Using video in the classroom – webinar by Stephanie Dimond-Bayir

Yesterday I joined a great webinar on using video in class. I love webinars, it’s so handy to get a dose of CPD and motivation while curled up on the sofa, not to mention the handy ideas to use  in class the next day – as I did today. This webinar was produced by the wonderful Cambridge English Teacher, if you are not a member then join today, not just for the webinars but also for the self study courses and the expert advice.

As I find the best way to learn something is to explain it to someone else I’m going to tell you everything I learnt yesterday.

Firstly Stephanie discussed some advantages of using video in class; students retain information more easily, they are enthusiastic about watching films, they are used to getting information from visual media, videos contain paralinguistic features to help comprehension, etc.

Disadvantages include; students feel they are being entertained not educated, film stimulates the imagination less than books, it can be a challenge to find and use appropriate authentic material, especially with low-level groups.

Stephanie referred her various suggestions on using video back to Bloom’s taxonomy, you are probably familiar with this pyramid, where the lower levels (Lower order thinking skills or “LOTS”) are remembering, understanding and analysing, and the higher levels (HOTS) include evaluating and finally creating.

Stephanie’s LOTS ideas included the following;

Backs to the screen – half the class turn their backs to the screen, the other half then watch a section of the film with the sound down and have to describe it to those who can’t see.

(Another thing you can do is play the first few minutes of the film with the sound but no image, and ask students to predict what they think is happening.)

Gap fills, ordering pictures or text so they correspond to the order seen or heard in the film, and comprehension questions also made up the LOTS.

HOTS included:

Predictions :

-draw on outline on the board (trace a screenshot from the DVD on your laptop.

-show some photo clips (using the snipping tool on your laptop).

– create a word cloud (

-image discussion – print out 4/6 images from film, get students to pin them on their front, all those with the same image get together to discuss their image, then recreate groups to include one of each picture and these new groups discuss what they think the film will be about.

Create a newspaper article (using ans ask students to use it (or just the headline) to predict what will happen.

Activities while you watch

– Give script or description with errors added and ask students to correct them.

– Create a dictogloss by watching a section a few times, giving key words and asking students to recreate the script to the best of their ability.

– Create a running dictation with various phrases pinned on walls around the class, once the students correctly dictated them to their partner who remains seated, they must watch the film to put them in the correct order.

Post-watching activities

– Help students write a summary by creating a story frame, e.g. “The story starts with______, it is set in_______, the most important characters are_____” This way you can be sure they use certain key words or expressions.

– Get students to create an online review (using

– Use Venn diagrams to compare and contrast characters, with similarities in the linked sections.

– Translation activity-  watch  couple of minutes of the film and get the students to produce an oral summary, watch again using English subtitles, then again using L1 subtitles. Get the students to translate the L1 subtitles into English and compare the two versions.

This morning I used a wordle and the “backs to screen” activity with my students, they enjoyed these activities and were very motivated. We are watching a whole movie (Little Miss Sunshine if you are interested) and it’s great to have some ideas to keep them attentive, sometimes watching a full-length film can become an excuse for a nap, especially if the summary is easily available on the web. Next lesson I plan to use the dictogloss activity, and also the translation one too.

I also plan to have them write and act out an epilogue scene, that would take place at the end of the movie. You can do this after the end of the film, or to get them to imagine how the film ends.

Let me know if you have any other video ideas you’d like to share.


About fabenglishteacher

enjoying sharing learning
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