Using video: Readiness Activities
Watching authentic video with a wide range of unfamiliar accents can be very challenging for learners. They have no control over the speed at which they have to understand the content and they have to process both images and audio in order to construct meaning. Video can however be very motivating for students, engage them on a deeper level than almost any other medium and really help them to develop.
We can help our students to understand the content of the video materials though by making sure that they are prepared for what they see and hear and reducing the ‘cognitive load’ or the amount of information they have to deal with the first time they watch.
One of the best ways to do this is to help students to access what they already know about the topic and to raise their expectations of what they might find out and how the information will be structured before they watch the complete video. This can be done by using silent viewing tasks (watching the video first without sound). This helps to build a framework in students minds about the structure and content of the video and access their existing knowledge, without overloading them with information.
Here are some activities you can use with the Premier Skills videos to help your students do this.
1. Show students the text introduction to the video and ask them to predict what they think they will see in the video.
2. Ask students watch all or part of the video with the sound off and see what people and places they recognise. See if they can identify the genre of the video (is it news, documentary, coverage of a game, etc.) See if they can tell you what the video is about.
3. Take screen shots of images from the video and ask students to predict what they think is happening in each images.
4. Take screen shots of images from the video and ask students to arrange them in the order they see them as they watch the video without the sound.
5. Play the video with the sound off and get students to make questions to ask someone about what is happening in the video and what they would like to know about what they see.
6. Play the video with the sound off and pause it at intervals and ask students what they think is happening and what they think the people in the video are talking about and how they are feeling.
Procedure for setting the activities
1. Make sure that all the students can see the video and that the sound is off before you start playing the clips.
2. Make sure you emphasise that these activities are fun and stress to students that you aren’t expecting ‘correct’ answers to these tasks and that they will have the opportunity to watch the videos again with the sound on.
3. Be sure not to correct any of your students answers even if they are predicting things that are wrong. At this stage the main thing is that their minds are open and enquiring.
Procedure for using the activities
1. You don’t always need to show the whole clip sometimes just a minute or so is enough to get students thinking and curious.
2. Make sure you give the students the chance to discuss their predictions and share them.
3. You could put some of the predictions up on the board or get students to write them down so that when they watch with the sound they will be able to check their predictions to see if they were correct.
4. Try to avoid correcting the students and keep them curious about the content. This will make them want to understand more and keep them focussing on working for themselves.