There is one thing that too often gets left behind in all the post it notes stuck on the door of educational reform: Teacher – student relationships. Not enough do we hear the message that what education really is about is what invisibly transpires miraculously when a teacher and student connect, really connect.
All of us have had a teacher who really made a difference with us. Rita Pierson in this piercing (pun intended) talk really explains this well. Her talk is sterling, a must watch. I’m glad someone else is pounding the pulpit on this important facet/core of teaching – here’s what I’ve written previously. Teaching is an art, the art of relationships. (this article so finely describes this)
I took away a few more messages from her talk beyond that of relationships.
2. The relationship a teacher has with students is about trust. And trust takes time. Too often it never happens because teachers are pushed to wade through knowledge without regard to it ever really being learned, understood, synthesized, digested by the students. Here’s my view on this.
3. Lastly, the thought that maybe technology will free up teachers from being disciplinarians and will allow them time to truly become conductors of the human spirit. With technology driving self directed student learning, teachers will have time to think of how to connect with students and form the important relationships with students, the relationships and mentoring that is truly needed. Technology won’t take over a teachers job, it will allow teachers to do more of the job they were born to do.
Here’s Rita’s amazing talk. Sit back and enjoy! Hat tip to Larry Ferlazzo for putting me onto this great talk!
Teacher training is a growing area and the more shared learning we can make possible, the easier it is on all of us! Further GO HERE for a full series of podcasts featuring all the components of Linguistics. A great course, each unit is about 30 min of listening!
Finally, the TED HD player I created has them all – all the presentations since the dawn of TED time.
Right from the start, I was a TED addict. Sterling talks on a wide variety of topics. Great “mind seasoning”. I’ve written many times about TED talks but took it a step further, creating a handy TED “Random” video player with HD videos. Just refresh the page and get a random “taste” of TED. Or just scroll through the videos (most recent at the top). All of them at your fingertips.
My work over the years has brought me into thinking heavily about the role of video in language instruction. Even more so now with my work with EnglishCentral. I’m a big fan of video and have been from the get go. I saw its power as a university T.A. – tramping around the campus showing heavy “reels” of film to mesmerized classes. I wouldn’t go so far as Chris Anderson of TED who says we are in the midst of something as transformative as the Gutenberg revolution. But I will say, as a language teacher, it feels so! The world is now in our classroom!
We are using print less and the course book will take a less central role in the years to come. We are in a McCluhanesque way, returning to the older form through the newer media (one of his laws of media). Our brains are hard wired for pictures, the visual and language learning will benefit from this gigantic shift in the way humans learn (by video as opposed to books). I had a great chat with Vicki Hollett about this and she agreed, things will be changing. Video is the way forward. For a more learned read on the text / video debate – try The Gutenberg Elegies by Sven Birkerts
I’ll be speaking more about this at the Reform Symposium conference next month. Talking about the Flipped curriculum and how video is so important to this delivery method.
So I sat down and wrote some tips for using video in the classroom. Here it is. Comments appreciated, I’ll be refining this as I go along.
Video is a powerful tool in today’s classroom. It provides strong context through which to teach English. Meaning comes alive and it brings the outside world into the classroom and gives your teaching “reality”. Video also provides all the paralinguistic features of language that audio only can’t.
Nowadays, students are very much visual learners. Further, with the quick spread of broadband internet access, the use of video in the classroom is much more reliable. Video is a medium which is replacing print – it is changing both the way we learn and the way we interact with each other.
Without a doubt, video is the future for all of us involved in education. Gone are the days where it took a high degree of technical know how and hours of set up to bring video into the classroom. Now the classroom is wired and connected. It’s an exciting time to be both a teacher and a student. The world is our classroom.
1. Keep the Video Short (2-4 minutes)
- attention spans are limited when watching visual content. Chunk up and divide up videos with focused activities.
2. Watch the whole video first.
- students need to “have a try” first and watch to get the “big picture”. This provides students with the chance to deal with the “ambiguity” of language. Give students one simple task while watching the whole video – to keep them focused.
