Thursday, December 16, 2010

Learning English as a Second Language (ESL): YouTube Videos

If my opinion, the first thing to realize is that videos helping individuals learn English are not just for English Language Learners (ELL). 

When concepts are broken down to their basics, that fundamental knowledge can be of use to any language user, whether that individual is learning English as a second language, or whether that individual is native to the English language.

YouTube now boasts at having 1,530 videos to help in learning the English language.

I've checked them out. (No, not all of the videos!) And, for anyone who has interacted with YouTube, it will not be a surprise that content and technical quality varies. However, with over fifteen hundred videos, even if only ten percent of the videos were usable, that would be a large number (assuming one can find the diamonds among the gravel).


Academic Writing - Parts of a Paragraph: In this video, a lecturer uses a white board to explain the parts and organization of a "North American paragraph." The presentation is boring, yet the information is clearly presented. Don't look for Gandalf and the Balrog discussing how to use transitions, but important ideas are conveyed fairly quickly.

How to Do Something: Here are varied step-by-step videos, such as how to answer a phone or how to make a potato salad. Not only can these be useful for English language learners, but videos such as this can be useful for teachers in demonstrating speaking skills for younger students. (Even negative or non-examples can be productive. "Okay, students, how could this have been done better?")

20 Irregular Verbs: This category is simply a quick review or drill of the major conjugations of verbs: draw, drew, drawn, for example. Music, a young woman providing some visual connection, and a quick once-through are the key elements of this video.

Other categories include travel, slang, stories, grammar, vocabulary, business English, and many more. From a teaching perspective, the key element in all these videos is modeling, seeing how to speak, hearing how to speak, many times within an appropriate context. Beware when reading that a New Zealand or British usage may be different than one used in the USA.

Copyright 2010 by Thomas L. Kepler, all rights reserved


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