Thursday, May 26, 2011

ESL Speaking Lesson on YouTube

This lesson aims at having students discuss the use of youtube videos in the EFL environment and what techniques a teacher might use to teach such lessons. The whole class was inspired by a wonderful article entitled You Tube for Foreign Languages: You have to see this video.

A. Discuss in groups.

1. When did you last hear yourself saying these:

Have you seen this video?”

You have to see this video!

2. Why do you think that YouTube became so popular?

3. How long has this site been on?

4. How popular is YouTube now?

5. Why do some theorists call YouTube The World’s First Web Band?

6. What does Youtube’s popularity mean for education?

7. What are some of the reasons why people use youtube? What do you use it for?

B. Read the article taken from Language Learning & Technology and check what they think about it.

The history of YouTube

In February of 2005, Steve Chen, Chad Hurley, and Jawed Karim founded YouTube with the domain name The site was created as a forum for people to create and share short video clips online. One year later Google purchased YouTube for $1.65 billion.

How popular is YouTube now? Consider that on a daily basis there are more than two billion views (YouTube Facts & Figures). In addition, 51 percent of YouTube viewers go to YouTube weekly, and 52 percent of 18 to 34 year-olds often share videos with other people (YouTube Fact Sheet). Solomon and Schrum (2007) describe “The World’s First Web Band” as a microcosm for the impact YouTube has had on society as a whole. Consider that the members of this Web band never met each other in person, created a music video, and recruited a drummer completely online. Initially, they did not even know each other’s names. To date there have been over 2 million views of their first YouTube video, Internet Killed the Video Star. In closing, Solomon and Schrum ask the question also posed by this

article, “what does this mean for education?”

Obviously, YouTube is used for varying purposes, the majority of which are not educationally relevant. For example, many people use YouTube simply as a form of entertainment. Someone records a person in a funny prank, posts it to YouTube, and others go to check it out. In some cases there are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of viewers. For other users YouTube is a venue for sharing family videos, posting a work demonstration, advertising a company or product, or providing students access to media from across the globe. It is this educational value of YouTube that will be explored here with particular emphasis on foreign language education.

C. Discuss in groups.

1. Why are many educators resistant to the use of Youtube videos at school?

2. Who are the digital natives? What do they want?

3. Why do some people believe that YouTube videos should be used in class?

4. Can the use of YouTube videos in the foreign language classroom satisfy students and teachers? How?

D. Gapped reading.

Student A reads text (1) on digital natives, and shares with student B.

tudent B reads text (2) on Content and Information, and shares with student A.


After considering the basic premise behind YouTube and the specific needs of the digital native students, the next logical question is: can the use of YouTube videos in the foreign language classroom satisfy students and teachers?

The answer is yes. YouTube offers fast and fun access to language and culture-based videos and instruction from all over the globe. It provides an outlet for student and teacher-created videos, and most importantly, YouTube videos provide students with an opportunity to engage meaningfully in the target language.

From a research perspective, there are several advantages to using video clips educationally. Berk (2009) describes a review of theoretical and research-based studies related to the use of videos and the brain. He discusses how the use of videos has been found to benefit students by connecting to multiple intelligences, both hemispheres of the brain, and to the emotional sense of the students. He also refers to the “picture superiority effect”, which explains that concepts or ideas are more likely to be remembered if they are presented as pictures rather than words.

From a practical perspective, the idea of utilizing YouTube in language classes is similar to what Randy Pausch refers to as the “head fake” (Last Lecture), in which a parent or educator shifts the focus of an activity while simultaneously teaching the targeted content. The result for the students is learning without initially realizing that they were learning. The poignant part of this approach is that the students are more likely to remember the lesson after the fact. Foreign language students may be temporarily distracted or entertained by a YouTube video clip, but they will gain real linguistic knowledge and skills at the same time.

Joseph M. Terantino Emerging Technologies: YouTube for Foreign Languages Language Learning & Technology 12

Text (2) - YouTube for Providing Content and Information

YouTube videos can serve many purposes for foreign languages; however, the majority of uploaded videos are used to provide linguistic and cultural content and information in and related to the target language. Many of these videos are created by individuals or instructional institutions. For example, consider a series of videos produced by Señor Mara to educate his high school students on the Spanish language, Conjugations Back and Cry Me a Verb. In these videos Señor Mara uses current hip hop songs with revised lyrics to demonstrate how to conjugate Spanish verbs. For those who teach foreign languages, these videos are a must see.

Utilizing YouTube videos in an informative manner is also beneficial for illustrating a concept, presenting an alternative viewpoint, stimulating a learning activity, and motivating the students (Berk, 2009). As such, these videos may be used for inspiring or motivating students to learn. Consider the video Foreign Language Study Benefits, which aims to encourage students to learn a foreign language by describing the potential benefits. Other videos may motivate the students by catching their attention, much like entertainment: French Man Tries to Say Hamburger, Learn Another Language, German Coast Guard - Lost in Translation, Paris At Last - I Love Lucy, One Semester of Spanish - Love Song. Each of these videos highlights the comedic value of language learning or linguistic misunderstandings.

E. What are some techniques that a teacher might use to explore youtube videos in class? Read the names of the activities and try to guess how they work.

· Videotelling

· Text reconstruction

· Gapped viewing

· Observe and write

· Split viewing

· Vision on/ sound off

· Video dictogloss

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