3. Always preview the video.
- Be sure to watch the whole video yourself before using it in class. You never know what content might be inappropriate or hurtful to your students. You, the teacher, know your students best. Best to be safe!
4. Make it available outside the classroom.
- provide students with a webpage or link so they can watch the video and practice outside of classroom time. Many students learn better independently and this is a great opportunity to foster student independence.
5. Use videos your students want.
- this may seem obvious but many teachers forget to survey their students and show video content they definitely know their students will be “into”. However, use your best judgement and find a balance between videos that highly motivate and those that are strongly educational. Many times you can do both!
In the flipped classroom, students study and learn independently (in groups or individually). The teacher sets up the content and learning environment and then consults with students as they learn the video content. Students could learn on a webpage/lab (for example EnglishCentral) and the teacher could use class time to review their progress, check and evaluate. Also consult with the students to make sure they are on task. Teachers set up the curriculum and show students how to access the video content. In a nutshell, a teacher becomes a facilitator. Teachers might also use print materials made specifically for the videos (like these EnglishCentral example books).
2. Blending video into the existing curriculum and course.
This option allows a teacher to choose video content that compliments the objectives of their course. Videos are chosen for each unit and they are used in conjunction with a course book. Thus, the teacher is blending the learning – combining traditional print (textbooks) with the power of video. Videos are blended into and part of the official course curriculum.
3. Using video as a supplement for engagement or re-inforcement.
Here, videos are used only at the beginning of a lesson (to provide context and prompt student schema/background knowledge) or as supplemental material for the lesson (either inclass or as homework). The teacher brings in video that will supplement the existing course curriculum and provide context and reinforce the learning objectives. However, the videos are not part of the official curriculum.
How To Use Video
Videos can be used in many ways other than just one student at a computer. They should also be used as a “shared experience” and an in class teaching aide. Teachers should play video in the classroom and share it, as you would a book or any print item.
Don’t be afraid to pause, rewind, fast forward the video. Use it as a tool for reference of language and study points. Think of the video as a malleable material, like any other classroom material for learning.
Generally video activities are divided into 3 main types or stages:
1. Pre-viewing. Activities done before watching the video. They help prompt student schema and background knowledge. Often a way for the teacher to assess student knowledge and interest.
2. Viewing: Students have a task while watching the video. They perform tasks and activities during the video, either with or without the teacher pausing the video.
3. Post Viewing: After watching the video, the students practice the language forms and vocabulary encountered in the video. Students might discuss, retell, roleplay or complete exercises during this stage.
Here are a list of practical ways to use EnglishCentral videos in class. Try some and find what works best with your own students and for your own teaching situation. Good luck! Your students will love it!
10 Recipes For Using Video In The Classroom
1. Discuss It. Give students some previewing questions for the topic of the video. Students discuss and prompt their background knowledge. Watch the video. Now, discuss again using some prepared questions. Surveys are a great addition also.
2. Just Do It. Students are given a viewing task. This can be some questions to answer. It can be a group of vocabulary items to find or some language to listen for. You might even make this interactive – give students some different tasks (ie. different vocabulary) and when they see/hear it, they stand up. Again, they sit down. Last one standing at the end wins!
3. Describe It. Always a fun activity but make sure to get your students to speak in a low voice. One student watches while others describe the action. Pause the video from time to time to allow students time to describe fully. Switch the student who is listening. Make sure to watch the ending of the video together.
4. Report It. Students are reporters. List the 5 Ws on the board. After watching the video, the students must answer the 5 W questions. This also can be an excellent writing lesson. Also, get students making up their own post viewing questions and quizzing each other!
5. Listen For It. A teacher favorite. Teachers prepare a cloze version of the transcript (words are missing). Students listen for the words. Watch the video again, pausing and checking the answers together. Another option is to provide students with a graphic organizer or chart. They watch the video and fill in the categories.
