Kim Pilger, British Council trainer delivers training on speaking clubs for English teachers of An Giang province. ©

To Quoc Khanh, upper secondary English teacher in An Giang province.

British Council teacher trainers have been undertaking a project to help teachers in remote areas to set up and effectively run speaking clubs for their learners in order to encourage them to practice their English outside of the classroom.

In An Giang and Can Tho provinces in the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam, teachers have received training on how to manage and maintain speaking clubs for their learners. The project, which was organised by departments of education and training and British Council have reached both primary and secondary teachers, many of whom live and work in remote districts and whose students do not have access to as much English as their peers living in urban areas.

Working in schools in rural areas, trainers have trained and mentored teachers in order to run example clubs for students at different levels on a variety of different topics. As part of these speaking clubs, trainers have been able to raise awareness of important environmental issues such as river pollution which affect the lives of people in the Mekong. Both students and teachers have enjoyed being involved in these speaking clubs, relishing the opportunity to practice English in a less formal atmosphere while, at the same time, learning about issues which directly affect them and the place where they live.

As well as successfully running speaking clubs, many teachers have reported changes that both they and their students have made in their environmental practices - for example, not using plastic straws, using aluminum water bottles and setting up recycling centres in their schools to educate others.