YouTube Videos in an ESL Classroom and Visible Thinking

YouTube Videos and Visible Thinking in an ESL Classroom

Short video clips have a lot of potential in an ESL teaching practice. The visual input hooks students and make them enthusiastic about sharing their ideas if the story of the clip catches their attention. Recently, I stumbled upon a clip on Larry Ferrazo’s blog called “Giving”

This is a great example of a clip suitable for ESL students. The story line is powerful and the English subtitles aid students’ understanding. I can see a lot of discussion being generated by the video.

This clip also really complements an activity that I run in my class which I would like to share:

The current unit of inquiry that we are exploring in Grade 4 is Media Literacy. Students investigate how media influence us in ways we may not be aware off and also how we can communicate with others creatively.

In my ESL class, our focus is on looking into the different types of media, how people will communicate in the future and what kinds of communication devices they will be using. I assign an independent project where students are asked to design their own future communication device.

Before I assign the project I show students the following clip:

I remind the students to think visibly and try to be aware of what they see, thiIMG_5235nk and wonder about. Visible thinking routines are part of my ESL instruction as I described in one of my previous posts. This visible thinking routine brings out questions that students have about this clip and gets the discussion going. My questions and comments depend on what students are wondering about and what ideas they come up with. At the end, I reveal that the man is wearing Google glasses and we watch the video once more to make sure that the students understand what happened on the screen.

To conclude, I would recommend doing the “SEE, THINK, WONDER” visible thinking pre-activity with the video clip “Giving”  that I mentioned above and with any other video clips that students watch in ESL. Visible thinking routines stimulate discussion and help English language learners verbalize their thinking and make them feel more successful in the class.

More interesting tips on how to use videos with English language learners:

The use of video as a starting point for a lesson

Using Video in the Classroom


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