6. Repeat It. A very interactive way to focus on pronunciation and form. Turn off any subtitles. Pause the video after a line and have the students repeat the line. If the video is a dialogue, assign different roles for students. Challenge the students to repeat the lines by only listening to the video, not watching. Also practice the present perfect tense (has/have just) by pausing the video and asking students, “What has just happened?”
7. Re-tell It. A very powerful way to acquire language. Students in small groups re-tell the story or the action of the video. One student starts and others must continue to re-tell by adding a sentence. Perfect for practicing transitions (First, Next, Then, Finally). Re-ordering activities are also great. Students are given sentences or pictures and must put them back in the right sequence while re-telling the story. Perfect practice for the past tense.
8. Revise It. Students love to “change up” the video. Students can role play the video and add their own twist, create their own version. Commercials work well for this. Also, write their own version, changing characters. For lower level students, prepare a transcript with words missing – students can add their own words to personalize.
9. Predict It. Prediction is a great language prompt and can be used with any video. Simply pause the video at a point and ask the students, “What do you think will happen next?” Students discuss and give their own answers. Provide a prompt for the students like
I (don’t) think that ___________ (won’t) will ____________________.
Lastly, continue the video and see if the predictions were correct.
10. Teach It. Videos offer a great opportunity for specific language study. Choose a video that highlights and reinforces your lesson objective(s) (for culture, topics, functions, vocabulary or grammar points). Pause the video and use it to explain the language points. It provides real life context and examples of usage. Prepare worksheets and exercises to practice your language points. Here’s an example
What is education? I just finished reading David Warlich’s 2cents worth blog and commenting. About making education purposeful. That’s what’s missing. Forget reform, change blablabla. Just get people together with a purpose.
And what should that be? Well, I think it should be what John Hunter says. PLEASE take a moment and watch this. I will say no more. I’ll only hint it has something to do what I’ve been harping on for awhile – and the teacher going away……
He has me pining for my own grade 4s (now grade 9ers!) – they learned so much, grew so much and in turn allowed me to stand on their shoulders, as I learned so much, grew so much.
“but I gave them the room to just do the thing. Figure it out, go create”
– Diana Laufenberg
One of the things I’ve often done with teachers and students alike is just give them a set of materials, say flashcards and then, “just get out of the way”. Let them decide how to use them and let the learning objectives naturally emerge from their own processing and interaction.
It’s scary but it is the new paradigm that we are facing in education. Diana Laufenberg in her short, valuable TEDx talk – hits on this among other things. That with information surplus, kids no longer have to come to school to get information or be “informed” or “lectured to”. They come to school to be part of a learning culture where they engage with the content/curriculum – they don’t just consume it.
We have to give students a reason to come to school. And not just to be around their friends. We have to give them the chance to explore what THEY want and in their own fashion. Student created content – the mantra I’ve been expounding through my textbook is something appropriate for our day and age. It allows students to try, to try again. It emphasizes “doing” rather than “repeating”. It de-emphasizes the teacher as the “general” and makes them more of a “producer” that behind the scenes gets everything in place.
Take a watch, Diana offers valuable examples of the Sugata Mitra methodology of “I’m going away now”. A method that won’t just be experiential in the future but rather what teaching is all about….
Do teachers kill creativity? What is the harm that a “teacher” does, just by being a teacher? Do we indeed stunt student achievement, growth and “thought” by our mere presence as a model and person to look up to and copy/become?
Like Ken Robinson’s story in “Do School’s Kill Creativity”, where the little girl is drawing God and the teacher says, “You can’t draw god!” — are we limiting our students by teaching our students? Where does culture start and control begin?
I remember when I was a kid. It was nice to observe adults but I much preferred doing it myself, learning by myself. Teachers were actual barriers on the road to learning. So many detours I had to take, to think for myself! To find the quick way, the effective way to the nuggets of gold and understanding.
Watch the video below comparing chimpanzees and children. Thought provoking.
