How to use YouTube in classrooms
If you mention YouTube in class, suddenly students get all excited. They know they’re going to watch a video, and they can sit down and relax while watching it. They also know they’re going to have fun watching it. However, how can a platform used mostly for watching videos be used to make students learn?
First of all, a lot of videos on YouTube are extremely instructional. I’m thinking of Vsauce or Discovery Channel for example. As mentioned in Kenneth Beare’s article, it might be interesting to ask your students their interests, such as science, music, or other stuff. Afterwards, all you need to do is find a video according to their interests, show it to them, and let them enjoy. Of course, you can do many sub-activities related to the video watched, such as a pop-quiz, a list of difficult vocabulary words, or ask them to write down words they’re unsure the meaning of.
Let’s take an example. Let’s say students are interested in planets, you could hint them that the earth doesn’t look like we think it does on a map, and then show them the Vsauce video on Earth. After watching the video, you can ask them what surprised them most in the video, or what new stuff they learnt while watching it. After, you could hand them a pop-quiz they need to answer related to the video they just watched.
Let’s take another example. Assuming your class is intermediate or advanced level in English, you could show them a video of Miranda Sings about something that interests them, let’s say fashion. Now for everyone who have heard of Miranda Sings, it’s obvious she is not serious in her video and that the whole Miranda Sings character is fictional. Also, you would know that she has a peculiar way of talking, saying words like Titter instead of Twitter, bootiful instead of beautiful, etc. A fun activity to do with your class could be to ask them to write down words that were mispronounced and write the correct way it should have been said. That way, they can both enjoy the activity and learn simultaneously. You could also show them a video such as PsychoSoprano’s LEARN TO SPEAK ENGLISH!, where she gives an example of what native English speakers usual mistakes are, and ask the students to identify as many mistakes as they can possibly notice.
Another way to use YouTube is to show artists. Sometimes, the textbook you use will mention important or influent artists that younger generations won’t necessarily know, such as Elvis Presley. If you show them a video, they are most likely to remember who it is and what he did. The same can be done with grammar notions viewed in class. You could explain to the students something, let’s say how to write dates. After your lesson, you could give your students the link to a YouTube video that would help them review what they just learnt, in case they’re still unsure if they understand. Many different channels can be used depending on what is needed, you can see a list there if you want.
Another important aspect of using YouTube as a language tool is accents. As mentioned in Tarun Patel’s blog, ”YouTube videos can be used in an ELT classroom for various teaching vocabulary, accents, pronunciations, voice modulation and what not.” At an advanced level, students might want to learn how to recognize different accents in English, such as the Australian accent or the British accent. As everyone knows, accents are not so easy to imitate, therefore YouTube can show them an authentic accent directly.
Overall, I think YouTube is a good way to teach more stuff to your students, or show them things you could never have without it. It is a powerful instructional tool that is there to be used, why not use it?