English V >Winning Strategies for the ESL Class
Video lessons give ESL students a wealth of learning opportunities. Naturally, they’re great for listening practice, but never underestimate their value when it comes to teaching vocabulary and grammar. However, to really tap into the potential of video lessons, these must be thoroughly prepared and activities must be targeted to your goals.
There are two layers to video lessons. One is related to your teaching goals. Will you show your students a video for listening, vocabulary or grammar practice? What is the language element you want them to learn? The second layer is the structure of the lesson itself. Even if you’re sure you want to show a video to improve listening comprehension, it’s not as simple as just pressing “play”. Each video lesson must be accompanied by its own lesson plan, and the lesson plan must be targeted to meet your teaching goals. Each video lesson plan must include: pre-viewing activities, viewing activities, and post-viewing activities.
Here are some strategies for each type of activity:
The pre-viewing activities would be like the warm-up exercises that we usually have for other types of activities. There are several pre-viewing activities you could do, but try to use those that are aligned with your goals.
- If your goal is to teach vocabulary through a video, then in the pre-viewing activity you should introduce this new vocabulary, in context, in conversations, through a matching exercise, guess the meaning of the word activity, etc…
- If your goal is to work on listening comprehension, introduce the topic of the video, so your students will know what it’s about and be better prepared to grasp information. This introduction may be done in numerous ways, but the most usual is a series of warm up questions about the topic.
- If your goal is to practice grammar, then the pre-viewing activity should be a review of the tense or grammar point you want to practice. Some great activities for pre-viewing practice are games, fill in the blanks exercises, or any of the grammar worksheets you’ll find at BusyTeacher.org.
Viewing activities consist of tasks that students must complete while watching the video, and these should also be targeted to your goals:
- When teaching vocabulary:
Activities should focus on helping students learn and retain the new words introduced in the pre-viewing activity. One great way to do this is to give students a worksheet with sentences with gaps that students must fill with the new words. Students watch the video and complete the sentence with the missing word. Students may also be asked to look for specific information. In this Winnie the Pooh and Halloween video worksheet, young learners are required to identify the costumes each of the characters are wearing, and they can easily do this while viewing.
- When working on listening comprehension:
Gap filling exercises also work great, but for this goal, gaps should be longer, and students should be required to fill them with information rather than just new words. Comprehension questions are always a great way to test listening comprehension. You may choose to give them a few questions to focus on before the video starts.
Also, you may choose to introduce different levels of listening. Start by covering the TV or computer screen with some cardboard or cloth, and have students only listen to the video. Then, they answer some general comprehension questions about the gist of what they heard. Then, have them watch a second time, but this time listening and viewing, and ask them to complete a gap filling exercise. Finally, ask them to watch for a third time, but this time they have to raise their hands every time they hear the answer to a more specific question. You can introduce as many levels and as many viewings as you want, but make sure each level is more challenging than the previous.
- When practicing grammar:
Because of their very nature (songs are usually short and often repeat phrases, words, and structures), music videos are the best for practicing grammar. We Are the Champions by Queen is a great song to use to practice the present perfect. Frank Sinatra’s New York, New York shows students ways in which the future with going to and will can be contracted. The most common type of viewing activity with music videos is a gap-filling exercise, but you can get creative and try some others – see some good examples in this Eurovision song worksheet.
Post-viewing activities are a nice way to wrap-up the video lesson and a great opportunity to consolidate everything your students have learned in a production or performance activity.
- When focusing on vocabulary:
First you introduced some new words, then, your students saw how they were used in the video. Now is the time for your students to use these new words themselves. Divide them into pairs, and ask them to write a conversation or report using this new vocabulary. If your goal was to teach vocabulary related to weather, and you showed a video of a TV weather report, ask your students to write the weather forecast for next weekend.
- When focusing on listening comprehension:
Your goal was to improve your students’ listening skills, so ask them to produce something that shows just how much they understood. This production may be anything from a picture, a PowerPoint presentation that summarizes the video, or a role play.
- When focusing on grammar:
If your goal was to offer some extra grammar practice, ask them your students to produce something that specifically requires them to use this grammar point. Let’s say you showed them an interview in which an actor talks about his life to practice the past simple tense; your students can write a short biographical report on what they learned about his life.
Daily English Conversation Practice – Questions and Answers by Topic
You have troubles making real English conversations? You want to improve your Spoken English quickly? You are too busy to join in any English speaking course?
