WATCH AND LEARN
Using videos in class - for teachers; Useful channels to follow - for students; Personal Experience - Bea Hyde Owens.
USING VIDEOS IN CLASS
Educational videos have been a means of education and entertainment in class for the duration of their existence, allowing the teachers a time of respite while the students lounged on their chairs supposedly absorbing knowledge from the TV screen. A VHS brought out at the beginning of the class provoked an immediate cheer from the class, for in reality it signified a lesson spent doing mostly nothing.
Using videos to learn a language, at the same time, is not a new idea, but the way we do it has changed. More so, the media itself is now dramatically different from the original hour-long films and programs. The students are more involved, the videos themselves are shorter, and the ways we can engage with them are aplenty.
Why should we use videos?
First of all, they help break the routine and make lessons more fun. If you always do simple listening activities, the students may get a little bored, and videos help with that. Also, they improve comprehension, because your students can follow gestures, lip movement and see the context, which in combination enables students to understand a more complex material. Furthermore, they foster cultural interest in your students and can boost their motivation to learn more about the language and the target culture. Finally, your students’ pronunciation and intonation will greatly benefit from watching such videos.
Although a video seems like a standalone type of media, the way we use it in class may be rather reminiscent of an audio. After all, it is nothing more than a listening activity that just happens to engage the eyes. Therefore, the stages we plan for the video will mostly copy those of a listening exercise. There must be:
- a lead-in
- a pre-watching task
- a question for general understanding (watch 1st time)
- a question for details (watch 2nd time)
- feedback and discussion
It is important to note that, typically, a video shouldn’t be longer than 5 minutes. Shorter for lower levels, longer for higher levels, but the average length is as such.
On the other hand, since videos are visual, you can get a bit more creative with the exercises you will give. One way to spice it up is to take screenshots of different parts of the video and use them:
- ask the students to guess what the video is going to be about;
- order the screenshots before or while watching;
- match the screenshots and vocabulary, phrases, sentences, titles;
- describe the screenshots using new vocabulary and/or grammar;
- retell the video using the screenshots for help.
Another great activity that stimulates creative thinking and may inspire a lively discussion is pausing the video and asking students to guess what is going to happen next. For lower levels, the video should have clear context and a predictable ending, whereas the higher ones will be able to talk about more abstract matters.
Lip-synching activities may not work will all students, but they are great if your objective is to improve pronunciation and intonation. Alternatively, you can even reenact the whole scene (when the videos are conversational or situational), and can serve as a lead-in to role-playing. These tasks help break barriers and increase students’ confidence.
If you are looking for a creative follow-up activity, ask your students to write the sequel, or continue the story using their own ideas. By involving one more type of activity, you will help them consolidate new vocabulary and grammatical structures.
Here are some lessons that involve working with videos:
1). Unique Coffee Shops in Seattle, A2 - few people don’t like coffee and some even base their whole personalities around it. Do a personality test, watch the video and prepare a project of a coffee shop.
2). What's your guilty pleasure? A2 - watch an extract from a TV program about America’s top guilty pleasures and discover the strangest ones.
3). The internet language, A2 - find out what common contractions in texts mean and watch a video about them
4). Brewing a name: marketing happy hour, B1-B2, - this lesson focuses on the strategies behind brand names and will be interesting not only to those working in Marketing.
5). Electric scooters, B2 - talk about public transport and how scooters are changing our cities, watch a video and find out why they are banned in New York and London.
6). Travel and transport. Participle clauses, B1 - learn about different types of transport and watch a documentary video about a man, who walks everywhere with his dog.
7). Crime and the police, B2 - Learn crime vocabulary and watch a video about the dumbest criminals in the world.
8). Appearance, Comparatives, B1 - describe appearance and discuss insecurities after watching a Dove ad campaign and an instagram story about beauty filters.
9). A1 Daily exercises - listening and reading 🟡 Food, Daily routine - let your elementary students practice comprehension by watching a video about cooking
Do you use videos in your lessons? What are your favourite channels, sites or resources? Do you have a go-to video lesson plan?
10 Must-Watch YouTube Channels for ESL Learners
Thanks to the internet, specifically some YouTube channels in this article, you can now learn English online with e-learning videos. What’re your favs?
