Jamie Keddie is a teacher, trainer and storyteller who has shared his insights and ideas in over 40 different countries. He is the founder of Lessonstream, the resource site for teachers. He is the author of ‘Images’ (OUP 2009), ‘Bringing online video into the classroom’ (OUP 2014) and ‘Videotelling’ (Lessonstream Books, 2017). Jamie is also an associate trainer at Norwich Institute for Language Education.
Can you believe it? – YouTube is over ten years old! During this time I have been working with teachers on ways of using videos in the English language classroom.
I often receive emails from other video-enthusiastic teachers that go like this: Hello Jamie. I just found this video on YouTube that I really like. I hope you don’t mind if I ask – what would you do with it in the classroom?
Here is an example of a video that a teacher sent me recently. It is titled: Googly-eyed Stubby Squid:
I don’t know about you, but I really like this video. So, let me put the question back to you: What would you do with this video in your classroom? How would you use it to teach English?
This is a task that I regularly set my own trainees. Suggestions will often fall into three different groups:
- To introduce a topic
In my experience, this is often the most common suggestion. In the case of the Googly-eyed Stubby Squid video, topics could include animals, colourful animals, unusual creatures, unusual pets, the sea, science, marine biology, etc.
There is nothing wrong with this approach. But wait! Shouldn’t we try to do something with video first? It is short in length but strong in narrative. How can we engage students with the story that it offers? This is exactly what I would like to demonstrate in the webinar.
- Listening comprehension
Another standard way to approach video is to focus on the spoken text. By spoken text, I am referring to the words that you hear – the monologues and dialogues that the video offers. As language teachers, we often consider that the audio contains the meat!
But wait! Authentic video can often be difficult to comprehend. Audio quality can be poor. People speak over each other. They make cultural references. They use low-frequency or technical words and phrases. So how do we deal with that? Again, this a question that I will be addressing in the webinar.
- To teach [insert grammar point here]
Sometimes we recognise a possible language point in the material. In this case, for example, we could use the video to teach language for speculation (e.g. It could be a squid; It might be an octopus; Perhaps it’s a cuttlefish; It can’t be a crab; Etc.).
But wait – slow down! If we can regard the video as a story – if we can immerse students in the narrative – language can become more meaningful.