The days of the blackboard and chalk are over. These days, whether it’s teaching English or anything else, students have a wealth of multimedia available to them in the classroom.
Far from the days of a small TV and VCR being wheeled into a designated room, many teachers today are able to use interactive whiteboards, iPads, laptops and phones to get a message across. Video content, especially in the advent of YouTube, is no longer an expensive venture; the democratisation of the internet means anyone with a connection can get wired in.
How does that specifically help TEFL teachers? Well, the advantages are enormous – we’ll get to those. What’s for certain is that ESL companies and English-learning institutions have reacted quickly and comprehensively to the modern classroom.
In this blog post we’re featuring 10 great video resources for TEFL!
Why You Should Use Video in the TEFL Classroom
We’re sure you have the most incredible speaking voice. We’re certain your lesson plans are engaging, you’re trained to the optimum and you’re the very best at engaging a classroom.
Even the best teachers, though, benefit from the variety that video can bring. Whether it’s nailing a tricky phrase or contextualising some important grammar or punctuation rules, video can be extremely beneficial. Everyone learns differently; the more visually-inclined students in your class could absolutely benefit from an explainer video or two.
Also, depending on the video, it’s a great opportunity for students to watch and listen to people speaking conversational English. Additionally, deciphering different accents and rhythms of speech can help to build fluency.
Essentially, it’s about bringing real-life scenarios into your teaching. Through songs, games and film clips, English learners can garner useful information that can be visually displayed and remembered more easily.
It’s not just for students, though. A lot of video guides are extremely useful for teachers, and it’s important to have as many tools in your kit as possible before launching into a career in TEFL teaching.
10 great video resources for TEFL
The British Council’s YouTube page is nothing short of a goldmine for English teachers.
A really valuable resource for TEFL teachers, the British Council has some excellent guides, specifically for areas such as critical thinking, using flash cards in the classroom, and even using video as a learning resource.
There are plenty of great videos to be found here, covering topics such as how to use Skype for teaching English and even interesting clips from conferences. This is a great channel to keep an eye on if you’re interested in professional development.
Who doesn’t love a good TED talk?
ESL Brains hosts a great range of lesson plans, which are, for the most part, based on TED talks. This is a really great resource for adult learners and there’s a particular focus on Business English.
One highlight includes an exercise involving different kinds of milk. It involves independent thinking, group work and creating a product – all in English! ESL Brains, indeed.
The Learning English Video Project is a seven-part series that focuses on the different methods and – crucially – reasons for learning English. While we take it as given that English is extremely useful, the Learning English Video Project zeroes in on the advantages, while introducing techniques that can be universally useful.
This project offers insight into English language learning and teaching in seven different countries around the world – The UK, Brazil, China, Spain, America, Romania, and Morocco. These videos are useful for both EFL teachers and students.
Their website also has some great quizzes, which test everything from Subjunctives to tenses, adjectives, verbs, nouns and everything in-between.
Sadly, YouTube channel Elemental English doesn’t appear to be producing content anymore. That’s a real shame, because its user-friendly, colourful and accessible style made it a great resource.
Still, there are plenty of great videos focused on grammar and pronunciation to check out. These well-produced videos are clearly explained and are great for screening in the classroom or sharing with students as part of a homework exercise.
A particular highlight is this video on the rhythm of language or the “music of each language”. Stressing particular words in a sentence, or sounds within a word, are inherently crucial to deciphering meaning and context.
The aim of English Central is to improve students’ pronunciation and vocabulary, and it’s something they do through well-articulated, progressive lesson planning.
The student watches a video and marks the words they don’t know, learns the new words, and then practices speaking. The platform provides students who register with one video a day based on their level.
With a very clear progression from beginner to intermediate to advanced levels, English Central uses popular media and pop culture to expand a student’s vocabulary base.
Who’s in your rap top 5? Biggie? 2pac? Kenrdrick Lamar? Jay-Z? Fluency MC?
Yes, Fluency MC. He may not have been in the Wu-Tang Clan, Odd Future or A Tribe Called Quest, but he’s as prolific as any rapper out there. Instead of typical rap topics, though, Fluency MC is all about pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary.
Whether you’re learning how to use Salt n Pepa at the table, or you’re experiencing MF DOOM over past participles, Fluency MC will help you run the vowels so you don’t have to sweat the technique. If you’re looking to get Paid In Full for your TEFL lessons, using Fluency MC is a good idea.
Music can be a great learning tool for students, so if you’re looking to become an Alchemist at teaching English lessons, then Fluency MC will stop you from taking a Big L.
If you’re looking for a resource that promises much and delivers even more, engVid is an ideal choice. The website boasts 1830 video lessons created by experienced EFL teachers.
With beginner, intermediate and advanced videos, engVid is another tool that uses pop culture in its lessons, but also has a wealth of more traditional lesson plans to help you teach both basic and more nuanced English.
These videos cover grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, IELTS, and more.
Film English is a fantastic resource which incorporates lesson plans designed around interesting short films. Film English has won a number of awards, including a British Council ELTons Award for Innovation in Teacher Resources, the MEDEA Award, in 2013, and an English Speaking Union Award in 2014.
Film English also uses blockbuster releases from years gone by, to help students pick up phrases, idioms and even dialects. Take ‘About a Boy’ for example, which Film English uses to “improve [students’] English vocabulary, listening comprehension, pronunciation and speaking.”
In a world where almost every kid has a YouTube and Tiktok account, Viral ELT have turned viral videos into a learning opportunity. So, your hours spent scrolling videos was for something, after all!
Your students will no doubt be familiar with viral videos and each video on Viral ELT is accompanied by 10 conversation questions and a listening activity. This is a resource appropriate for upper-intermediate to advanced learners.
Who said memes were a waste of time?
Sometimes, you hear stories about people learning English through programmes like The Simpsons and Friends. Abstract as it may seem, it’s more than useful, especially for learning conversational English. Granted, in the case of Friends, there won’t be a laugh track whenever you make a funny comment.
Learn English with a TV Series has jumped on this niche, and made it mainstream. With 5 million YouTube subscribers, their methods are clearly working – people are learning English along to Spongebob Squarepants, Disney Films, Stranger Things and more.
It’s not just TV series, though, so the name’s a little misleading. There are TED Talks, songs, interviews with pop culture figures and – somewhat surprisingly – this video using footballers!
Using video in the classroom – a quick guide
So, at this point, you might be wondering “How do I incorporate these video resources?”
Fair question. It’s all about picking the right moments. Using videos as the be-all-and-end-all isn’t the best approach, but for really articulating phraseology, vocabulary and accents, it’s hard to beat an audio-visual learning experience.
Video can act as a reward, too. If a class has been performing well, some comedy clips, or even some rapping (courtesy of Fluency MC, for example) can be both a pleasurable experience for students and an incentive to learn.
Use it wisely, and video can be your best friend.
Looking for more TEFL resources? Check out our range of PDF lesson plans!