Don’t worry. Let us help you.
First of all, you need to learn common structures and sentence patterns, common expressions, common phrases and idioms that are much used in daily life.
Next, you should learn daily conversations in English for speaking. Focus on every ESL conversation topic until you can speak English automatically and fluently on that topic before moving to the next one.
The following lessons cover 75 topics that you will face very often in your daily life. Each lesson is designed in form of ESL conversation questions and answers, followed by REAL English conversation audios, which will definitely benefit your English conversation practice.
ESL Conversation Questions and Answers – 75 Topics
Download Full Lessons Package – Daily English Conversation by Topic (mp3+pdf)
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Remember, DEEP LEARNING is the No. 1 secret to English fluency. If you want to speak English fluently and automatically, you have to repeat the same lesson over and over again until you MASTER it.
WHAT YOU WILL GET:
- 75 mp3 files for 75 lessons (each lesson lasts for 1 -2 minutes).
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Take advantage of your short free time during the day to do a lot of repetition, and you will be amazed at how fast your English speaking improves. Get started today!
P/S: If you want to download more lesson packages with a discounted price, check out 0ur Resources Page here.
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English Conversation, Learn English, Speak English with Subtitles Lesson 05
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English Conversation – Movies
This is the preparation material for an English Conversation lesson about movies. There are some common terms and idioms that we use when discussing movies and a list of conversation questions that people might ask eachother when talking about this subject.
Audio discussion about movies
Vocabulary we might use when talking about movies
- The big screen — this is a slang way of referring to the movie cinema.
- Entertaining — something which entertains; amusing and interesting.
- Intense — containing strong emotions/feelings or extreme in nature.
- Thought-provoking — something that makes you think hard.
- Hilarious — something which is extremely funny.
Idioms we might use when talking about movies…
- Waste of time – giving your time to something that turns out to be useless.
- Frame of mind – a temporary psychological state
- All-time favourite – something that is your favourite thing in your whole life.
Questions about Movies
- What are the movie genres that you like?
- What is your favourite movie? Why do you like it?
- Are there any kinds of movies you dislike? If so, what kinds? Why do you dislike them?
- What is the scariest/funniest/most romantic movie you have ever seen?
- What is the worst movie you’ve ever seen?
- Who is your favourite actor or actress? Why?
- Is there a movie you could watch over and over again?
- Do you prefer fiction or nonfiction movies?
- Do you like documentaries?
- Do you prefer to watch movies at home or at a movie theatre?
- How often do you go to the cinema?
- Do you think there should be more movies made in your country?
- What kinds of movies are popular in your country?
- What do the popular movies in your country show about your culture?
- Is the movie industry in your country strong? Why or why not?
- Do you think there is too much violence in movies? Does it affect children?
- Have you ever cried in a movie?
- Do you choose a movie based on its plot/story or the actors?
- Are most of the films you watch in English or your native language?
- Do you like Hollywood movies? Why or why not?
- Do you think it is right for Hollywood movies to be the movies that are seen most around the world?
- Do you think that movies from different countries can teach us about other cultures?
- Do you think movies have made society more violent?
- What makes a great movie for you?
How to Use Video in the ESL Classroom | Videos for ESL Students
Video for ESL Students
Do you remember how exciting it was when the teacher wheeled the big TV into class? It felt like the school holidays had come early! Sure, you usually ended up watching a stuffy old documentary but it was better than yet another hour of book work.
Video has been inspiring excitement and motivation in students for decades. If you’re not using video in your English language classroom, you’re missing out on a wealth of learning opportunity.
Why Videos in the ESL Classroom?
Extensive research shows that video is a really effective tool for learning, particularly for English language learners. No matter the age of your students, it’s highly likely they will respond well to the combination of visual and audio stimuli.
Here are just some of the benefits of using video:
- It’s fun and can help make a lesson more memorable
- It’s great for visual learners, or students who have not yet learned to read and write well
- It provides context to the language and brings the subject to life
- The language used is often more natural, so students can hear the natural stress, intonation, pronunciation and rhythm
- It’s excellent for practicing a wide range of language skills, beyond speaking and listening
- They’re ideal for a quick warm-up activity
- Students can listen for specific instances of English usage. For example, times.
Types of Video
You can use almost any type of video content in your lessons. From TV shows, films and trailers to documentaries, adverts, news clips, weather forecasts (more ideas: ESL Weather Lesson Activities), sports events and funny animal videos – the list goes on.
