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Thursday, 17 December 2009

Teaching Video Analysis - a practical exercise

Here's an interesting little exercise for you:

Have a look at this teaching video I found on You Tube and tell me what you think from a teacher's and teaching point of view. I find there are many useful things we can take from this.

As you watch, consider the following points:

1) What sort of learner do you think this video is aimed at?
2) Do you think it meets its aims?
3) Are the presentation and explanation well-adapted to the You Tube medium?
4) How could this lesson be improved?
5) What can we imagine about the teacher's reasons for doing this video?

I'll give my comments once I've heard from some of you - so why not let us know what you think and get a discussion going?

I think it's great that so many people are putting so much effort into providing useful teaching and learning aids based on their personal experience - something which was practically impossible just 15 years ago.

But as proactive English teachers and trainers we owe it to ourselves to separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak, or at least to know what actually makes a good English lesson. That's one of the main purposes of this blog: to keep the grey matter ticking over and to never stop learning and improving. We'll all benefit from that.
Sab Will is Course Director at TEFL Paris, a TEFL Certificate Teacher Training Centre


Andrew said...


I would say that this video is probably aimed at intermediate to advanced learners. The grammar point already assumes a fair amount of background grammatical and vocabulary knowledge to be taught in the way it is presented here.

I would say that it does a fairly good job of achieving the aims set out at the start of the video as it goes beyond merely outlining how descriptive words should be used. Additionally it makes clear what the distinction is between an adjective and an adverb. Assuming the student already knows the difference between a noun and a verb the split is explained well.

In terms of the medium, I think the jump out text boxes that are used occasionally to highlight the correct way to form the sentence are very useful and help highlight the point clearly. The use of colour on certain words is also very good.

I feel that this lesson could be improved with a more exaggerated, enthusiastic delivery of the material. The teacher's presenting style is a bit dry and while the use of phrases like "the fat son" perhaps allow the opportunity for humour, they could also potentially offend some students.

I think the teacher may have created this video in order to show other English teachers potential ways of tackling the grammar point being made in a classroom situation. While videos such as this could be of some benefit to learners, without the opportunity to interact with others, and attempt to produce sentences of their own based around the ideas presented in the lesson they probably will not benefit from it fully.

Morna said...

I think this video is aimed at advanced learners because we are not given definitions of the words used, and it handles grammatical concepts which would be difficult for a new learner.

I think this lesson meets its aims in that the teacher successfully describes the ways adjectives and adverbs are used in the English language. However, it may be difficult for a student to grasp the concepts as the teacher only uses words to illustrate her points.

In respect of whether the presentation and explanation methods are suited to the You Tube medium, the first thing I noticed was that I couldn't really read what was written on the board. As an English speaker this wasn't a problem as I already understood the grammatical concepts being discussed. But for a learner whose mother tongue is not English, this might cause problems. On the other hand, when the video switches to the virtual blackboard, with the noun underlined and the adjective/adverb highlighted, I think this comes across effectively on You Tube, and so this, along with the teacher's explanation is quite successful in illustrating the rules.

As it stands the lesson is quite dry. I think it could be improved with some fun pictures! Perhaps she could start with a picture and have typed labels detailing adjectives which could be used to describe the object depicted.

The teacher might be doing the video because she is passionate about teaching English and wants to help others learn. More specifically, she might have posted it as a resource to aid her students' learning.

Larry said...

I think that this video may be aimed not at non-English speakers, but at English speakers who already have a good grasp of general grammar and vocabulary, but are learning the use of proper English and also the rules of grammar. This would indeed apply to people in India, where the video seems to have been made.

The fact that she is referring to "minister's son" might indicate that she may be directing this video to people in the Indian diplomatic corps or their families.

I do think she did a very good brief explanation of what adjectives and adverbs are and what they do.

And frankly, although I probably would never say "the fat minister's son" when I meant "the minister's fat son", it is in fact a rule of adjective placement that I had never heard actually stated, nor have I ever considered it in the past.

