Over a six-year period, between 2015 and 2021, Voice of Vietnam (VOV) broadcast three different British Council learner radio series (‘Obla Air’, ‘Middleton Hall’, and ‘Merton Mysteries’). It is estimated that more than half a million listeners tuned in to improve their English language skills while enjoying the episodes. The programmes are broadcast on both VOV5 and VOV2. An all-English format is broadcast on the English language channel VOV5 while a bilingual format is broadcast on the Culture and Education channel VOV2. For VOV, the British Council programmes are regarded an essential part of their English language programming.
“The British Council radio programmes are fascinating and bring new features to foreign language learning programmes on VOV. The programmes are attractive with lively content. Audiences can listen to English native speakers and daily life stories which help gain new experiences and improve listening comprehension skills and vocabulary. During the broadcast of the programmes, VOV receive positive feedback from listeners from different localities via phone, including adults and young listeners. The British Council programmes are praised as useful, attractive and developing a sense of anticipation for each new episode. The British Council English learner radio series can be considered as one of the highlights to attract and retain VOV listeners.” – International Cooperation Department, Voice of Vietnam.
Below, we learn more about the impact that these three radio series have had on two young Vietnamese learners of English.
Nguyen Minh Phuong, from Hanoi, has been listening to British Council radio programmes on VOV for five years. As a high school student, she would listen to the programmes to improve her English skills. At first, she found the level of English quite difficult, but, after one or two months, she gradually got used to it, “I could learn in a very natural way when communicating and some basic grammar”. Phuong says her high school English lessons tended to focus on grammar and writing skills, she wasn’t a confident speaker and felt ‘shy and awkward’ when she had to communicate in English. But after listening to the programmes, her listening improved, and she feels comfortable and relaxed. Phuong’s vocabulary has also improved, and she no longer feels nervous when exposed to English. Phuong says she would recommend listening to the British Council radio programmes to those who want to improve their English vocabulary and listening skills.
“My listening skills improved a lot when listening to the programmes. I am more confident. I used to be quite afraid of listening to English. But after listening to the programmes, I was able to improve this skill. My pronunciation has also improved. I have learnt a lot of useful lessons through the programmes. The best thing is that I have improved my listening and speaking skills.”