Side by Side

The Competition

Two students hold a conversation by asking and answering questions, about any topic, using familiar language that has been explored during Language lessons. The conversation must be filmed as one take (i.e. no pausing or editing), which can be done using a device such as a tablet/smartphone and the assistance of a tripod or an additional person filming. Props and/or pictures can be used to add interest. 

The conversation needs to be spontaneous and should sound as natural as possible. This is an opportunity for students to apply the language structures that have been practiced previously, but in a slightly different context/with a different speaker/unpredictable question order. Language fillers, error correction, survival phrases and repair strategies are allowed and tolerated in order to sustain interaction. Access to written notes and scripted / rote learned dialogues are discouraged. Emphasis should be on meaning making and language fluency, rather than language accuracy. The task should be student led and teachers act only as facilitators by providing suggested scenarios/contexts. The Side by Side conversation should be completed at school and teachers may allocate time for students to plan scenarios and useful language during class. Suggested scenarios:

  • Two students at the park or in the garden, exchange information about their interests and leisure activities.
  • Two students are sitting at the table, eating their dinner. They exchange information about the meal and food preferences.
  • Two students are playing a board game or doing a puzzle. They interact while playing and exchange information about the game or puzzle.
  • Two students are sitting in the lounge room and about to watch TV. They discuss the program options and their viewing preferences.
  • Two students are at home and are discussing the plans for the weekend. They exchange suggestions about what they would like to do and come to an agreement for the plans – what, where and when.

Time limits for each category:

  • Years PP – 2:                30 seconds
  • Years 3 and 4:             40 seconds
  • Years 5 and 6:             60 seconds
  • Years 7 and 8:             90 seconds
  • Years 9 and 10:           2 minutes
  • Years 11 and 12:          3 minutes

Before entering the competition, students should read the Code of Conduct.


Second language learners. Students must be attending a Western Australian school. Please note: Background and first language learners are encouraged to participate in the Let Me Tell You a Story, Let Me Tell You in My Language competition.

The students’ teachers must be members of the MLTAWA.

Categories / Languages

Categories: Years PP-12

Language categories: Arabic, Auslan, Chinese, French, German, Hindi, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Modern Greek, Aboriginal Languages and Spanish.

Teachers/schools can only submit one entry for each language and year category.


The winners of each language and year category (where multiple eligible entries have been received) will receive a Winner’s Certificate and a $10 gift voucher per student. A trophy will be awarded to the school with the most winners for Primary (Years PP to 6) and in the Secondary categories (Years 7 to 12).

Winners will be invited to attend an event on 19th October 2023 to receive their prize and will be notified via email by 9 October 2023.

Videos of the winning submissions may be screened at future MLTAWA events and/or posted on the MLTAWA website, MLTAWA YouTube channel and the MLTAWA Facebook page.


Judging criteria

Each submission will be judged on:

  • Language deployment i.e. spoken spontaneously and naturally
  • Sustained interaction in the target language for no longer than the allocated time limit
  • Fluency i.e. the ability to maintain a flow, even if it requires use of repair strategies (e.g. “what I meant was”), survival phrases (e.g. “sorry could you repeat that”) and fillers (e.g. “um”)
  • Pronunciation and intonation

Each submission is judged on the language skills of both participants.


Submission process

Teachers/schools make the submissions. Submissions must be in a .M4V, .MP4, .mov or .avi format and uploaded to the submission page. The submission page is only accessible to MLTAWA members, so please log-in to submit your entries.

Submissions must be accompanied by a scanned copy of a signed Declaration Form for each student appearing in the videos. The declaration forms can also be uploaded to the submission page.

All competition submissions are bound by the MLTAWA competition Terms and Conditions.

Key Dates

17 July 2023                Side by Side  Competition launched

15 September 2023               Side by Side Competition submissions due

9 October 2023             Winners notified and invited to attend a MLTAWA event

19 October 2023          Winners collect their prizes and certificates at the MLTAWA Competitions’ Awards Ceremony

Related documents 

Declaration Form

Code of Conduct

Terms and Conditions

Enquiries: [email protected]

Quick links to the other MLTAWA Competitions

MLTAWA Languages Live!  Let Me Tell You a Story