I’m more and more calling for a world of self directed learning. Technology is prying open that door, that possibility. I think that maybe we do have it wrong. Teachers – who needs them?
(** note, this video suggests that humans are the only animals that “teach”. I just watched a BBC Earth video where they showed a clip of a mother teaching her baby chimp to use the proper stick to fish for termites. So this notion of our uniqueness is false. Surprisingly, the baby chimp kept pushing away the mother’s “stick” , kept pushing away the teacher. Maybe that’s why Jesus’ famous phrase, so hotly debated (Luke 14:26 – “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.”))
English language teachers travel and like strangers in a strange land, try to learn about their new “home”. It is important to learn about the culture and history of the people you’ll teach. Language is about and in turn, wrapped up with culture and identity.
I’ve lived now 5 years in Korea and will be indelibly tied and connected to this amazing peninsula. Along the way, I’ve tried to understand my students and the people among who I’ve lived. You’ll find a lot of the articles / essays / videos / audio I’ve collected in our Korea resources area Find HERE, all the videos we have about Korea and/or teaching in Korea.
Here are a few more items I highly recommend about Korea. Helpful especially to the flood of new teachers that will be arriving or have arrived for the new semester. Wherever you are, why not post up in our resources, some videos or readings that are pertinent to the country you are from or where you teach presently? Or maybe do so in one of our World Classrooms?
The video above, “Tiger Spirit”, is a beautiful rumination on the torn nation of Korea. On the surface it tells the stories of families ripped apart for decades but deeper, it deals with issues of identity and what is important in life. In our fractured, mobile, modern world – identity is a topic that will be more and more important – especially regarding language acquisition and learning. A must watch.
Korea – America is a video made by a teacher as a technology professional development project during a summer training program. She did a wonderful job using Windows Movie Maker and highlighting the divide between generations in Korea and in America.
Photographer Rich Smolan tells an amazing story about an Amerasian (Korean/American) girl and it is so thought bending. Really challenges traditional notions of “who we are” and “what we should be”.
I really enjoyed Charles Leadbeater’s – “We-Think” (see the cool video clip of its premise HERE). He really hit the nail on the head when it came to how the world was changing due to communicative technologies, Web 2.0 and the rise of the “amateur” and mass participation in innovation/ideas.
Today, watched for a second time, his Ted talk. He tackles education this time, how education will be transformed in the future (and specifically where). He does a good job and of course we all love his accent! However, I was a little put off.
There have been many others long before he got on the stage, championing a future of education that is more leveled, participatory and learner driven. He acknowledges some of them but not enough for me. I guess that is how it goes. The dedicated do the leg work and then the well funded and fueled come along and scoop up the accolades (I’m thinking of others, like Seth Godin for example).
Still, he does the championing well and I urge everyone involved in education to think about these issues. Here are the important ideas as I see them;
* the school is defunct and an outdated concept * the future delivery tool for knowledge will be some form of the cell phone * education can be brought to people, on demand. * students need to be “attracted” (he says “pulled”) and not pushed. Otherwise it is useless. * technology disperses knowledge, knowledge becomes “cheap”. It brings learning to the people. * education is about engagement. Inquiry based curriculum is the future and we should be, “teaching through”. * technology allows learning without a teacher. Peer and shared learning/cooperative learning evolve. * learning needs to be practical and productive (not about the neck up only) * education will be scaled down, small and local but everywhere.
In any case, glad he’s realizing these things and speaking to others, awakening! What do you think?
I spent a good bottle of red wine and some time (and whatever you are told, don’t believe ‘em – time is cheap) watching 60 Minutes and this gem about how classical music and the spirit of Gustavo Dudamel is trying to bring ” the system” to America and make despair into hope.
I’d like to say how this relates to education but first a confession, a coming clean. I love my parents but have always resented that I didn’t learn a musical instrument while young. Nietzsche declared that, “without music, life would be a mistake”. I totally agree. If I had to chose between music and love, music would be it. But I’m clueless about creating music other than through words, words that too often are mistranslated and mangled. You see, there’s the rub and why we should learn a musical instrument – music doesn’t lie. It just is and we all know what it says……. but enough about me and also semiotics. Let’s talk education.
