Diary submitted by Adam Mc M, Valencia
Incorporating Audio Visual materials in the classroom.
The audio-visual method was first developed in France in the 1950s. It is an immensely useful method especially for auditory learners but how should teachers incorporate it in the classroom? Incorporating films with subtitles, songs with their lyrics or recording students themselves.
Non-native speakers tend to rely heavily on non-spoken clues to understand what is being said and because of this the audio-visual approach can be particularly helpful. The teacher can start of just by playing the audio of a video clip, this being the hardest level to then go down to the easiest, then play the video with the visuals and then afterwards with the subtitles. While this is happening, the students should be given some form of task, perhaps a cloze to ensure they are focusing. This model follows the audio-visual method and can easily be used for a small or large portion of the teacher’s lesson plan, depending on what they see fit.
A second method could be to do the same progression with a song (and its music video if appropriate). The teacher should pick a song depending on the class demographic in order to maximise class engagement and overall interest. This can also be coupled with a translation exercise or cloze exercise and can be done in pairs: the teacher should play the song and allow the students to prime their ears and try to pick up what they can. Upon the next playing the students should be issued a hand out with the lyrics, some of which are missing. The students then fill in the gaps while the song plays. At the end of the lesson or as homework the students can translate a small portion of the song into their L1. This is more likely to be effective than picking a random passage to translate as the students will be interested to know what the lyrics of one of their favourite songs really mean.
Thirdly, students can record themselves and then seek guidance from a teacher. This may be especially useful for one on one students who wish to self-study outside of the classroom. The students can be given as homework a short pronunciation exercise to practice at home. The student can then record themselves and hear their own mistakes. They then take their final recording to a teacher or repeat the exercise aloud to the teacher to correct the final mistakes. Thus, minimising overall teacher talking time and maximising student talking time in and outside of the classroom.
There is always some way that the audio-visual approach can be used in class, especially to encourage student engagement. Each of the above scenarios can easily be done with little to no preparation. Fortunately, the student is very likely to appreciate it and engage themselves more when they are encouraged to study something that they are already interested in.