Video and young learners 2

This second article concentrates on classroom activities. The way the video is used and the materials prepared for use with the video will depend on the role the video is to take. 

Lynn Gallacher, British Council

Issues such as this are discussed in Video and young learners 1.

Current thinking on video in the classroom advocates an integrated approach, not simply using the video in isolation but within a sequence of tasks: Pre-viewing, while viewing and post viewing, always depending on the role chosen for the video. If for example, the video is used only as a stimulus, a pre-viewing stage would not be necessary. Below are suggested activities for the three stages.

  • Pre-viewing
  • While viewing
  • Post viewing
  • Further reading and bibliography

Many of the activities are linked to the following video lessons:

Any pre-viewing activity will be associated with developing learners' comprehension strategies. Native speakers use many strategies to aid comprehension and these strategies can also be applied to learning a second language.


  • Tell learners they are going to watch/listen to a story/advert/news report about.... What do they expect to hear and see?
  • Learners do quiz on topic of video. The quiz could be True/False or open-ended questions. (See Video lesson 2)
  • Give learners two minutes to brainstorm vocabulary connected to topic (See Video lesson 2)
  • Learners put written summary of video in order
  • Learners watch video with sound off, then guess topic and content
  • Learners read story/news article connected to video topic
  • Stories: Using flashcards of story - Ask learners if they can guess what happens in story. Flashcards need only be quick line drawings done on A4 card or even paper. (See Video lesson 1)
  • Stories: Learners predict story by numbering pictures from story on worksheet. To make the worksheet draw basic pictures illustrating main ideas of the story on paper. Make sure they are in a different order to the order they appear in the story.

While viewing
In most cases you will want the learners to watch the video or video extract more than once. The aims for watching the video for the first time and further times will probably be different. 

Tasks completed while viewing a video for the first time are commonly associated with developing listening skills and in particular listening for global understanding. 

Activities for a second or third viewing are often associated with providing information (to provide content relevant to students' needs and interests) and presenting or reinforcing language (grammar, vocabulary, functions).


  • Developing listening skills
    • Learners watch video to confirm predictions made in pre-viewing activity (See Video lesson 1 and Video lesson 2)
    • Learners answer comprehension questions
    • Teacher stops video and asks learners to predict continuation
    • Providing information
    • Learners make notes about content which will be used in post-viewing activity. This could be information they have heard or information they have seen. (See Video lesson 3)
    • Presenting or reinforcing language
    • Learners listen for specific pre-taught vocabulary. 6-8 vocabulary items would be enough. Learners say stop when they hear the vocabulary. (See Video lesson 1)
    • Learners listen for examples of grammatical structures and note them down. (See Video lesson 2 and Video lesson 3)
    • Learners participate in telling story along with video. This could be used after a video has been watched a few times. The learners are given a character in the story and the sound is turned down at various points. The learners try to say the words.

Post viewing
Post viewing activities are often connected to the idea of using language that came from the video or the video could simply have been used as a stimulus and the post viewing tasks are not connected in anyway to language found in the video.


Using language

  • Learners read story/news report and compare it with the video
  • Learners act out/record own version of video (See Video lesson 1)
  • Learners write similar dialogues to one they heard on the video

Project work

Craft work


  • Learners discuss aspect of video
  • Learners describe people in video.
  • Learners decide how old people in video are.
  • Learners vote on ugliest/best looking person

Further Reading
Cooper R & M Lavery & M Rinvolucri Video Oxford: OUP (1991)

Allan M (1985) Teaching English with Video London: Longman
Longeran J (1984) Video in Language Teaching Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Stempleski S & P Arcario (undated) Video in Second Language Teaching and Learning TESOL Inc
Tomalin B (undated) 'Teaching young children with video' in Stempleski S & Arcario P (eds)

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