Last Friday, I decided to use a video in the classroom for the first time in a long time. I have often found the use of videos quite a difficult task in itself. It is rather difficult trying to use videos for language points or for more focused tasks. Nonetheless, I decided to show “Love Actually”, a video set during Christmas with a wide range of actors and actresses, and had set some tasks for my Young Adults to complete during the watching of the movie. The movie itself was quite long, about 2 hours in length with some great scenes which reflected the spirit of Christmas.
The initial task that I set the learners at the beginning of the class was to complete a gapfill exercise. The first two scenes include a scene at what is assumed Heathrow Airport and then the second scene is in a music studio with Rock & Roll Legend, Billy Mack. Get the learners to complete the handout below by themselves, before pairing them up to check their answers and finally eliciting the correct answers.
The second task that I set for learners was for them to complete a character matching exercise: match the character and their job/occupation. Before watching the movie, we studied up on various occupations (housekeeper, housemaid, etc) and then I handed out a matching worksheet after the initial activity for learners to complete (which is below). As there were a number of different characters/names, it was difficult work for students to learn about them and their occupations. The learners were listening intensively to the dialogue and for any clues. To check that they were listening with the first activity, I elicited the name of the Rock & Roll Legend (Billy Mack) and then told learners that they had to complete the rest of the matching activity whilst they watched the rest of the movie.
At one scene in the movie, where Mark and Juliet meet to discuss about a video from a wedding (about the first two minutes of the scene with the YouTube video below), I paused the movie and elicited their names. I then went on to say that they are going to watch the next scene with Mark and Juliet with no sound and they have to predict/guess what they are saying. I handed out a blank script and the learners will have to complete the script to the best of their ability. It was mentioned that it made no difference whether they attempted to complete it and was wrong as it was all good practice. I played the video and I was acting as a human remote control and learners were telling me: “pause”, “rewind”, “fast forward”, etc. The scene was played a number of times until learners were happy to complete the activity and then act the scene out. There was a lot of laughing and the students really got into the scene.
Next, I played the scene with the sound off and then just the subtitles so that they could see what things were similar or different to their script. We then played the video with the sound on and the subtitles off. It was a wonderful activity and were quite responsive. In the second lesson of the week, we continued with the movie and watched the ending. I handed out a worksheet for learners to complete and it was a character summarisation. Learners had to choose one character from the movie and write about him/her. Luckily, all learners chose someone different and they had a look on Wikipedia or other websites to learn a bit more about their chosen character. Fortunately, they decided not to plagiarise from Wikipedia and their writing was commendable.
As I mentioned earlier in the blog post, it was the first time that I had used a movie in class to any success and the learners were quite responsive to this. The was an opportunity for creative writing, writing about people, as well as an opportunity to act a scene out (although I have one boy and seven girls: some of the girls were quite happy to go Shakespeare and pretend to be Mark). Anyhow, have you used videos in class before? What activities do you include when showing a video in class? Do you try to focus on the grammatical aspects of English when showing a video? Do you have any advice for me when I show videos in class in the future? It would be wonderful to hear from my readers so that I could consider them in the future.