The use of authentic material on a regular basis can be a very profitable possibility for students when it comes to being exposed to the social context of the foreign language they intend to be fluent in.
Below my findings and hints on working with authentic videos and a set of activities based on a scene from the American sitcom "The Middle".
Socially contextualized opportunity for Listening Improvement
Students can observe gestures, intonation features in the scenes
Chance to expand on popular expressions, slang or even emphasize how a particular structure differs from the students’ mother tongue.
Link can easily be with students afterwards
Do watch the full video beforehand
Youtube is a good and free option where specific scenes from the sitcoms or tv series can be found even in HD(High Definition) and with precisely edited scenes
Some videos come with subtitles in English which might be especially helpful for entrance levels
True or False sentences
Order the expressions / words / sentences
Complete the gaps
Watch the scene with sound off
Act out a particular scene
Try to guess the meaning or the point of the expressions used
The video should not last a whole class, but instead be a part of it. It’s effective as an introduction to the lesson topic or as a way to observe the language structure within the social context of the scene.
Video Activity on “Resolutions for the new year”
Considering the scenario of the beginning of a new year, new term, new levels, here’s the scene I’ve chosen:
The Middle (new year resolutions)
Order the lines according to the video above
( ) A single thing we can improve on
( ) At least we have to do the resolutions
( ) Secretly pull names out of the hat
( ) Every year you make us say these stupid stuff we’re gonna do, but now one ever does it
( ) We’re really gonna go through these charades again?
( ) We never stick with our resolutions, so what about we picked one for each other?
( ) I think Axl’s on to something
2) Complete the resolutions each member of the family decided for each other.
_________ being a pig and _________ that filthy room you call _____________
Stop ____________ all the __________
Stop trying out for things ______ __________ make
Spend ________ __________ with Buck
Answer Key http://goo.gl/PzjYt8
3) Follow up activity.
Brainstorm with the whole group “language learning resolutions” and list them on the board.
The game is: choose a resolution for one classmate and one for you. Write the classmate’s resolution in a piece of paper. When all resolutions are ready , place them in a box, have students in a circle and each one pull a name + resolution out of the box. Students should compare the resolution chosen for them and what they had in mind.
The teacher can also expand by having the whole class elect the term/year/module resolution and how to get to reach that particular goal.
“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is a progress; working together is success” Henry Ford