In today’s digital world, technology integration allows for limitless learning. Thanks to the internet, you can now learn English at your fingertips.
On YouTube — the home of videos, you can find a variety of channels that help you to develop your English skills while being totally entertained and accompanied at the same time.
With those interactive videos, you can “sit-in” on every lesson from anywhere at any time and might as well learn at your own pace, play the videos, pause it, and rewatch it, until you have a solid grasp on the concept.
While it’s hard to find the true gold among a bunch of videos that show up in searches, we’ll tell you some of our favorite YouTube channels to learn English effortlessly.
EnglishClub provides you with a variety of ways to learn English on its channel. From songs to chats, this channel offers you lessons in a fun, engaging way.
EnglishClub shows that learning English doesn’t have to be all complicated and daunting. With short and simple videos, you can memorize the words and distinguish them more easily and quickly.
This channel is suitable both for elementary school students and adults that want to develop their English skills in such a light-hearted way.
2. Learn English with EnglishClass101
This channel is pretty rich in content. Whether you’re preparing for TOEFL or just improving your conversation skills, this channel offers you the content you need.
Learn English with EnglishClass101 also offers you 24/7 live streaming, so you don’t have to be confused about what video you should begin with.
In this channel, you’ll meet Alisha, who guides you through the lessons. From vocabulary to actionable tips, she’ll help you to improve and develop your English skills seamlessly.
3. Learn English With TV Series
If you love watching TV and want to learn English at the same time, then you’ll love this channel. Learn English With TV Series allows you to improve and practice your listening comprehension using your favorite TV shows or movies.
It breaks down vocabulary on the TV shows or movies and gets more in-depth about it. You’ll know how native speakers really pronounce the words and what they actually mean.
Overall, this channel provides you with dynamic English lessons with some everyday humor and real-life examples of English pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar.
4. JamesESL English Lessons
When you learn English with James, it’s like you’re learning from a friendly, easygoing mentor. He teaches you English using a whiteboard so it can put you in learning mode as if you’re in a class.
James provides lessons that are 10-30 minutes long and focus on subjects such as pronunciation, phrasal verbs, vocabulary, and grammar usage.
The videos on this channel cover a variety of practical tips and clear instructions. JamesESL is a great resource for learners from any country.
5. Shaw English Online
Shaw English Online is like your online English course — except it’s free. You’ll meet some teachers that will teach you the lessons.
From grammar lessons, conversations, pronunciation, those teachers help you in making your English better and more natural.
There are hundreds of English videos you can watch. Not only lessons or courses, though, this channel also includes podcasts and Q&As so you can get actionable tips from the experts.
6. English with Lucy
If you want to learn more about British English, then you should check out English with Lucy. Learning English through this channel is like learning with your friend as Lucy brings a quirky sensibility to learning English.
Her lessons are informative, practical, and a lot of fun. The lessons are delivered in an engaging way using casual and conversational words so you can digest the concept much better.
In this channel, you’ll learn how to pronounce words, use phrases, learn new vocabulary — all of them in British English. You can also watch some fun videos of Lucy and friends that compare English accents and slang from different English-speaking countries.
7. 7ESL Learning English
7ESL Learning English provides a compelling way to improve English skills using animations. As an ESL student, you must’ve noticed that learning English is much more than memorizing vocabulary and studying grammar.
You also need to be familiar with idioms and expressions to sound fluent. In other words, you need to understand the language structure.
This is what this channel aims for — to help you get to know new cultures and think in English.
8. Oxford Online English
Oxford Online English is a UK-based channel that spoils you with premium-quality online English lessons to suit your needs.
This channel provides not only basic lessons for beginners but also advanced tips for IELTS, Cambridge B1 Preliminary exams, Cambridge FCE (B2), and more. That’s what makes this channel suitable for both beginners and advanced ESL learners.
There’s a new lesson every week so you won’t run out of lessons.
9. Easy English
As the name suggests, Easy English makes learning English easy. With cartoon animation, the lessons are easy to understand for almost everyone. They mostly contain conversations on various topics that will help you improve your vocabulary.
