Voice 1  

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Liz Waid.

Voice 2  

And I’m Colin Lowther. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1  

What does this sound like to you? Does it sound like a group of people arguing? Does it sound like a large family all talking at once? A party? Those are all good guesses! But this is the sound of a group of students in China. They are speaking English. Does it sound strange to you? This is how many people in China learn how to speak English. Today’s Spotlight is on a way of learning English called “Crazy English”.

Voice 2  

English is the most popular language for business and international communication. Millions of people all over the world are learning English. This is especially true in China. Some people even call China’s interest in English “English Fever”. For more than 20 years people in China have been excited to study English.

Photo by Kit Sanchez

Voice 1  

But for people in China, English is more than just another language. People see it as a tool to improve their lives. Many of these people believe that English can help them succeed in business. Others think it will help them find love. Some studies estimate that there are around 300 million people in China who are studying English.

Voice 2  

Years ago, Li Yang was one of these people studying English. Li Yang was born in the Northwest Chinese province of Xinjiang. His parents worked very hard at their jobs. They wanted Li to also work hard. If Li made a mistake on his school work, his mother would tear up the paper he was writing on.

Voice 1  

Li did not enjoy school very much. He did not enjoy studying. Li was also very quiet and shy. He did not like talking to people. When Li went to university, he had to take an English test. This was an important test that all students needed to take. So Li and his friend decided to read and speak outside every day. Li found that the louder he spoke, the better he felt. He said that he felt brave. Li believed that when he stopped shouting, he stopped learning.

Voice 2  

Reading and speaking is not a new way to learn how to speak a new language. Li took this method and made it louder. He began speaking English everywhere he went. When his friends went to sleep, he went outside and spoke there.

Voice 1  

When it was time to take the English test, Li got second place. The other students were surprised. Li kept using this method of learning. And after some time, he began to sound like a native English speaker.

Photo by Green Chameleon

Voice 2  

When Li finished school he got a job as an electrical engineer. He also taught English classes in his free time. After a few years he decided to quit his job and start his own English teaching company. Li and his sister rented an office and slept on the floor. His sister helped to manage the business and Li taught the classes. The business was named “Crazy English.” Crazy is another word for “insane” or “wild”. Li called the method of teaching “Crazy English” because it was so different.

Voice 1  

Li worked very hard teaching English. After a short time, more people heard about Li and his teaching methods. People wrote to him asking for materials.

Voice 2  

On one teaching trip, Li met Ouyang Weijian, the leader of an elementary school. Ouyang saw Li speak to a crowd of people. He was surprised by Li’s methods. Ouyang invited Li to teach an English class in his city. Li agreed. But Li did not know that so many people would attend. Five thousand people came to hear Li teach English. Li was very happy about the event.

Voice 1  

Years passed and the business grew. Ouyang joined Li Yang as the business manager. The crowds of people got larger and larger. People treated Li like a famous person. His method of teaching was very different.

Voice 2  

Going to a Li Yang English class is like going to a music event. Li Yang stands on the stage and shouts. The crowd repeats what he says. Together, thousands of people practice English words. Each word has a physical movement. The crowd raises and moves their arms together while shouting. This is Crazy English.

Voice 1  

Most people in China, and other places in the world, learn English in small classrooms. They study from books. They learn the words. They memorize the rules of the English language. But they are afraid to make a mistake. So they do not speak English out loud. Li wanted to change this. He wanted to make people feel strong in speaking English.

Voice 2  

But people do not always like Li’s methods. Some people say that methods like this do not follow Chinese culture. Or, they are just a quick idea to make money. But every person learns differently. Something that works for one person may not work for another.

Voice 1  

And this method seems to work for many of Li’s students. They enjoy Crazy English and believe that it is a good way to improve speaking English. Li has taught business groups. He has taught soldiers on top of the Great Wall of China. He helped many people improve their English to prepare for the 2008 Olympic events. In all these different places, Li tells his students one important lesson. He says they must “love losing face”. In a video for young adults, he said:

Voice 3  

“You have to make a lot of mistakes. You have to be laughed at by a lot of people. But that does not matter. Your future is totally different from other people’s futures.”

Voice 2

Li wants students to know that it is good to make mistakes. He wants them to enjoy making mistakes. Because he knows that if you are making mistakes, you are trying. And trying something is the first step to success.

