The main goal of your English language lessons is to help students build a solid base of vocabulary and grammar skills. That’s why you explain grammar rules and new words every single time you give a lecture. That’s okay, but what happens when your students find themselves in a real-life situation that requires them to speak English? Will they understand native speakers in different dialects? Will they know how to use the words and phrases they’ve learned? Will proper grammar come naturally to them when they speak?
Elena Hopkins, an English tutor from EduGeeksClub, explains that most learners have a problem using language with confidence. “When they learn words and grammar in the classroom, students feel safe using that knowledge in that safe environment. Their teacher will correct them if they make a mistake, and they can always copy the answers from other students during tests.
However, they can get intimidated by simple situations that require them to speak English. They are confused when they need to ask for a product in the supermarket, and they don’t understand anything when a native English speaker talks to them. The problem is in the teaching approach. You need to present videos and expose your students to real-world situations if you want them to speak English as confidently as possible.”
Why Are Videos Important?
-Depending on the country and region, the English language can have different nuances, accents, dialects, and slangs. You should not get your students used to your accent, since there are many variations that can get them confused. When you present videos during the classes, they will expect hearing different dialects.
-It’s important for the students to understand how natives use the words and phrases you present in class in the natural context of a conversation.
-Your students can intuitively understand the meaning of new words, so you won’t have to explain them with definitions.
-Videos make your lectures much more fun. They convey history, culture, and society of different countries.
How to Infuse Videos into a 60-Minute Class
If you suggest few videos for your students to watch at home, the discussion during class won’t be that productive. First of all, your students will consider the video as another mandatory homework assignment. It will be yet another burden outside school time.
That’s why it’s always better to include the videos into your lectures. There is enough time for you to explain new concepts and words, play a video in class, and leave some space for discussion afterwards. Here is a suggestion of how your class can look like:
1. Instructions and explanations – 15 minutes
You won’t abandon actual teaching for the sake of playing videos during class. Of course you have to explain a few grammar rules and teach some new words during the lectures. However, you should never make these lessons boring.
-Prepare colorful presentations, which will help you explain the concepts much better in front of the class. Visuals are an extremely important part of the language learning journey. Instead of translating the concepts, you can use visuals to convey their meaning, so your students will intuitively understand what you’re talking about.
-Explain grammar rules through examples.
2. Practice – 15 minutes
Before you play the video, it’s important to get your students active.
-Prepare short multiple-choice exercises based on the grammar rules you just presented, and ask your students to pick the right answers.
-Choose 5-10 new words from the video you’re about to play and write them on the blackboard. Ask the students if they know the meaning, but try to get a definition in English instead of translation in their native language. Ask all of them to pronounce these words.
3. Watch the video – 15 minutes
Pick a short YouTube video, and make sure to alter your choices in order to introduce different dialects in the classroom. You can also choose to present an episode of a TV show, such as Avatar, Sesame Street, MythBusters, or anything else you can think of.
Make sure the content of the video is safe for the classroom, and it’s appropriate for the age of your students.
-Observe how your students behave when they watch the video. Can you tell that they understand what the characters are saying? Do they look confused? If that’s the case, then make sure to throw in some explanations, or replay the confusing parts of the video, so everyone can understand the dialogue.
4. Discussion – 15 minutes
Without engaging discussions, your students will hardly know how to use the new words in real situations. It’s important to adjust the flow of the discussion in a way that’s suitable for everyone’s level. Your questions should inspire critical thinking, and they should encourage the students to use the grammar and vocabulary you just introduced through the lecture and the video.
-Start by expressing your own opinions about the video you’ve just watched. Then, ask specific questions that will lead your students into a discussion. Here is a simple example: “Do you think that Aang (or any other character from the video you watched) made the right choice? What would you do in his place?”
-You can turn the discussion into a debate by organizing two teams and asking them to defend an opinion.
–The Never Have I Ever activity is a nice way to transform the discussion part of the class from an assignment to a game. Tell your students to relate their answers to the video they just watched.
The videos you choose, as well as the discussion practices, will depend on the level, as well as the preferences of your students. The videos should not intimidate the learners with incomprehensive slang, but they should still introduce new forms of the English language. Encourage your students to express their opinions and ask questions when they don’t understand certain words and phrases.