Practical activities for using video in language teaching

Autor: Yordanka Brunet Valle

Otros conceptos de RR.HH.

13-10-2011

Introduction

Teachers around the world keep doing some research in order to increase their students’ motivation towards the target language. In my view if the students learn the target language feeling attracted and comfortable, they will probably acquire it without any fear of making mistakes while communicating with the teacher or among them.

Through the use of some technological resources such as the video students, both children and adults could acquire the target language efficiently. There fore, as the majority of the people know, learning a foreign language is not an easy process but if the students feel motivated towards it, they could acquire it with more success.

Development

The video is one of the audiovisual materials which allow learners to acquire the language, interpret it and decode it. By means of the combination of visual images, the audio oral expressions and characters’ body language, students can learn new lexical items, grammatical structures, improve pronunciation among other issues.

When teaching in an ELT lesson using a video as a support of it, if you want your lesson to be efficient its important to have into consideration two important issues, the first issue is the selection of the video content from the web and the second one deals with the activities you as a teacher are going develop during the lesson and after.

Its significant also, that when preparing an English lesson, teachers should select the appropriate activities according to the level of knowledge their students have because, it is not the same teaching to elementary students who will try to understand through a video just general ideas than teaching to advanced students that as they have proficiency or post-intermediate command of the target language, they have highly developed the ability to speak, write and listen to authentic materials, so they are able to gather the information in details provided by the video, so they can make a better understanding and answer the activities provided by the teacher. In other words, the activities teachers prepare regarding the video should be in correspondence with the level of the students.

In this sense, when making reference about the activities teachers prepare for teaching English through a video, it is considerable to mention that they could organize the activities in three main steps that I called them, Preparatory Activities (before listening or before the observation of the video), Understanding Activities (while listening or while the observation of the video and Extension Work Activities (after listening or after the observation of the video).

These are some Practical activities that you as a teacher could use with Videos in Language Teaching.

Examples of some Preparatory Activities

Activity 1

Description: Before watching the video the teacher asks a general question like:

Have you ever been somewhere so beautiful that made you want to live for ever? In this activity students should discuss with the partner the question presented by the teacher with out watching to the video. It is a warm up activity, which will contextualize students concerning the content they will acquire and will develop their creativity.

Objectives: The idea of the exercise is to prepare students towards an active and reflective observation of the video and to motivate them towards the topic they will deal with.

Activity 2

Description: Trough this activity the students should watch and listen to the video trying to find out what are the most beautiful places around the world according to the author. So, after listening they will discuss with the partner about the places mentioned. They could agree or disagree with the author and could add some new places they consider beautiful and have not been mentioned in the video. Students should provide reasons that justify their criteria.

Objectives: The idea of this activity is to keep students motivated towards what they are going to hear so they focus all their attention on the listening activity rather than listening without a specific purpose. To prepare students with respect to the information presented through the video. It is important that the information tribute to their interests and curiosity. This activity also highly contributes to the students’ culture’s acquisition due to the video deals with different places around the world.

Activity 3

Description: The teacher will introduce the general topic of the video and let students generate all the vocabulary and other information they know about the topic. Writing the information on the board helps students to share the information they have created and offers them at the same time a great support before watching the video. It is a pair work activity.

Objectives: The idea of this activity is to prepare students towards an active and reflective observation of the video. It allows students to feel motivated and interested towards the knowledge they will acquire.

Activity 4

Description: Before watching the video the teacher will write on the board the key words related to the video and the students should work with the partner predicting the content of the video based on the words presented. The teacher should provide the meaning of the words in case they are unknown for the students.

Objectives: This activity enriches the creativity of the students establishing a link between the words presented and the content of the video. It also stimulates students towards the video they will watch.

Activity 5

Description: The teacher will show students some pictures from the video. So, the students should look at them carefully and discuss in pairs their ideas. They should be able to relate the pictures with the video they are going to watch.

Objectives: The idea of this activity is to demonstrate that the use of videos stimulates not only the skill of listening through the ears, but also the skill of acquiring the information by means of the eyes. The activity will allow students the possibility to decode the information presented through the images and will motivate students towards the topic.

Activity 6

Description: Teachers will let students to watch and listen to a fragment of the video and will stop it asking them to predict what’s going to happen next.

Objectives: This activity allows students to get involved in the video and so, they can anticipate the content before they watch it. Besides, this activity develops the creativity, coherence and logic in the students due to they should take into account the previous content and link it with the unknown context. It helps to keep students interested with respect to the video until the end.

