5 Ways to Use Authentic Language-learning Videos in Class

By Britta

Don't forget to check out the free video!

Don’t forget to check out the free video!

One of the things I was most interested in on a recent survey of 400+ language teachers was which Internet feature they use most often. And surprisingly – at least to me – almost 80% said that they most often use authentic videos in their MFL classroom. But finding videos that work well in the classroom can be a frustrating experience. ‘I search all over the web. I search constantly but can’t find any videos ’, is a comment I read that seems to sum up many teachers’ experience of trawling through website like YouTube and various radio and TV stations’ sites.

For more than two years now we, at Mary Glasgow Magazines, have been producing language-learning videos especially for the MFL classroom – like this video here, featuring Aitor and Ana, two siblings from Barcelona.

Ana and Aitor talk about life in Barcelona

Ana and Aitor talk about life in Barcelona

But as with all things that are used as an extra alongside the course book, just having the video there is not enough. There needs to also be support on how to use it – which we supply: A transcript and two online activities accompany all our videos.

What’s more, the writers of our Teacher Notes provide ideas on how to use the videos in the classroom. From the many great suggestions they’ve made I chose 5 that, I think, will work well with any of our videos. They are:

  1. Before watching the video, explain to pupils what the video is about. Ask them to predict vocabulary words. If they need extra help provide some definitions for words that are in the video.
  2. Put pupils in pairs. One of them watches the video while the other sits opposite with their back to the screen. Play the video on mute. The person who can see the screen whispers as many of the things they can see in the video as they can to their partner. Their partner writes them down. Ask pupils to swap roles and play the video again.
  3. Put four sentences from the video on the board. Play the video, and ask pupils to write down the order in which they hear these sentences.
  4. Using the transcript, assign each pupil a line. Allow pupils time to practise. Then watch the video on mute, and get the class to supply the lines.
  5. Get pupils to work in small groups and change as many words and expressions as possible (at least ten words or expressions) in the transcript without changing the basic topic.

How often do you use videos in the your MFL lessons? How do you incorporate videos into your teaching? In which way do you use videos?


5 thoughts on “5 Ways to Use Authentic Language-learning Videos in Class

  1. I use videos in my lessons very often. I made a special player to stop video after each sentence. My students listen each phrase many times and try to understand. They try also to repeat the sentence or explain it by their own words.

      • It’s not a problem for me to find free videos for I teach English to Russian students. I discovered It’s more difficult for beginners to watch video compared to mp3 (songs or tales from BBC).

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