I find this video clip so fascinating not just because music can help children find hope and see the worth of working towards something and being disciplined. I find it fascinating because it is this same model we should bring towards “knowing”. Why do we kill the spirit and hunger of children, rip out their desire to know? This is the biggest question we have to answer in our day and age.
Music can uplift but I think we can build schools and communities of knowledge in the same way that “the system” of Gustavo does. People who care, nurturing the young in the spirit of inquiry. That’s what it is all about. Creating community and fostering the young. Paying back. And creating “HUNGER”.
As I look out on my own students, as I reflect on my own former classes — I remember so little hunger. The younger they were, the hungrier they were. But somewhere, the fire was quenched and nobody cared enough to keep it aflame.
I think the concept of school needs a whole rethink, just like classical music education. School should be for those who “want”. Without hunger, it is plodding and pedantic (for both student and teacher). We need to localize and begin by deregulating the teaching profession and using all the wonderful teachers in our communities who are left at the side (I’m thinking the elderly, the disabled, the early retired, the estranged). Where is the love people? And let me say, just like Gustavo is doing by buying musical instruments — we have to begin to “pay” students tangibly. It is this that is lacking in our educational (babysitting) culture.
If ever there was another musical maestro of Gustavo’s ilk, it is Benjamin Zander. He gets it too – it is all about motivation — view his TED Talk for the lecture of the century.
I hope we can do for education what Gustavo is doing for musical education. Let’s open the doors to student desire and open schools to the wider public……
PS. Thank you Ellen Pham for getting me to watch this – I previously saw the 60 min. episode about “the system” in Venezuela and thought it was the same. Happily not.
Now, there is TEDx, local versions of TED. You can watch great speakers at a venue near you, maybe speaking in your own language. Scan the menu on the right for the venue nearest you. I’ve been enjoying the lectures from Myeong Dong in Korea, held last Nov. You can even get many with English subtitles at Subdot!
See more INSPIRATIONAL Videos on EFL Classroom 2.0 HERE.
Also, many of these videos can be found on our unique TED Talks player. Convenience and inspiration for all teachers.
#1 – One Buttocks Teaching.
Although not directly about teaching, Benjamin Zander relates with humor and intelligence, many important messages about teaching and relating/inspiring others. This is definitely number one and of high note!
#2 – Education is destroying creativity.
Ken Robinson delivers in a dead pan style, a crie de coeur, an appeal for more creativity in education. He really questions the goals of education and gives all teachers inspiration to value each and every student.
# 3 Hole in the Wall.
Sugata Mitra shows us how powerful it is when we allow our students to teach each other. A cry for more collaborative learning and for unleashing the power within students. An appeal to the inductive and contructivist approaches with facts and results.
# 4 The Last Lecture
Randy Pausch, really gets down to the nitty gritty – what life is about. A superlative teacher, he gives his last lecture before his death and relates a special message of “what it is all about”.
# 5 The Future of Learning
This video asks us the questions we should ask ourselves – about our own teaching. It encourages us to turn on our students by teaching through their digital world/life.
I just did a write up about the top 5 “funniest” videos about language teaching/learning. Well received and I got lots of nice comments. So – I’ve decided to continue the series and reveal some more “gems” buried here in the hundreds of videos on EFL Classroom 2.0
I really think a BIG part of teaching is being a motivator. Especially with language where there often lacks a lot of intrinsic motivation (the stuff that lasts). Language takes a lot of time compared to other subjects and we just don’t have that in our classrooms. So, if we can inspire our students to learn English or just to “reach for the stars”, all the better. They’ll be able to get there on our own. So without further ado – here are my top 5 for motivating and inspiring students. Please add your own mentions too!
***** Coming next – the top 5 videos to inspire teachers!