We all know that teenagers respond well to videos: they are used to them as a form of communication and they may find it easier to focus on them than on other modes of delivering content. It’s not a coincidence that learners are now defined as “viewers” and that Youtube is the second biggest social media website in the world.
In this post, we are going to give you our best, tried and tested ideas for videos to use in the English language classroom. We think they are good not simply for listening practice, but also to spark interesting conversations and reflections.
There’s a poem for that
Do your students sometimes struggle to identify with or enjoy poems? Well, with the poems from “There’s a poem for that”, you can… change that! Featuring poems by William Shakespeare, Robert Frost and Emma Lazarus, among others, these short videos present animations that help learners better understand and visualise the poem. Check out the series here.
Europe vs Italy
If you’re keen on teaching a class with a cultural component or want to do a lesson on stereotypes, you don’t need to look any further than Bruno Bozzetto’s Europe vs Italy. In this funny animated video, Italian habits are contrasted with European habits. It’s good for a little laugh, but also for deeper reflection on national stereotypes and debate activities. Plus, since it doesn’t involve much speaking and has clear captions, the video can be used even at low levels.
All that we share
We’ve used this 3-minute video with our teenage students and interesting conversations always followed. The video is based on a simple premise: what we share is more than what divides us. Use it with subtitles or without for a bit of extra challenge.
If you want to mix up some spoken word/poetry and some pure reflection on the human condition, this video is for you. Not only can you work on its rhythm and rhyme, but you can also focus on its key message: the loneliness that we feel even though we are constantly connected to others online and the opportunities we miss by being glued to our phones every day. We can’t think of a theme that’s more spot-on for our teenage students.
Small Worlds and Six Degrees of Separation
This short animated video explains the theory of the Six Degrees of Separation. Based on this theory, it only takes up to six steps to connect any two people in the world, regardless of where they are based. A great video to get learners thinking about how it really is a small world and how they could be connected to their favourite musician.
Would you like to include some ‘British culture’ in your classes? A great way to do that is with the videos from the Anglophenia channel. Although it has not been updated for a few years, it is still a treasure trove of videos about cultural aspects of British culture, including homes, strange sayings and Halloween!
English for beginners
This short, funny and endearing video shows all the ways in which an old man tries to learn English. The ending reveals why the old man is trying to learn English. You can use this video for a light-hearted moment in the class and to brainstorm ways in which students can improve their English outside of class.
Bad TV impressions
Are your learners fans of TV series? Then comedian Kieran Hodgson’s Bad TV impressions channel may be for you. It features Hodgson’s impressions of the main characters of various TV series, including The Crown, Bridgerton, The Queen’s Gambit and The Undoing. The videos may be challenging for lower levels, but you can still use them and challenge them to recognise as many characters as possible!
We hope you enjoy these videos as much as we (and our students) did. If you use them, tell us how it went in the comments section!
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