Voice 1  

Today, the business of Crazy English is smaller than it was in the past. And Li has had some legal troubles. But the Crazy English method continues.

Voice 2  

What do you think about Li Yang’s Crazy English teaching method? Would shouting help you improve your English? Tell us how you practice English. You can leave a comment on our website. Or email us at radio@radioenglish.net. You can also comment on Facebook at Facebook.com/spotlightradio.

Voice 1  

The writer of this program was Joshua Leo. The producer was Michio Ozaki. The voices you heard were from the United States and the United Kingdom. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. Some of the audio in this program came from YouTube. You can find links to this audio on the script page for this program at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called, ‘Crazy English’.

Voice 2  

Look for our free listening app in the Google Play Store and in iTunes. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.


What is your favorite way to practice a language? Do people think it is odd?

Join the discussion

  • Really, “every person learns different. Something that works for one person may not work for another. ” To Learn languages is so interesting and I really love it. Normally, a way of learning English language that i am used to hearing Spotlight English app 2 times: first i listen it without reading, second I listen with the reading script, at the same time that I read louder each phrase (many times, until it sounds natural). I write on my notebook new words (used in phrases) and add them on quizzlet or Anki app.
    That is why I really appreciate Spotlight English. I am so grateful.

  • Crazy English.
    I think this is method is rtue.
    For me when I reading or speaking louder I feel good, and I fee confident. But when I stay silent l feel like cannot speake English never.

  • I develop my English by listening to podcasts, then I read the story or small novel and I writing about the subject in the every day to improve my writing and finally I speak with myself Loudly about 5 to 10 minutes.

  • My favorite way to learn english is to repeat the words and the phrases, dancing, working and thinking in english because I need to practice the pronunciation, to speaking with the others persons.

  • i feel shy to speak english to people because i afraid to make mistake
    i can’t find anyone to practice english with him.
    so can you help me

  • For me, i practice English in many ways, recently i know new method to learn as listen to this podcast, i hope can i improve my skills in short time!

  • Back in a days I used to start by studying the rules and grammar of the language and memorizing as much as I can of words. Now I’m focusing on developing the basic skills of any language, I start to listen to podcast and to write short paragraphs about random topics, and reading more English books. I will also try to speak English in a daily basis. I found this way of learning English more fun and effective.

  • l think to practice any language must on one speaking ,listening, reading .
    if you find people to your encourage , it’s best of way .
    no ,l don’t think that .

  • Crazy English is good method to learn English because it’s fux on basic skill practice to English language , the shouting it’s so help to learn and improve this language

  • My favorite method is skill practice English it’s so good and different ..I leasing to podcast, writing a little expression and usually I reading a short story …..it’s a true to learn any language that is not odd

  • My favorite way to practice language it’s speak all the time in it such as when i want order from the cafe or restaurant. that is very effective with me.
    Yes, it’s very odd but i think it’s effective method of china students or any one likes this method.

  • I think it is a crazy way and never change any thing except pain in my throat. The perfect way for me is to practice English during your day by listening then reading. After that start speaking and writing. I used to connect English vocabularies with arabic one to remember them easily.

  • Best method from my opinion because in our society English learning is slow and it didn’t give good results, from more than two years is that I am joined with English but till now I am not complete.

  • The ways to learn english it is very a lot but we have to finding our way to learn english your way to learn english it is different. May be your way to be famous more than the way of crazy English

  • It would be interesting to know what the problems hsd these Chinese teachers with the Chinese authorities. Just curious.

  • What is your favorite way to picture a language . Maybe after you Found love don’t care everyday you see you love it to talk hair you love it more and more languag and do you people think that it is odd. No it’s not weird but after you to change in yourself and your other people you don’t know it what you talking about I mean after you see people you just you know what characters yourself I mean you are after you see people what you doing what you talking about with you anything you know it to change you looking all the people you this weird why you change this point

  • May it good method but, I didn’t do it but, sometime I read louder but I am not shouting, I usually learn English in normal way, I usually read progrem After that I listen to the program, and I do practice for the writing and speaking.

  • I think crazy English is the best way to break fear but it should be practiced every day to improve yourself, my plan is to listen to the lights, read science books and write about the topic of listening and talking to myself, my level has changed so my advice do not warn if you do not see any change.

  • I learned english by listing, it a great way to speak and talk english with others!
    But i like Li’s method its get you confident and more strong when you speak ! ♡

  • For me , the best way to practice for me is Cambly application . Is very good to practice because he has many teachers around the Europe.

