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About

This site is a collection of video clips with transcripts for English learning.  I make notes on vocabulary and grammar or discussion questions for each video, depending on what the transcript has to offer in terms of linguistic content.  I’ve used these videos in regular classrooms and online sessions. This site / the exercises / this methodology is a work in progress.

CONTENT OWNERS

If you own the rights to any video here and would like me to take it down, please let me know.  I have contacted producers over the years but most of them don’t reply, presumably because this site is pretty small potatoes.  For ESL learners, educational video content is excellent for getting exposure to the living language (rather than textbooks) but they need some support (notes on usage, examples, exercises) to really understand the vocabulary and ideas and get full value from the video.  I include the producer’s full name and a link to the original content for each post and I do try to keep up-to-date on changing rules re: Creative Commons licenses, etc.

In the field of English Language Teaching, a lot of teachers have started making their own podcasts / videos so they own the copyright.  I tutor full-time and so I’m more interested in bringing good instructional design to excellent existing content.  Rather than make my own mediocre youtube channel, it makes more sense to work with the up-to-date content that ESL learners are already engaging with. I could keep my materials to myself and quietly use them in my classes. However, incorporating authentic content for language learning is becoming very popular and so I’m sharing my activities with other teachers and students, especially the self-directed learners who work on their own without the help of a teacher.

So, again, if you would rather I not use your video, please contact me and I’ll take it down.  I do promote this blog on my teaching profile and a few other places.  I often do the transcripts myself (manually) in order to feature important ideas, interesting youtube/vimeo channels, seminal lecturers and organizations (social enterprises, local businesses, online magazines) to ESL learners in China, the Middle East, Russia and Eastern Europe, who otherwise might not discover that part of the English internet.

ESL STUDENTS

I post videos here so you can self-access the transcripts and browse other videos that might suit you.  In regular classrooms, there is one teacher and 12 or 15 students (one lesson plan for the whole group) whereas in 1:1 online sessions there is one teacher and one student (with up to 30 different lesson plans /week, often scheduled on short notice, and randomly).  For this reason, having a public space where students can self-access videos seems like a good idea.  I don’t think online classrooms / Learning Management Systems work with 1:1 self-directed adult learners because they’re not into group interaction and won’t sign up for that.  So, I use a public blog to share recommended videos and materials.  Some sets of notes are geared for lower intermediate learners and other sets of notes / exercises are for more advanced learners but, in general, any video (or just an excerpt from a video) can be a source of natural vocabulary and speaking practice if the topic is right.

Helping learners get past the intermediate plateau is an important function of a language teacher and it’s been my focus for the past three years. I think working with meaning over form i.e. grappling with the living language in a scaffolded (step by step) way — with a live interlocutor, focused on ‘chunks’ of spoken discourse, grammar in use (not ‘example sentences’), interactive listening and speaking, skillfully navigating communication break-downs, connecting words on the page to the stream of sound — that is all part of the slog up the mountain from intermediate speaker to competent speaker.  It is a slog but enjoyable videos and compelling Big Ideas make it more fun.