The videos stage skits where the cartoon characters simply have a common everyday conversation about a certain topic in a specific situation. There are also subtitles to help you understand better what they’re talking about and what the uncommon words mean.
10. Rachel’s English
Rachel’s English focuses on American pronunciation. Since the owner, Rachel, has a background in classical singing, she brings her expertise of voice and pronunciation to her channel.
There are many easy-to-follow tips and instructions that can improve your pronunciation and shape the way you talk. They help you pronounce words properly.
This channel should be your go-to if you want to refine your pronunciation and speak American English just like a native speaker.
Now that ESL/ELL teachers have been willing to turn the cameras on themselves and teach you online — for free, you can find thousands of lessons to help improve your English on YouTube. So if you want a quick and easy way of learning English, then the platform is one of the best places to go. In the platform, you’ll know how words are really said by real people and what expressions they use. That way, you won’t only learn new vocabulary and grammar, but also understand how English speakers talk and interact.
What are your favourite Youtube channels to watch and improve the listening skills?
Hi! My name’s Bea. I’ve been teaching English on and off for about 10 years now in various countries. My students have ranged from toddlers to learners in their 60s, studying exam, business, and general English. Now, I mainly teach general English to adults from all over the world.
Do you ever use videos in class? What kinds? Where do you find them?
I use videos All. The. Time. Love it. They’re great for getting away from the stilted, forced dialogues you often find in textbook media (which, don’t get me wrong, definitely have their place too). I like to compile a list of topics my students are interested in in the first lesson, especially if I’m teaching a one-on-one class. Then, I’ll search for an interesting (key word!) talk or short film on the topic on the TED platform, BBC ideas, or just on YouTube. It’s great when you hit on a topic that your student is really into, as it’s something they would want to watch in their free time anyway, so they’re engaged in the content as well as learning valuable natural expressions, speech patterns, or grammar in context. For less advanced students, sometimes I use short animations with little or no dialogue as a jumping-off point for discussion or to practice specific vocabulary (e.g. ‘feelings’).
Do you have any favourite channels or websites with great videos?
As I mentioned I’m a big fan of TED talks and BBC Ideas (both of which you can subscribe to for free on YouTube). DW (Deutsche Welle) News is another good video resource. They have short videos in English about lots of pressing topics.
I’ve recently started experimenting with creating video-based classes on islcollective.com. This platform lets you add questions which students have to answer while watching the video. You can choose which point the questions (quiz, gap-fill, multiple choice etc.) interrupt screening to force students to pay attention to particular phrases they’ve just heard, or reflect on something they’ve just seen. I like to use this tool after having shown the video once, for several reasons:
1) so that the students can watch the video first without annoying interruptions in order to engage fully with the content
2) to expose them to the language point you want to teach naturally so that it makes sense to them in context without them even thinking about it (read: sneakily feeding it to them so that later you can be like, ‘see? You do understand!’).
I think this also takes away the pressure of worrying about a language point that might feel difficult to grasp from a purely technical perspective.
How do you plan such lessons? What are the stages?
A typical lesson which is centred around a video would go something like this:
1) introduce the topic and discuss it a little bit, get students’ personal views/ experiences on the issue
2) pre-teach some vocabulary (matching, maybe a gap-fill)
3) show the video with some comprehension questions
4) teach the language point using excerpts from the video
5) discussion of the video using the language point/ vocab/ etc.
Obviously this is not a set-in-stone structure. I might save vocabulary work until after the video, using islcollective software to pause the video at certain points, or have a gap-fill exercise of the transcript and have students complete it as they watch/ listen again. Depending on the difficulty of the language point I might spend more time on exercises to practice it before going into a discussion at the end.
What are some unusual ways you’ve used videos as an educational tool?
Aside from making a video the central focus of a class, I’ve used it as an aid to language use at the end of a vocabulary class. With an A2 class I elicited and taught different emotions and contexts when one might experience these, then used a non-verbal animation clip to have them imagine what a person was feeling in a particular scene and why. I also like to have students imagine their own dialogue to practice writing and speaking, which can be done by showing a clip first without sound and then checking how students’ suggestions compare against the real dialogue later.
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