Using video in your classes, even short clips, can be stimulating and fun for your learners. YouTube recordings abound, so there’s plenty of choice.
The right clip at the right point in an English class can not only help consolidate and extend language, but it can also show English in context. This can be so valuable in underpinning meaning. I love using short, relevant video clips in my online lessons and below I share 5 of my top tips to help you optimise your use of video in class:
Five top tips for using video in your classes
1. Not all beginner video is suitable
Just because it says ‘beginner’ in the title, check the video is not too fast or too complicated. I’ve found that many ‘such videos are just not suitable. It is likely you will need to edit and only show part of the video; keep your finger on ‘play’ too long and you will lose your class.
2. Build anticipation and explain helpful language beforehand
Before watching, quickly explain (pre-teach) any useful language that is likely to impede understanding.
Unless your learners are complete beginners, don’t just press ‘play.’ Build interest and help establish the context by pausing your video on the first frame and eliciting answers to questions like:
- Who do you think these people are?
- Where are they?
- What do you think he will ask?
3. Give your students something to do while watching
Having a simple focus keeps students engaged. It could be you ask them to listen and see if their pre-listening guesses are correct. Or, ask one or two simple overview questions. For example:
- Why does the man laugh?
- Are they happy with the result?
I suggest always playing a second time, so you can ask more in-depth questions to make sure they have really understood what was going on.
4. Use video as a springboard for related tasks
An engaging video could prompt some great further activities. For example, students could:
- fill in the gaps of key sentences from the video
- write an extra verse (after a song video)
- re-create the dialogue – with lower levels you could elicit this line by line on the board. Higher levels could write an approximation of what they have heard. As long as the sense is similar and the grammar fine, any answers are acceptable
- use language from the video as an intro to a grammar point
- extend the dialogue from the video
- you could write a question from the video on the board and get students to supply different responses from the video – how could the situation have ended differently?
- Write questions on the theme for the students to discuss in pairs
5. Set video as a homework task
Watching YouTube video is so accessible and fun, so it is more likely students will complete a video homework task than a written one.
Therefore, why not ask students to watch the class video at home again to consolidate the language. Perhaps you could get them speaking along with it, if it has subtitles? Asking students to watch new videos on the same theme or on the theme of your next class is also a good idea.
They can note any new expressions or write 3 questions based on the video for their partners to answer next time.
Do you use video in your classes?
If you do, please comment on the above or share your top tips below. If not, why not give it a go?
Most of our 20 beginner lesson worksheets have a link to video for supplementary material ideas.
Louisa demos how to use video with beginners here >>