TEFL VideosExperience a fast, easy and efficient way to learn through images how to teach EFL
Being a good teacher of English is a challenge many teachers face nowadays. Teaching English not only implies presenting content to the students and correcting their production, but also having the students engaged in a thrilling learning process that they need to feel as their own. Teachers often need to attend courses or seminars in order to exchange innovative ideas that colleagues have succeeded in using. Now, TEFL Videos presents a very practical, versatile and easy-to-access pack of teaching techniques and their demonstrations, with real examples.
TEFL videos consists of video presentations of a maximum length of 10 minutes, graded according to the different levels they are aimed at, for the teachers to plan and prepare their lessons in a very dynamic and organized way. There are more than 100 videos classified according to their work on the four basic skills, as well as on grammar, pronunciation, vocabulary and games and activities to use in class. They also include a set of 15 videos specifically about teaching techniques, with useful tips and resources to make the teaching job slightly different but in the end much more rewarding.
All the TEFL videos about reading, writing, speaking and listening skills, grammar, pronunciation, vocabulary or games follow the same didactic structure. First of all, there is an introduction by the presenter about how the technique is going to be developed, especially focusing on the positive aspects that it is going to provide for the students and connecting these benefits to the possible needs that may appear in students of that level. Secondly, there is a video demonstration of the teacher and the students “in action”, carrying out a real session where we can see the whole development of the technique. Finally, there is a “Take it Further” ending where the explainer presents other applications, examples or uses, as well as different hints to take more advantage of the technique. These three different parts are identified on screen by the headings “Game plan”, “In action” and “Take it further”, so they are very easy to identify.
The techniques and resources are explained in a really clear way, and are reinforced while viewing by hints that appear on screen, marked within lime-green pop-ups, and with a tick and a “zas” onomatopoeia, so that the viewer cannot stop paying attention for a second to that important focus. Among them, the viewer will find appealing titles like “Using physical movement in the classroom”, “Teaching the imperatives with classroom objects”, “Vocabulary Taboo”, “A mingle for the present perfect”, or a classic like “The roles of the effective teacher”, which will accomplish for sure the expectations of the most demanding teacher. The video about “Writing skills” can be considered one of the most interesting from the pedagogical point of view, so I am now going to look at that last example in more detail.
“Writing Skills” is a video aimed at teachers of all levels that stems from the need to teach this skill as well as from the real problems teachers and students find when working with this part of language in order to reach the level of mastery. First of all, we must be aware that both teachers and students avoid writing essays, as they imply hard homework and ease of vocabulary use that not everybody has so commonly available. In addition, it implies devoting lots of time for correction. In this video, they suggest multiplying the possibilities of writing an essay, and do it in a much more motivating way: as an integrated skills curriculum. Starting the lesson with a brainstorm about “the five senses”, the teacher leads the students to focus on smell, provides a real experience of smelling a scent to the class and they then say aloud what this scent reminds them of. The next step has the teacher linking the smell to the author of the text the students are going to read. It is a not very long text the students first read for themselves and afterwards aloud for the others, so that they can practice pronunciation. After checking comprehension with two general questions, the teacher reaches the most important point of the lesson: asking for the writing activity. In a paper where there are two pictures (a rose and a piece of cake) they are asked to write what is the connection between both of them, something that ties them together. The students are given some minutes to do it in class, and afterwards they are asked to talk with their partner about the ideas they used in their texts. The class ends with a feedback to the whole class on some of these ideas the students used in their writings.
With this procedure, writing is no longer presented as a tedious isolated homework activity, but an integrated skill that makes sense together with the discussion and reading procedures. Students are led into the activity without noticing it, and as they have previously talked about some vocabulary they may need, it becomes a much easier and more contextualized work. Correction can also be simplified since there is the final feedback, where the aim of the writing can be checked for most of the students. In addition, all the students can learn from others’ compositions and can enrich their own writing resources and abilities from others’ ideas. Furthermore, we must point out that this video provides a piece of basic theory on writing skills that most teachers take for granted or just ignore, and can make the difference when guiding the writing skills lesson: the important difference between accuracy writing activities and fluency writing activities. Teachers usually join both purposes together and overload themselves with a deep correction process that implies complex error identification systems, demands a great amount of time at home and delays the feedback to the students for several days or weeks. It is a very good point trying to make a difference according to these purposes; so that students can work with less pressure because of the many aspects they have to care about, and can focus either on connecting ideas fluently or paying attention to mistakes of form.
In summary, TEFL videos is a new platform of resources to which any teacher would love to have access at any time when planning daily lessons. Accessibility is guaranteed at any time, from any place, to the subscribers due to a well organised Internet system. These videos are the best way to reorganize the structure of our lessons, or just improve what we already planned with very easy-to-do hints. They provide TEFL teachers with new ideas to enrich everyday work at class and do it in ways that are more effective and attractive to students. They offer suggestions and resources that will help teachers and students to take maximum benefit from the class time, and most importantly, contribute to making the learning a living matter. TEFL videos connects language to life, learning to use, teaching to enjoyment.
TEFL videos is not only an accessible bank of useful resources, but a never-ending possibility to create new techniques, as all the ideas they provide can be modified, adapted and enhanced. Versatility multiplies the videos’ uses and makes them even more valuable.
These videos put into practice universal TEFL techniques, they are aimed at all EFL teacher;, however, they are most suitable for those teachers working with teenagers and adults, as many of the techniques imply a great deal of involvement and willingness, as well as sensibleness. Thouth many times they focus the playful part of the work, they are not always games, so primary school teachers won’t take so much advantage of these proposals.
I have evidence that the techniques work with small groups of students. However, I didn’t have the chance to test them on a big group of more than ten. After having used some of them at my own classes, I can assure that some of them can work with bigger groups, but the videos could include some demostrations with this type of audience, which is less easy to manage with, and give us some tips for doing better with them.
Compared to other ways of improving teaching, they are easy to access, as they are online. They are also seriously planned and displayed, so their purpose cannot be misunderstood and they guarantee the quality. As they are based on real experience in class and they are not prepared and rehearsed fiction situations, you can see real mistakes at the very moment of teaching, so you can really learn from that experience. Furthemore, they are brief, not very long, so they won’t take much time from you when planning the lesson, they are an effective help. Finally, they cover all the skills and needs at an EFL class and the price for a lifetime subscription is really worth it.
Even if you are not an EFL teacher but a teacher of any language in the world you can benefit from this tool now available through the Net. Putting some of those ideas into practice will improve both the quality of your teaching process and your students’ success in the learning experience.
May 2009 | Filed under Websites
Assumpta Biosca Taronger is an experienced EFL teacher and currently a PhD candidate in the Information & Technology Applied Linguistics program of the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia.
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