Video + storytelling = Videotelling. In this technique, the teacher is the deliverer of the material. The delivery process is a whole class communicative event. The secret to videotelling is to decide what you are going to say and how you are going to say it. This will force you to consider ways to encourage learners to interact (e.g. what questions are you going to ask?)
- Language level: Pre-intermediate; Intermediate (A2; B1)
- Learner type: Young learners; Teens; Adults
- Time: 25 minutes
- Activity: Videotelling
- Topic: Weddings
- Language: Present simple; Wedding vocabulary
- Materials: Video
Video + storytelling = videotelling
In this activity, the teacher is the deliverer of the material and the delivery process is a whole class communicative event (see video above).
The format that is used in this lesson plan can be used for virtually any short clip with a strong visual narrative. The secret to preparation is:
- Get to know the clip as well as you can and look for ways to exploit the visual narrative. Look for ‘hidden’ language possibilities and issues to discuss.
- Decide what you are going to say and how you are going to say it. In other words, create a script.
- Consider ways in which you can encourage learners to interact. Write out a list of predictive questions.
- Look for opportunities to relate content and questions to your learners’ own lives.
- Identify learning potential (e.g. lexical sets or grammatical structures for drilling or dictation, etc.)
- Practise the script before class.
Lesson plan outline
- Tell your students that you recently saw a YouTube video that made you laugh. Tell them that you are going to describe the clip and they have to consider whether or not they have seen it before.
- Talk students through the narrative of the video. Put questions back to students and encourage them to interact whenever possible. Familiarise yourself with the script below for this purpose.
I want to tell you about this funny video I saw on YouTube the other day. Perhaps you’ve seen it. I’ll describe it to you and you can tell me it you’ve seen it before. It starts with a small group of people – three men and two women. They are standing beside a swimming pool. It is a sunny day.
Q: What do you think they are wearing?
[Students will probably guess bikini, swimsuit, swimming trunks, sunglasses, etc]
Well you would expect that but they’re not. Let me tell you what they are wearing: two of the men are wearing suits. One of the women is wearing a long yellow dress and she is holding a bunch of flowers. The other woman is wearing a long white dress.
Q: Can you guess what is happening?
A: It’s a wedding.
Q: Can you identify and name the five people present?
A: Bride and groom, the best man, the bride’s maid and the priest.]
Now this is the point in the ceremony when they take their vows.
Q: What do you say when you take your vows?
A: I do or I will.
So in the video, the bride (Chloe) and the groom (Keith) say “I do”.
Q: Now, what do we need at this point?
A: The rings
Q: Who carries the rings and who wears the rings?
A: The best man carries the rings and the bride and groom wear the rings.
OK, so at this point we need the best man. He steps forward and then disaster strikes. Who thinks they have seen this video? Put up your hand but don’t say anything yet.
Q: So what happens next?
Note that this is an example of the language that could come from the teacher during this activity. Of course, the actual communicative event may involve repetition, questions from students, digression, clarification, etc.
- Ask individual students what they think happens next. For each guess, tell students if they are hot or cold (hot = close to the answer; cold = not close). You can also use terms such as boiling, warm, freezing, getting warmer, etc.
If any students in the class have seen the clip before, you could make use of them during this part of the activity. Ask them to give the hot/cold answers to others’ suggestions. Note however, that even if a student has already seen the clip, this does not mean that he/she will remember the exact details of the outcome.
- Once students have explored all possible outcomes, dictate the following:
The best man steps forward with the rings. He trips up and pushes the bride and priest into the pool.
- Write the following on the board:
Tell students that this is the title of the clip on YouTube. Ask them to guess the two missing words. (Answer = clumsy best man ruins our wedding)
- Direct students to the video.
Note that this type of activity lends itself well to out-of-class viewing.
- Invite students with SMART phones to find the clip for themselves and show it to others.
- Ask students to watch the clip after class (They will be able to find it on YouTube now that they have the title.)
- If you have a class blog or wiki: tell students that you will link to the video from the blog or wiki later that day.
- After class, email students a link to the video.
During the videotelling activity, ask students personalised questions about the topic whenever possible (see examples below). This may cause digression but that might be a good thing.
- What is the difference between a wedding and a marriage?
- Who is married?
- Who in the class has been married the longest?
- Who is the most recently married person in the class?
- Who has been to a wedding recently? Whose wedding was it?
- Have you ever been a bride’s maid or best man? Give information.
- What do you like/dislike about weddings?
- What are the differences between Spanish weddings and British weddings? *
* Adapt as necessary
Follow up 1
Ask students to decide whether the clip is (a) real or (b) set up. Put students into groups so that those who believe (a) are grouped with those who believe (b). Give the following task:
- Say why you believe that the clip is real or set up.
- Listen carefully to all of the ideas from everyone in your group.
- Come to a consensus group decision about the clip: Is it real or was it set up?
Follow up 2
Dictate or draw students’ attention to the language of the wedding vows. Ask them to compare what the clergyman in the video clip says with the language of vows from their own culture(s).
“Chloe, will you take Keith to be your wedded husband, to live together in the covenants of marriage, to love him, comfort him, honour him and keep him in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, be faithful to him as long as you both shall live?’ Chloe answers, ‘I will.”
This can also be a good opportunity to introduce students to the idea of archaic language. Since the language of ceremonial passages like this are generally preserved over time, some of the words will go out of mainstream use. For example:
- Covenants of marriage