Activity 7

Description: The teacher will let students to watch without any sound the first 45 seconds from the video and ask them to take some notes while watching it. After that, they should work with the partner writing a commentary about what they have seen and report it in class.

Objectives: This type of activity stimulates students towards the video and engages them with respect to the topic they will deal with, but also the activity generates and improves the vocabulary in the students.

Activity 8

Description: The teacher will write the title of the video on the board and ask students to predict the content of the video based on the title. Students will debate with the partner their ideas and criteria about the relation between the title and the content.

Objectives: The main goal of this activity is to develop the skill of prediction on the students.

Some examples of Understanding Activities

Activity 1

Description: The teacher should sit students in pairs one facing the other one. But one of them should be watching the screen, the other facing the back of the class. The teacher should select a short fragment of the video that contains visuals actions and the students who face the screen will watch it but without any sound, so the watchers will describe what is on the screen to their partner. After that, the student who did not watch the video, should talk about it, taking into account what his/her partner described to him/her.

Objectives: The idea of this activity is to develop in students the description and narrative abilities and also to engage students with the topic. This kind of activity offers them a lot of fun due to the watches should describe to the partners the sequence of video quickly.

Activity 2

Description: The teacher will present a list with some words to students and while they are listening to the video, they should circle the words they listen to. They will do it individually and when finishing, they can consult their answers with the partner.

List: life, early, usually, government, climate, surround, warmer, issue, gases, challenge.

Objectives: This activity highly develops and improves the listening skill in the students, due to they should pay a careful attention to the video in order to do circle the words.

Activity 3

Description: The teacher should select a fragment of the video and let students to watch it and listen to for a minute. Then, the teacher will make a pause and students should predict what will happen next. It is a Pair work activity.

Objectives: The idea of this activity is to develop the creativity and imagination in the students, but also to engage them with the video they are watching.

Activity 4

Description: The teacher will present some comprehension questions to students and will give them one minute to read them in silence. Then, the teacher asks them to determine which of the questions are answered through the video? They should give reasons.

a) Does the change in the climate affect our ways of life?

b) Life depends on the warmth of the sun being trapped by the layer of gases that surround the Earth.

c) Does the video mention the solutions to tackle the problem?

d) Do we still have time to stop the problem?

Objectives: This activity allows students to improve their listening skills forcing them to pay a special attention to the video, due to they should realize if the video provide the answers to those questions or not.

Activity 5

- What is happening in the video?

- Which could be the causes of the problems from your point of view?

Description: The teacher will give students some general questions and ask them to discuss them in small groups of four or five students. They have around five minutes to do the activity. After that, one member of each group will provide the answers. The teacher should guide the activity and clarify any doubt or mistake students might produce.

Objectives: It allows to support the understanding of the content and to promote the active reflective and critical observation.

Activity 6

Description: The teacher should select a sequence form the video and will let students to listen to it with out watching it. Then students should write a paragraph describing in pairs what they listened to. After checking the activity the teacher will play the same sequence of video but this time they will have the possibility to watch it. So, they can compare their description with the real scenes.

Objectives: This activity will allow students to improve their listening skills and creativity, besides it offers them the possibility to work in pairs helping each other, trying to do the activity successfully.

Activity 7

Description: The teacher will select a fragment from the video and let students to watch it without any sound. They should take some notes because after that they will create a narrator’s script in pairs. The main issue is that the script should synchronize with the images. So, the teacher will play the segment again and students will report what the characters are saying.

Objectives: This activity enriches the vocabulary in the students, due to they should create what the characters are saying based on the images. It also develops the writing skills in the students due to they should take some notes and at the same time it enriches the speaking skills and improves their pronunciation, because when reporting the teacher will correct the mistakes or errors students might produce.

Activity 8

Description: In this activity the students should work in pairs, one of the members will watch a fragment of the video but without listening to it and should do a performance (just with gestures and body language) about what is happening in the video to the partner. So, the student who is not facing the screen should guess what is happening in the video.

Objectives: The idea of this activity is to develop the creativity in the students, and if you are a teacher trainer, this activity shows students how to teach a foreign language not only by means of the knowledge or materials as a support of it, but also by means of the gestures and mimics which highly contribute to the acquisition of a target language.

Activity 9

Description: In this activity the teacher will select a video sequence and ask students to work in pairs. One of the partners will look at the video without any sound and the other one will read the script without watching the video. Both activities occur at the same time. After that the two members will sit together and interchange criteria about the video.

Objectives: The main goal with this activity is to increase the students’ motivation towards the video and forces them to be more observers due to the watchers should decode the information presented through the visual images that will be compared with the ones reported by the partner who read script.

