Saturday, January 23, 2010

Great Educational Videos.

These are some of the best educational videos I've found online to help with the teaching of English.  I think it will be an interesting way to help you enter the mind of a ESL teacher in Korea.

Hamsters Alphabet Song:  Teaching the alphabet can be a repetitive task here in Korea.  The official government line is that they are not supposed to actually learn the English alphabet until they are in the 4th grade.  The problem with this fact is that well over half of the students attend Hagwons (private academies).  The problem this presents us with is that half of the class already knows the alphabet, and the other half either have no interest in learning it or have never learned it before.  What this means is that it is like pulling teeth to get the kids to practice.  This video is an essential way to make the kids want to practice.  All that is required is to play the video and the students will start signing along.  I even repeatedly received requests for this video.

School House Rock:  Ohh yes, that.  Believe it or not YouTube has become a veritable bonanza for English teachers.  You can find almost all of the School House Rock series located on the site.  School House Rock still today is an effective tool in teaching language.  I mean, how many of remember the immortal line "conjunction junction, what's your function"?  Well, it turns out that several of these videos have use here in Korea.  Prepositions, Nouns, Verbs, Adjectives, Pronouns, and even Interjections are something that we teach.

Vocabulary Videos:  Teaching vocabulary is unfortunately an essential part of learning any language.  As such we tend to spend lots of time going over thematic vocabulary units.  These units vary from rooms in a home, to parts of the body.  It is essential to reinforce this vocabulary through targeted practice of essential words.  To this end the internet is a valuable resource.  Take this clip for example, which was at one time aired on Sesame Street.  While it is short, it effectively covers parts of the body, and more importantly engages the students in using vocabulary.

Music Videos:  Something we do to change the rhythm of a course is use music videos which highlight key phrases and thematic units which we are teaching.  Take for example the unit "Will you help me please?"  The curriculum comes with a song for this chapter, however it is pure rubbish.  A better song to use would be the Beatles song "Help!"  This song provides a more colloquial usage of how to ask for help, and more importantly doesn't make me feel like throwing something at the computer.

Change of Pace:  Sometimes you just need to have a change of pace with your students.  Whether it is general malaise or just a need to refresh your and their spirits.  This is best accompanied by a video showing something funny.  Anything funny really will work in this situation.  I have found that the best results come from funny animal videos and clips that would qualify for America's Funniest Home Videos.  Enjoy.

Scary Videos:  I know it's mean to do to the students, but nothing will get their attention faster then starting with a video like this.  What is best is that none of them have seen it before you show it to them.  It's great, and would probably get you fired if you tried something like this in America.

The Noun Song:  I recently just finished a grammar session in the English Camp that I am teaching.  I stumbled upon this song when I realized that I needed something to help reinforce the definition of a Noun.  Little did I know that this little diddy would be so catching that I would be signing it in my head.

Videos are just one of the ways that we as teachers try to utilize technology to enhance our lessons.  Sometimes the videos work wonders, and other times they are just an effective way of wasting 5 minutes.

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