation and real life experience reflected the importance of effective English acquisition and use within the global community.