Of course, the material you use will depend on the aim of your lesson and the age and ability of your students. You may also need to take into account school rules and restrictions.
Great content can be found on YouTube, Vimeo, English Central and the British Council website. You could also pick from your own collection of DVDs. For a more comprehensive list of video resources, check out this article.
Five Fun V >
Using video in the classroom is only truly effective when the students engage with it. It’s not enough to just sit back and watch the screen, they need to be active! Here are five fun video based activities you can use in your EFL classroom.
It works best if you include some sort of warm-up activity or lead-in to the video. Give students a hint about what they’re going to see.
Next, you’ll want to have some sort of listening task for the students to complete. Give them a reason to pay close attention to the video.
After that, you’ll want to do some follow-up, based on what the students have seen. Check out these five activities you can try out related to using video in the ESL or EFL classroom.
How to Use Video #1: Dubbing
Students watch a video clip of a conversation with the sound off and in groups create the dialogue for the characters. You can then have the students perform their script as the video plays. To finish, you can watch the clip with the sound on and compare the original to the students’ versions.
This is always popular with students. It’s a lot of fun and a great way to improve confidence in both themselves and the language.
How to Use Video #2: Order the Events
After watching a clip, students are given a set of event cards. Each card contains one or two sentences describing events from the video. Students are then asked to rearrange the event cards into the correct order.
This reading-based activity is excellent for memory building and improving recall power.
How to Use Video#3: Buzz In
Put the students into teams. Before starting the clip, ask a question such as, “What object is [character] holding?” or “What is the colour of [character’s] hair?”. When a student knows the answer they ‘buzz in’. If the student is correct, move onto the next question, if they’re wrong replay the clip.
This activity tests the students’ power of observation, and encourages them to think fast.
How to Use Video #4: True or False
Students watch a video clip and write three sentences about what they see. Encourage the students to write a mix of true and false statements. Every few minutes, pause the viewing and ask a student to read a sentence; the rest of the class must decide whether it’s true or false.
This is a great multi-skills activity, ideal for advanced students. It tests their observation, writing, reading, speaking and listening skills, whilst encouraging creativity.
How to Use Video 5: What Happens Next?
This is another activity that tests students’ power of observation, reasoning and creativity. A very simple task: just pause the video and ask the students to guess (based on context) what will happen next.
What’s the Best Sources for Video for ESL Students?
If you’re looking for videos for ESL learners, it can be a little bit tricky to find ones that are appropriate for them. Here are a few of my go-to sources.
If you’re looking for an ESL Conversation video, or any sort of video for ESL students, YouTube is the obvious first place to start. It has millions of videos on just about any topic and for any level.
My quick tip to cut down on the amount of time you spend searching is to search for your topic + ESL. For example, “Jobs ESL.” Or, use a topic + vocabulary. For example, “Animals ESL Vocabulary. You could also search for a specific grammar point. For example, “present perfect ESL” to find some nice English grammar lessons that you could show your students instead of lecturing them on it!
Here’s one example of a jobs vocabulary video:
There are a ton of excellent ESL learning videos on English Central. It has the obvious advantage over YouTube in that you don’t have to wade through a ton of stuff to find something that’ll work for English learners. They’re all designed specifically for this purpose.
While English Central does have a paid section, I’ve found the freebies to be helpful enough and to work for me. The students generally like the videos too! You can find out more about this valuable resource right here: English Central.
With the Textbook
Many of the general, 4-skills ESL textbooks have accompanying video for each unit. They can range from quite well done, to totally and completely cheesy.
However, they have the obvious advantage to them of having the exact same vocabulary and grammar that you’ve been teaching. Don’t underestimate the value of this, and this should be one of the first places you take a look for videos.
Video for ESL students
Where Can I Find an ESL Video Lesson?
If you want to find some complete lessons that centre around a video for your English learners, then you’ll want to check out the following resources:
Or, here are some funny ESL videos that you can find on YouTube. Please watch them first before showing them to your students because some of them are inappropriate!
Try Out Videos in your Classroom Today
We hope this article will encourage you to use video in your classroom and if you want even more information on the best ways to use video in your lessons, have a look here. As you can see it’s engaging and fun, both for student and teacher!
Have your Say about Videos in the ESL Classroom?
Do you like to use ESL teaching videos? Any tips or tricks for making them as useful as possible? Have you tried any of the ideas on this list? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear from you.
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