As a language teacher, I love video! Students do too, so it’s a happy class when a video is being used. I’ve pounded the pulpit before on the benefits for video in the language learning classroom. See my Using Video In The Classroom Guide Book as well as related blog posts.
But where’s the beef? All very well to say its great to use but how? Where are the good videos in the video wilderness that is youtube/vimeo/viddler/metacafe etc …? Then, how do you use them?
Well, I’ve had the fortune of being a “video hunter”. I’ve collected thousands of the best in the EFL Classroom 2.0 video library – they are safe and sound and won’t go away there (like they often do on youtube). Also outlined and designed hundreds of video and film based lessons + materials on the community, all available to community members. Plus, as the Director of Education at EnglishCentral, I get to spend some parts of my day looking for fantastic video content for language learners and teachers. So, through time, through experience, I think I know a winning lesson and video when I see one.
So here without further ado are my Top 5 video based lessons. The best of the best. I’ll indicate a level of learner they are appropriate for but most can be modified for another level. I’ll also mention that its worth a peek at my “50 Ways To Use Video In The Classroom” list! EFL Classroom 2.0 members can also get the lesson materials for each of these fantastic videos / short films / films. This presentation has my whole “Top” list.
#1 Words – High Int.
This video leaves me far from words, it leaves me speechless. Just a fantastic offering from the Radio Lab gang. It features short clips grouped together and showing a collocation. Blow, Fly, Strike etc… students can describe the scenes using the appropriate collocation – Play ball, play a game etc… I like to show it and have the students guess the groups of words. Who can get all the groups of words?
#2 Mr. Morton – High Beginner
Yes, music videos count as “video” and serious language learning content. This one proves this point. Perfect for teaching the past tense, it sparks and is a classic. Be careful – you’ll have trouble getting it out of your head!
#3 George And Rosemary – High Beginner
The National Film Board of Canada has produced over the year, the world’s great library of quality video. I’d back it even against Hollywood or Bollywood. No great example than this Academy Award Winning short about a confirmed bachelor who finally finds love.
Perfect for sequencing activities or retelling. Also the past form of “wish”. You and your students will fall in love with both George and Rosemary.
#4 Split Screen: A Love Story – Beginner
A wonderful way to show video – split screen. Lots done in this genre. I’ve subtitled the video and its an excellent example of one way to use silent video in the classroom. Silent videos are great for putting the focus on student production and getting them speaking/narrating and using the language they know.
#5 BIG: The Movie – Intermediate
I know this choice will be controversial plus it is a full movie. However, this is a timeless classic that adults and kids alike can watch over and over again. So many sings (and even songs!) to use in the class. From arguing to checking into a hotel and more …. I once made a whole book for teaching this movie as part of a whole course! Each lesson part of one scene. So there is a lot a teacher can do with this excellent film.
Here to end, are a few of my other favs!
1. Make a P and J Sandwich. “How to” videos are excellent and provide sequential structure (steps) for student retelling.
2. The Big Snit. A student favorite animation and a perfect lesson for all students to ponder.
3. Man vs Nature. Another split screen video from the World Wildlife Fund showing 2 different worlds.
4. What is a moment? One of two Radiolab videos that are musts for video fans.
5. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Commercials with narratives are excellent for video retelling! None better than this one…
6. Did You Know..? A video that teaches a lot of interesting stuff besides language.
7. Forgotten. Haunting video great for teaching about places in the home.
8. Animal Face-off. Students watch videos about imaginary animal fights and pick a winner.
9. Partly Cloudy. Pixar animation about friendship.
10. Where The Hell Is Matt videos. Matt travels the world, students practice their geography skills in English.