Thursday, 29 January 2015

Seminar on using videos in ESL classroom at British Council

Today I had a chance to attend a seminar on using videos in classroom. It was very nice and useful indeed and I thought I should share with you what I learned and what seemed to be interesting there.
Well, first of all the seminar itself was rather interactive – the speaker tried her best to engage the audience as much as possible which helped to make the meeting more beneficial and, what’s probably even more important, vivid.

I should probably divide the info I’m going to post into three blocks: ideas on using videos in the classroom, useful resources and some other info.

1) Ideas to use with videos (which were discussed, which just came to my mind while I was there, which were shared by other teachers):

- as a lead-in or a while watching activity we can cover/ the video or turn the laptop’s screen away from the students and let them guess the topic and the motion picture by listening to the sounds alone;

- as a lead-in - give a shortcut from the video before watching it so that students can make their predictions. The trick here is to give as controversial image as possible, try to lead them away from the topic as much as possible, make them use their brain :D you can also ask them to make the most positive/peaceful prediction they can and the most negative/violent one. Picture of a woman with a gun was shown at the seminar. Turned out, she wasn’t a refugee or something ;)

- as an after-watching activity to spur children’s imagination we can ask them to put themselves in the characters’ shoes and imagine what they were thinking at some particular moments of the videos. As it’s an activity aimed at creativity encouragement, let your children go wild with their ideas;

- as an after-watching activity you can ask your students to do the voiceover themselves. The idea is – take for example the introduction part or some other particular piece, turn off the audio and tell students that it’s going to be a different video now, that is change the purpose of the video. For example, if the video is actually about sharks, tell them that this piece is a resort advertisement now, and they need to write the script for the voiceover to that advertisement. For lower levels we’ll probably have to provide some leaflets on the same topic for extra help;

- as an after-watching activity you can ask your students to be editors. Ask them: would you change any pics/phrases in the video? What would you add to make it funnier? What would you add to make it more dramatic? Etc.

- as part of HW, we can ask students to make videos themselves on some particular topic. I think it’s a great idea, they’ll probably love it. I’ll try it on my students soon=)

2) Some other info I learned at the seminar:

- according to the 2004 study by the age of 21 young people of the USA spend 5000 hours on reading, 10000 hours on playing video games, 20000 hours on watching TV;

- there are such things as “flipped classrooms” (and it’s about schools, not universities) – teachers record lectures on video and give them to students as homework. So children watch/listen to all the necessary theoretical info at home. So when they come to school, all they do at the lessons is interact with the material – do exercises, make experiments, discuss and so on. There are even some schools that operate that way only;

- there is such term as “prosumers” (and it was offered by some writer whose last name I failed to remember). It refers to today’s people who no longer want to consume information, but want to interact with in many different ways (in one word that is use it).

3) Useful materials:

- – a competition for Eng teachers. Check it out, prizes are cool and the topic is quite unusual

- – videos for ESL


- course “Unlock” by Cambridge university press – for adults, teaches critical thinking at lower levels, built-in IELTS preparation, lots of built-in videos

- Cambridge Discovery Interactive Readers – interesting topics, CLIL approach. You can see an example of one book from this series on the photos, I won it as a prize in a small quiz at the end of the seminar :)

- course “Eyes open” – 4 videos per unit, brand new course

This is probably it. The photos in the middle of the post illustrate table tennis standing right in the conference room which I think is pretty amazing and fun :) and some secret door that leads to….maybe London? :)

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