Using Video in the EFL Classroom

I love and use often, any kind of video in the classroom. Here is a presentation outlining some tips and also detailing the MANY kinds of videos that can be used – ranging from How To videos to Mr. Bean to classic instructional videos…so many types.

Also, so many ways. Too many to describe, you just have to be creative! Break it up and most importantly, give the students a task to do while watching (unless the goal is just/only to enjoy!) A task can be some questions or it can be as simple as – “When you hear the word “X” , do this “action””. Students, just like for oral reading, need a task, so they are attentive. Just being attentive will allow input and at least a modicum of learning to take place.

First, some tips for using Video in the classroom.

1. Keep it short! Attention span drops off after 3-5 min. So if you have a longer video
Break it up into short chunks. I have used the movie “Big” in my classes (get the full resources here in our resource share area). But it can take 5X the length of the movie and many lessons to complete. So involved we get with the language and activities.

2. Turn off the sound! Video, like pictures, is a great prompt for language production
(Comprehensible Output). Add subtitles if possible or provide a transcript! I use Mr. Bean a lot (see our own player/page with all the classics HERE). I use it precisely because without the dialogue, STUDENTS are not passive but active, describing the action. They can state what Mr. Bean is doing. The best way is “backdoor”. One student watches and describes to others. Stop and change as you go…. This is a great production oriented activity! And you’ll laugh to boot!

3. Make it available! Video should be reviewable by the students. Post it up on your
on or the school’s website. Don’t have one? Make a wiki! ( I use EFL Classroom and students can come here afterwards (they can all use the same ID/PW) and review, practice, enjoy again.

4. Make your own! Students will produce more language and be much more excited
about learning English if you produce your own class videos. Please think about making a Project Peace video with your students (see some examples in our video section.) The Lemon Tree and Love Story videos there are classic examples of a creative teacher using student made videos to great effect!

5. Always preview the video beforehand!!!! In it’s entirety. You never know what
surprise might be there. A friend of mine, teaching middle school in Montreal found this out the hard way. He watched 5 minutes of a 20 min. National Geographic video. He was teaching Geography and thought this was great stuff and safe. However at about 16 minutes, they started killing baby seals! He spent many days smoothing over this gaffe with students/parents and staff….

Here are a couple nice reference documents with more info. about using video in the classroom.

Using Multimedia in your classroom Media – David.doc
Using Video in the Classroom.doc

Here are once again – my playlist of the best videos for use in the language classroom. See our A/V player for more, especially in the Assorted folder.

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Teacher trainer, technology specialist, educational thinker...creator of EFL Classroom 2.0, a social networking site for thousands of EFL / ESL teachers and students around the world.

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