Paris Set Me Free said...

Andrew, Morna & Larry, I think your comments are all excellent.

For me, as a British English teacher, I was tempted to snigger somewhat self-righteously at her clearly Indian accent, but from a professional point of view, that is absolutely the wrong thing to do. There is no absolute right and wrong way to teach English (how could there be?)!

It may well be that if I were to teach her intended audience (native Indians needing to brush up their grammar, as Larry suggests - who knows?) they would find my rather disorganised, haphazard and way-too spontaneous approach appalling! Food for thought, horses for courses, and lessons for intended audiences...

alban said...

This video is probably aimed at medium to advance learners as this short presentation deals directly with it's grammatical topic, without explaining anything else.

I think it meets its aims as it concisely explains adverbs and adjectives use.

This presentation is globally adapted to this media as it allow to explain a grammatical point with example. However the form is probably not the best as the teacher lacks energy and dynamism and that it's not that easy to read clearly on the board.
Otherwise the Indian accent is not a problem as long as phonetics or correct English accent is needed.

This media allows to everybody to share his "passion" for the language, and that it's possible at any age to use new technologies to teach.

Hermann said...

I think it is aimed at intermediate level. The teacher doesn't explain any word so students must have pretty strong knowledge of the vocab.

It does meet its aim in the way that at the end of the video we are able to identify and use an adjective/adverbe. I think her lesson was pretty clear and efficient thanks to the use of examples (the fat minister's son is an error a French learner could have made easily.

I don't think the media is quite appropriate though. It is too linear and lacks energy and enthusiasm. There is a lot of TTT but could it be otherwise with that kind of medium. Maybe it could have been a bit more catchy.

Brianna said...

I disagree with the other so far. I think that this video is most likely directed at pre-intermediate students. While it is true she doesn't explain any of the vocabulary, the vocab is relatively easy eg. the tall boy. Also, the AIM is to get the students to use adjectives correctly. This is something students would learn closer to the beginning of the language lessons, rather than the end.

I do think that she accomplished this AIM though I think she did it in a rather boring way. The beauty of youtube is that it gives you opportunities to use videos, songs, drawings, and all sorts of visual and auditory aids to create a message. While this lesson plan worked with the youtube media, it did not fully exploit the potential resources. Furthermore, these other resources would have helped the students that learn visually or rhythmically rather than be directly solely at visual and intrapersonal learning types.

I think as far as the teacher's reasons for doing this video is like Andrew and Morna said. She felt there was an error or potential error being made and wanted to help other English learners.

Nicko the Snowman said...

At this time in the morning this video started to make my head hurt. To be honest, I even stopped it 10s from the end – I’d had enough.

It's aimed, or is only suitable for, an advanced learner with an already established high level of vocabulary. It may meet its aims if such an audience exists, but I doubt they do and therefore it probably doesn’t meet its aims. On the positive side, they have added graphics to the video to compensate for the difficulty in reading a whiteboard on YouTube and to highlight things. I feel the lesson could be improved by 1) slowing down, 2) more examples of what is being taught, 3) less grammatical terms 4) asking the watcher questions, so they can think. It’s a great idea to use YouTube as a medium, however the style needs to be specifically suited to it e.g more dynamic, flashy, graphical, musical, multimedia etc. A video of a teacher standing in front of a class is not sufficient. It’s not much different from a dull book is it?

“Two informations” at 0m45s. Seems even more of a basic error when considering how grammatical the rest of it is.

I did watch the last 10s in the end.

Joseph said...

This video is aimed toward a beginner learner of English. She does meet the aim of the lesson with the examples she gives in the video, however this lesson could be improved in a few ways. Overall however, the video does get the lesson across to the student and is very useful to the learner.

She has very good knowledge of English but her accent is very heavy and is difficult to understand. This video would be a great asset for students of English in India or other countries where internet access is easy to obtain. English lessons may be a pretty far distance away.


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