How To Teach English As A Second Language Using Videos

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Whenever you work in ESL/EFL, it might be difficult to maintain the link to the outside world that you want to establish in your students.

You might be teaching in an environment where there aren’t many English speakers for the students to practice with, or you might believe that they simply regard the classes as a school subject rather than a communication tool. Using video to teach English is one method to bring the rest of the world into your classroom.

Research and experience suggest that it can be a highly successful learning tool, but it must be used actively. Following are our suggestions on using video to teach effectively.

How to Teach English with Videos

1. Pre-teach the video’s tough vocabulary words, idioms, and expressions


Consider placing these words on the board and previewing what they mean and how they’re used if there are specific language concerns with some important parts of the movie (i.e. locations where you think the vocabulary utilized goes beyond your kids’ level).

Compile a list of key vocabulary words (like the ones outlined in these ESL vocabulary games) and have students discuss their concepts in a group.

2. Start by giving your learners a prediction exercise

Highlighting the opening shot of the video (paused) and informing the class that they will be viewing a video for this segment of the lesson is a smart approach to start a video class.

Next, when you start the video, let your students experience a “predictive assignment” with that initial shot as a still frame. Ask them to guess what the video will be about, who will feature in it, and how long it will last.

You can have them write their responses on the board or on a piece of paper so that they can go back over their predictions after the film and see what they got correct. Even before the video starts, this is a great approach to engage your students in higher-order thinking.

3. Use videos to add interest to reading lessons or to demonstrate difficult ideas

A video is worth a thousand words! You’ll be able to cover abstract concepts or exhibit a difficult-to-explain method with the help of a well-chosen video.

Video or clips of processes like how chocolate is formed, musical performances for performing arts courses, and lessons that incorporate comparative views at cultures around the world are all examples of how video can be used in the ESL classroom to illustrate complex topics.

4. Create activities that go along with the videos

Make sure you have a strategy for what the students should do before, during, and after the video that connects to the lesson’s linguistic goals. Always try to keep everything connected to the rest of the course and never just show a movie to pass the time.

Prepare any questions you want them to answer in advance, and make sure they have the necessary prior knowledge to comprehend the language in the questions. Consider pausing the video to allow students to engage in “turn and talk” dialogues with their classmates after an answer is presented in the video.

5. Make a list of learning objectives for each of your video lesson ideas

When utilizing a video to teach English, it can be tempting to simply turn it on and assume that the kids understand what you’re saying. This is not appropriate, especially for lower-level students.

Since the movie was created for native speakers and contains quick, high-level speaking, it may overwhelm them and make them believe they don’t know any English at all.

You should have a clear ESL learning aim in mind for the video section (e.g., “By the end of this section, learners will be able to name the three main characters in the story”). Create a video with a specific aim to help the learners understand the key concepts with fairly simple illustrations.

6. Check that your computer and Internet are both working

It’s critical to plan ahead of time if you’re going to use video in the classroom. What’s the status of your Internet connection? You may choose to download a video before using it in class in some situations. That way, you can rule out the chance that the Wi-Fi can’t handle the traffic.
In order to play the videos, check the sound system and evaluate how noisy your classes are regularly. The volume should be low enough for students to pay close attention to the video, but not so low that it is drowned out by background noises.

What role does video play in English teaching and learning?

For years, language teachers have used videos in their lessons, and there are numerous reasons why video is an effective teaching and learning tool.

1. The visual context is offered by video

Film’s visual quality makes it an excellent language teaching tool, allowing students to understand more by analyzing the language as a whole.

Video improves learners’ comprehension by allowing them to simultaneously listen to verbal exchanges and view visual supports such as facial expressions and gestures.

2. Flexibility and diversity

By expanding the range of instructional strategies and materials available in the language classroom, video can help students develop all four communicative skills.


Incorporating video to teach English is a great method to connect your classroom to the outside world and to show your students how they might be able to put their hard work into effect outside of the classroom. You’ll get the most out of using videos in the ESL classroom if you choose carefully and arrange your lessons well.

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