TEFL Trainer– Reflective diary
Author: Francesco T.
Your experience in teaching with YouTube. What role can videos play in my curriculum?
Youtube: A Tool for Everything through the English language.
After years of autonomous language learning and two years of pedagogy studying in university, I finally had the chance to bring my knowledge to the table by working in Valencia.
YouTube represented an important part of our curriculum as it was involved in many of our lesson plans. Hours of material would be played to our students and subsequently analysed with them.
It is a well-known platform that is perfect to find learning resource, to revise grammar rules or just exercise the language. However, the things that were used the most were vlogs entries, speeches (e.g. Ted Talks) or funny sketches, among many others.
The latter type of videos was found to be particularly effective when it came to engagement. Other than being entertaining, they can also push the listener to focus even more whenever the topic or what is being said was particularly appealing to them. This is opposed to one forcing themselves to listen to English resources for the mere purpose to hear the language rather than doing something else with it.
YouTube is a world-spread service, which means that the varieties of English that can be found on it are numerous. It is particularly good for accents. It easily used as a tool to compare various types of pronunciation of the same word in different English-speaking countries and different registries. It is easily identifiable how people switch from casual to formal English when there are visual cues along with the voices.
It can also be used as a tool to teach the difference between slang (or informal, spoken English) and correct English.
As the internet provides everyone access to anybody, it can also be that the person speaking English could not be speaking correctly, therefore it is a further challenge for the teacher to try and challenge the students to always watch videos on youtube with a critical mind towards the English language. Also, eliciting from the students what mistakes were made by the speaker rather than directly pointing it out could also be a valuable strategy to use whenever we spot problems in the chosen video.
It is also very important to have a good base of grammar whenever we want to introduce our students to this type of resources.
One thing that I learned about the English language is how easy it is to pick it up, if learned through suitable contexts. I have always felt the need to expand the limits of my knowledge and English represent the perfect tool when it comes to that due to the amount of content available in the world in that language. It is one of the needs that brought me to start learning through it.
Youtube, at this point, represents a means through which you don’t actively learn English, but a way to reach one of your goals or discover new things. The English leaning happens passively, day by day, while trying to understand the same concept by repeating the same bit in a comedy sketch or a tutorial you were following.