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Video-based teaching activities

Opis przykładowych technik do nauki języka angielskiego z wykorzystaniem video.

(Arykuł w języku angielskim).

Video materials enable the use of a tremendous variety of activities in the language classroom. Different types of sequences (e.g. drama, news broadcast, television commercials, etc.) are suitable for different techniques. What technique the teacher uses to a particular video presentation depends on the learners' needs and age, language proficiency levels, the teacher's objectives and the video itself. In order to plan a successful lesson, first the teacher needs to select a sequence and then choose appropriate activities. Techniques can be combined to produce a variety of activities.

Stoller (1992) claims that in order to take the greatest advantage of video materials, previewing, viewing and postviewing activities should be integrated into video-based lessons. The main purpose of previewing activities is to prepare students to see the video and to aid comprehension. The most common activities preceding video viewing are class surveys, problem resolution, video discussion, brainstorming, information-gap exercises and others. By means of these activities students familiarize themselves with the subject of a sequence they are to watch.

As far as viewing activities are concerned, "the help students to focus on important features of the video or on the character or plot development at crucial junctures of the video" (Stoller 1992:30). The amount of techniques in teaching with video is numerous. The techniques described below are options. Teachers' duty is to select and adapt techniques that evolve naturally out of the video and meet the needs of students, as well as fit the aims of the class.

  • active viewing and global comprehension - students should take an active part in watching videos as active viewing can not only focus students' attention on the main idea of the video presentation but also enhance their enjoyment and satisfaction. To view a sequence actively, students should be provided with a task to do when watching, e.g. a set of questions to be answered on the basis of a video material;
  • freeze framing and prediction - freeze framing means "stopping the picture on the screen by pressing the still or pause button" (Hemei 1997:45). The picture can be stopped when teachers want to teach words and expressions concerning mood and emotions, ask questions about a particular scene, call students' emotions or indentify body language. It is excellent for prediction. In this technique the teacher shows only the beginning of a sequence and student's task is to speculate what they will see or hear later in the video story. According to Stempleski (1992:19) this activity works well with sequences from documentaries, television news programmes or dramas in which the situation is quickly and clearly established. After predicting the sights, the sound and the words, students should compare and discuss their answers as a class or in small groups and finally watch the entire sequence to check if their predictions were correct;
  • silent viewing - this technique involves playing a video sequence with the sound turned down. When students are watching video for the first time it can be regarded as a prediction technique. Students' task is to watch only the picture and observe the behaviour of the characters might be saying. This technique is appropriate for use with dramatic sequences containing visual clues about the situation or relationship among the characters;
  • sound on and vision off - in this technique students hear the soundtrack without seeing the pictures. They predict what they will see taking into account the dialogue and sound effects. This activity is suitable for television commercials that make use of sound effects and music but do not have the name of the product or service advertised on the soundtrack. In small groups students speculate on the product being advertised, giving reasons for their answers. As a variation, the teacher can show a five or six commercials and learners match them with a jumbled list of the names of the advertised products. After groups have discussed their choices, the teacher plays the complete commercials with both pictures and sound;
  • dubbing - this technique can be used "after a review of the video material or when students have the necessary language competence" (Hemei 1997:46). There exist two ways of applying it. The first one consists in turning the sound down at random intervals inviting students to fill in the missing dialogue orally, whereas the second way consists in turning the sound off, leaving students with only the visual information and asking them to fill in the script in response to the visual clues they receive;
  • jumbled parts - this technique involves dividing a video sequence into separate clips (i.e. short pieces of a film shown separately) and playing them in an order different from that on the original video. Stempleski (1992) claims that for this technique to work the teacher needs to select clips with a logical cause-and-effect relationship.

    As Hemei (1997) says the video presentation should lead follow-up activities as the basis for further extended oral practice. Postviewing activities encourage the use of newly acquired knowledge in a both written and oral form. The entire class shares the experience of viewing the video making group and pair work highly effective. Activities such as class surveys, video summaries, alternate endings, comparisons, discussion, debate, etc. offer students an opportunity to develop sharing and co-operative skills.


  • Hemei, J. (1997). Teaching with Video in an English Class. English Teaching Forum, 35 (2), 45-47.
  • Stempleski, S. (1992). Teaching communication skills with authentic video. In S. Stempleski and P. Arcario (Eds.) Video in second language teaching: Using, selecting, and producing video for the classroom. Alexandria.
  • Stoller, F. (1992). Using video in theme-based curricula. In S. Stempleski and P. Arcario (Eds.) Video in second language teaching: Using, selecting, and producing video for the classroom. Alexandria.

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