How to Structure an Effective Video Lesson

Лиза Мардоян

Преподаватель английского (IAB International Academy of Business), переводчик, сертифицированный преподаватель (CELTA), PTE Examiner, автор курсов

There are ample ways of how you can structure ESL lessons to get the most out of the material. Video materials are great if you aim to have an engaging and fruitful lesson. 

Here are a number of reasons why to use videos:

  • they add fun and pace to the lesson;
  • they are great both for visual and auditory learners;
  • they are a great source of authentic materials (natural pronunciation, stress and intonation), which bring the target topic to life;
  • they help to practise a number of language skills;
  • lessons become really memorable through well-chosen videos. 

Video materials can range from documentaries, TV shows, films, trailers, cartoons to homemade videos, ads, weather forecasts, vlogs, and instructional videos.

Skyeng ищет преподавателей английского языка. Подробности по ссылке: Skyeng

How to Use Videos in the ESL Classroom

There are as many ideas of how to ingrain videos in the lesson as video resources. Below you can see how to get the ball rolling with a good video material. 

1. Find videos which are of the appropriate length

Usually, videos which are from two to ten minutes long are perfect for classroom use. The chosen topic can be fully explored and discussed.

2. Mind the quality issues of the video

In some cases, students can have problems with the video-based tasks because of the poor quality of the audio, unreasonable pace of the speech which students can’t follow. Even the video which can perk the students’ interest up may ‌be a failure if the speaker’s pace is fast, or if the audio isn’t relevant to the students’ need. 

3. Personalize the video content 

Mostly, video watching is followed by comprehension questions. The teacher can go far beyond and exploit the material by asking more open-ended and topic-based questions.For example, if a cultural topic is discussed in the video, you can ask students to express their own opinions on the topic and compare the issues raised with their culture. When personalized, video will trigger the learners’ interest and attach value to the learnt material.

For example, you can watch this video which speaks about the don’t in the UK and answer the following questions:

  • What were the most surprising three things you learnt from the video? 
  • Which of the given  tips will be good for visitors traveling to your country?
  • Have you ever made cultural mistakes in a foreign country? How did you overcome the situation?

4. Equip students with while-watching tasks 

Generally, videos are great ways of keeping students’ interest alive during the lesson. However, due to the general lack of the teacher’s input during the viewing. For example, you can ask them to take notes of used adjectives, some expressions, etc. Students watch the video Friends. Monica gets New Roommate and write down 5 verbs used in the Past Simple (realized, left, didn’t know, started, decided).

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Structure of Video Lessons

Here, we will present the main procedure you can follow while conducting video lessons. The main steps are the same irrespective of the content or the type of the video material. 

Lead-in to the topic 

It includes some pre-watching questions referring to the topic of the video, discussion of some photos taken out from the video. In some cases, you can write random words from the video and the students need to guess what the video is about. This stage is done in order to initiate interest and generate authentic discussion. Learners discuss these words (credit card, get a job, parents, laugh, boots) and try to guess what is happening in the video. 

Vocabulary pre-teach 

The teacher provides students with the most important vocabulary and key expressions used in the video. Students watch the video Шерил Сэндберг: Почему среди нас так мало женщин-руководителей in three 5-minute parts and are given keywords for each part.

Here are the words for the first 5-minute section: 

  • face problem;
  • pinch a deal;
  • embarrassed;
  • workforce.

First watching 

The first watching usually serves as a general introduction to the video. After watching, students can discuss whether they have guessed the topic or not, what they have learnt. Surely, discussions are arranged in pairs or small groups.

After the discussion of the keywords of the given video, the teacher highlights some points they mention of what the video is about and then they watch. The teacher sets them in pairs and asks the following questions:

  • How close were you to the video? Could you guess the details?
  • What did you learn?

Second Watching

This time, students need to carry out a certain task while watching. The task is assigned before the video starts. For example, they can tell how the pre-taught words are used, and who uses them. They can be given True/False statements or a multiple-choice  quiz about the video which they need to do after the video is finished. After completing the task, they can discuss which parts of the video were difficult for them and which sections were quite easy to handle.

Here is an example of a multiple-choice quiz.

Personalized use of the target material

In order to attach certain value and importance to the learnt material, students need to practise the acquired language in a personalized context. For example, they can discuss how they would behave if they were the heroes of the video, what they liked and disliked in the heroes’ actions and why. Depending on the topic, they can compare it with their own culture or look at it through their perspective.

Students watch the video (following the suggested structure), then they work in pairs and are asked to discuss these questions. 

  • Why do you think there are few female seniors in companies?
  • How to help women to be more confident while climbing their career ladder?
  • Do you know any examples of successful women? How did they achieve their goal?

Follow these links to get a wealth of top-notch ideas on video lessons:

How to Use Video in the ESL Classroom
7 Excellent ESL Video Activities: Lessons and Clips Students Will Love

Surely, all of them are great and you will be even at a loss while trying to pick one. 

So, videos are a great tool for having an awesome lesson and instill the target material in a fun and memorable way.

How often do you use videos in your classroom? How useful was this article to design your next video lesson?

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