By Antonio Tooley
English language lessons should be based on helping students build a base of grammar and vocabulary skills. This is why the philology teaches educators of the many ways of approaching this particular aspect of language learning and teachers are faced with finding new ways to explain the grammar rules and words every day. But one of the most important things when teaching a foreign language is probably the often-forgotten issue with children having troubles expressing themselves in real-life situations. The main questions that arise here are whether the students will be able to understand different dialects and implement the knowledge in the conversation easily? Will everything you taught them come naturally when faced with real-life conversations in a foreign language?
Many studies conducted on this particular issue have proven that children find it more difficult to speak the foreign language outside of the classroom. Why is this? This is mainly happening because learners see the classroom as a safe place and know that if they make a mistake, someone will correct them and everyone will take in consideration the fact that they are still learners. The outside world is perceived differently. Learners can easily be intimidated when faced with situations where English needs to be spoken outside of the classroom, even in everyday places such as supermarkets, transportation or restaurants. That’s why the need of proper methods is important in the foreign language instruction and every educator needs to be introduced to the latest trends such as the following step-by-step guide for teaching with video classes.
The importance of videos in teaching a foreign language
Being the most often spoken language in the world, it is quite expected that English has many variants in terms of dialects, accents, slangs and nuances. Restricting your students to your English speaking only can greatly diminish their chances of receiving a proper education, despite your knowledge of the language and process of teaching. This is why linguists have chosen videos as one of the most important methods in foreign language learning.
Of course, having the option of bringing speakers of different regions and countries to speak to the learners is the best thing to do to improve this, but there are rarely such conditions in teaching a foreign language. Even if there are, some learners will need time to adapt and get close to some teachers and this can make the learning process even more difficult and longer-lasting.
If you are a teacher, you have access to many videos of people speaking different English dialects to play for your students. What follows are advantages of video lessons in language learning:
- It is very important for a learner of a foreign language to understand how natives of different countries and regions use the words you taught them in everyday conversation.
- Having had the experience of hearing different conversations, students will be more intuitive when it comes to understanding new words.
- By infusing videos in a class, you add variety to the classroom schedule. Videos have proven to make lectures more fun for both students and teachers.
Using video in a classroom
A lecture is often quite short, so a teacher must choose the right amount and the right choice of videos for a lecture. Of course, you may give your students some suggestions for watching videos at home, but how productive would this be? When at home, students may avoid watching a video because of all the homework and even if they do, who will they discuss it with?
Playing a video in a classroom makes the lecture more interesting and educational since you will have the chance to explain new words, concepts and clear some things that the students did not understand. We have prepared you a short plan on how to infuse a video in your language learning classroom.
- Inform the students on what you will do – The first thing to do is to tell the students what’s about to happen. Introduce them to the main theme of the video and tell them on which points they should focus their attention on.
- Play the video – Make sure to plan your time prior to starting the class. The video should not be too long, not only for the purpose of having the time to discuss and teach, but also because it requires more attention on behalf of the students and you might tire them for the remainder of the class. Your video can be an episode of some TV show or a mix of different dialects.
- Discuss the video – Your students may feel uncomfortable if you start asking questions right away, so try to start by expressing your own opinions about the videos. During the discussion, make sure that you point out all the rules and explain all the new words to the students. This is the part where you implement your teaching in the discussion with the students.
How to lead the discussion? There are many ways to do this, such as:
- Assign roles to students and ask them to recreate or change the conversation they saw in the video. In this way, they will get the chance to use new words and rules. This should be interesting and serve as a good language practice for your students.
- Do not play the entire video and ask the students how they think the conversation would end. Then you can play the ending and compare the expectations with the real ending of the conversation.
- Divide students into teams and have them debate over certain issues raised in the video.
- Have students pay attention to the slightest details in the video, team up and ask each other questions about the video receiving points for the right answers.
When playing a video to students, a teacher must take their level of English into consideration. You cannot play a video with difficult content to students with little vocabulary. If you do this, you will end up explaining too many words and they would not be able to remember them all. The purpose of the video is to teach, but also to encourage expressing of opinions.
I’ve been teaching video classes for two years already and they can do real miracles – not only students get valuable language practice, but they also develop interpersonal communication skills and creativity they will need in real world. What are you waiting for? Try using the tips above and tell us about your amazing results!
About the Author
Antonio is a hopeless optimist who enjoys basking in the world’s brightest colors. He loves biking to distant places and occasionally he gets lost. When not doing that he’s teaching EFL and writing for EduGeeksClub. He will be happy to meet you on Facebook and Twitter. Email