Activity 10

Description: It is a game in which the teacher should select a fragment of the video which contains lots of action but without any sound, so students while watching it should narrate and describe the events being creative. It means that they should use as many adjectives as they can. The teacher will select a team of students (who will be the advanced ones) and they should select the winners or the winner, who will be the student who describes and narrates the events committing few or any mistakes and using a huge variety of adjectives.

Objectives: The idea of this activity is to develop in the students the speaking skill and the ability to describe using different adjectives according to what is happening in the video sequence selected by the teacher. It also contributes to expand the lexical items in the students due to they should find out the most appropriate words in order to narrate the events.

Some examples of Extension Work Activities

Activity 1

Complete the following sentences using the information provided in the video. http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=55TdqC9Luck

a. Life depends on ( ) being trapped by the layer of gases that surround the Earth.

b. As the world gets hottest, the climate would change ( ) effects we have witnessed may become more frequent.

c. If we could see the gases, ( ) would be obvious to everyone.

d. The solutions exist and ( ), but we have to act now, today.

Description: In this activity the students should complete the spaces in blank using the information provided in the video. So the teacher will play the video once and they should just listen to it. After listening they should complete the sentences given by the teacher with the information they heard. They should write more than one word in each space. It is a pair work activity.

Objectives: The idea of this activity is to improve the listening and writing skills in the students.

Activity 2

Description: In this occasion the teacher should select a video segment and ask students to watch it until the end. After that, they should write a paragraph expressing their opinions about what they have seen. The students can support their ideas taking into account the information provided in the video and their personal experiences and knowledge about the topic. After finishing, they should report in class what they have done.

Objectives: The main goals of this activity are to improve the writing and speaking skills, to practice the knowledge acquired before in class and to reinforce the one learnt through the video.

Activity 3

Description: After watching the video, the students should do a dramatization in which they represent the characters from the video and will try to perform as the original version. So the teacher lets them to select their favourite character but helps them with the scrip they should say by heart. So, they will need some time for learning what they have to say. They can add new information but it should be related to the video.

Objectives: This activity improves the students’ speaking skills and develops the process of fixing a new content through the memory.

Activity 4

Description: In this activity after students having watched the video, the teacher will ask them to create different questions related to the video. The teacher will divide the group in four small groups (A, B, C, D) and give them 5 minutes to create the questions. After that, the teacher writes the letters in different pieces of papers and put them in a bag. One student should select one of the papers without looking at it and the letter chosen indicates which team will start asking the questions and the rest should answers them. Then, this will be the methodology to follow with this activity. The teacher should correct any mistake produced by the students at the end of the activity, allowing them to feel free while communicating in the target language.

Objectives: The idea of this activity is to provide and improve the acquisition of the vocabulary related to the video and at the same time, to develop the communicative functions regarding the units previously studied, including the development of the writing and speaking skills in the students.

Activity 5

Description: In this activity the teacher should divide the classroom in two parts and let a half of the class watch a scene of the video without audio and let the other half listen to it without the pictures. Students from each half of the class will talk about the situation and characters, and will do a performance of the scene.

Objectives: This activity allows students to make a deeper comprehension of the video, based on the content acquired through the visual information and the listening.

Activity 6

Description: In this activity the teacher will select some students in class who will watch and listen to a segment of a video and will dramatize its content to their partners who are not watching the scene and who should ask questions in order to guess what is happening in the scene.

Objectives: The idea of this activity is to develop in the students the speaking skills and to improve some grammatical structures like asking and answers questions.

Activity 7

Description: In this activity the teacher should write on separate strips of paper some dialogue lines regarding a video watched and let students to organize and recreate all the scenes based on the dialogue lines and what they remember having seen. It is a pair work activity. After finishing organizing the information, they should report to class.

Objectives: The idea of this activity is to develop the process of memorization in the students, although they have a guide (which is the dialogue lines) but they only work as a basic support, they should be able to report almost in details the content of the video, contributing to enrich the speaking skill in the students.

Activity 8

Description: In this activity the students should create a different title of the video, taking into account its content. Students will work individually and after 5 minutes, they will read the new title aloud and provide reasons about their creativity.

Objectives: The idea of this activity is to realize how much students have understood the content of the video and to develop their creativity and some skills like the writing and the speaking ones.

Yordanka Brunet Valle - nayyorarrobainfomed.sld.cu

Profesora de Lenguas Extranjeras de la Universidad de Ciencias Pedagógicas en Cuba.

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