  • I think the best way to learn English is by listening and reading and watch some movies if u have a lot of free time talking with ur friends.

  • My favourite ways is
    I always standing in front of the mirror and talk to myself loudly
    Also I listen to native speaker
    Also I read more story

  • I like the Lee mothed it feel me exited when I hear about his mothed .
    Amm my favorite way is listen,thinking my idea whith English and pannin on my task.
    I don’t think so because ithe is the right way to right learn.

  • Crazy English name is very excited. I think it will help people who want to learn and improve your English skill to be more confident when speaking English.

    I think shouting is the same mean with read and speak louder.
    I have just learned English with this method for 3 weeks. Everyday, instead of learning English by traditional method, I alway read and speak English louder and more times.

    And I see that my reading skill is improved more. Can say Crazy English is effective to me.

  • I don’t have a favorite way to learn English and I don’t have the environment to practice, so I still can’t master it. But now that I have a direction, I am quite confident in the future to be good at English

  • I am quite afraid of making mistakes when I write E. I think I should discussion in the end of podcasts to improve my skill writing E. I hope I can write without fear of being wrong or use google translate. My skill speaking and writing are very weak, I need improve its. I will try my best. Thanks spotlight about a method of speaking English.

  • For me I develop my English language by listening and reading I usually use spotlight for that and another important thing is to speak with people how you can practice your new words without use them maybe at the next days I will also try to writing some random topics as you know a lot of people here don’t speak English I think this way has a big value and I hope to speak fluently in the future I work very hard to achieve that

  • English is the second language that I have learned since birth. I have been learning English for 12 years but I do not good at it. Because I do not focus on it as well as I do not have methods to learn its effect. Maybe, until now I knew the importance of learning English in my life. When I enter the university, I know learning English was very important for my life as well as my job. I find out many documents and sources to learn English. Besides, I also register in the class communication English with the high free. But it is not an effect for me.
    I think the best way to love a new language is to use it every day. I believe that English is very necessary to increase my high salary as well as improve myself. So this is motivation help me learning English and using English every day. When I find out the methods from my English teacher who gives me a lot of motivation and lessons. I think more lessons also the way make me use English every day that helps me better than. Additionally, my work is required quite high English. I want to earn money from my job so it is reason help me trying every day.

  • “Crazy English” piqued my interest, and I decided to pay attention to this topic. I agree with the statement “Speak out loud and don’t be scared of making mistakes. ” When I was in the beginning stages of learning, my teacher constantly encouraged me to speak up. And all of my friends who

  • “Crazy English” piqued my interest, and I decided to pay attention to this topic. I agree with the statement “Speak out loud and don’t be scared of making mistakes. ” When I was in the beginning stages of learning, my teacher constantly encouraged me to speak up. And all of my friends who live with me say that it is not required and that it would be very difficult if I went through with it. But, in reality, all of the difficulties associated with learning English were resolved. I’m still learning about these techniques. I was able to recall this tone more clearly, and I immediately changed my accent of speech.

  • I practice the English language by listening reading and speaking with myself and other people
    I’m glad and satisfied

  • I improve my Enlish by practice it eveyday. I learn speaking skill using Elsa app, this is a great app to improve speaking skill at this moment. But, I think the best method is practice English as speaking, listening, writing, reading using English language everyday.

  • My favorit way to learning english is by listening to some brodcasting in english iand some story in it . After that i try to write a topic about some word i learnt from these lession and also try to speak with myself front mirror . Most people like this way in learning

  • I think this method is really strange.
    So I don’t think this way will work with me. I think the most important thing to practice English is speak with a friends or a teacher. And I advised people to download “Camply” app it’s really you will get helping you to practice English.

  • I think the crazy English it can be work but not all because the method different for one person and another one , my way to learn English it listening and reading but i dont have any one to improve my language with her if someone want to talk together peals reply my comment

  • İm studying in youtube english stories, spotlight stories, vs vs there are alot of material today, learning english very easy todays, i think

  • actually I don’t know if it helpful or not but I practice myself by listening to podcasts and reading stories and writing about any thing and make conversation with myself that’s so helpful Actually

  • In fact practice English language is awsome and if the person speak English language in his day, and make his day in English it will be wonderful to practice in short time you will notice that you conversition is beter than past.

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Episode 2