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How Tutors Can Use Videos for 1:1 Sessions

Here are some ideas to extend interaction / integrate skills work with video clips

1) Make a cloze exercise. Take out all the prepositions or all the phrasal verbs or all the function words like articles or pronouns.  Taking out demonstrative pronouns (this, that) or auxiliary verbs (has, have, been, was, is, etc) is good if you’re working on raising awareness of features of connected speech e.g. linking, sentence stress, elongated vowels for word stress.  Customize the cloze to practice whatever structural elements your learner needs to focus on.  Doing different clozes for the same transcript (or just one paragraph of the transcript) works well.  Clozes can make good ‘homework’ after videos because they consolidate vocabulary and they’re easy for learners to do on their own.  You can also send a cloze a few weeks after doing a video as a test / review.  For B2+ learners, you can remove ‘chunks’ or collocations / collogations in order to set up a discussion of the form, meaning and use of fixed / semi-fixed expressions or phrasal verbs with the objects they collocate with, etc.

2) Make your own 1 min summary. I use vocaroo or audacity. Ask learners to 1) dictagloss it or 2) listen and answer some Y/N questions to check comprehension or 3) give them one word and let them listen and stop the recording when they find that word or, if they’re working at home, they can write the time when they found the word.  Advanced learners could listen to multiple introductions and make comparisons.

3) Embed comprehension questions, discussion questions, grammar explanations and example sentences in the body of the transcript.  I put all the misc comments about language (the useful but boring stuff + example sentences) so learners can see it on their own time but I don’t spend session time ‘telling’ it to them.  The notes are a way for me to get extra information about language to the learners without taking up precious face-to-face contact time, which, in my context, I try to reserve for student talk time.

4) Take printscreens of scenes in the video for in-session discussion, question and answer.  Having the support of printscreens in sessions is good for A2 or B1 learners who are still getting used to learning English ‘in English’.

5) Extract all the phrasal verbs and teach the collocations / collogations. Drill it orally with past, present, future tenses, substituting subjects and objects (increasing difficulty by replacing nouns with noun phrases, replacing single verbs with phrasal verbs, switching from statements to yes/no questions to WH-questions and then back to statements). This develops automaticity.  It also raises awareness of how syntax shifts (single verbs > phrasal verbs) orally.  You can also isolate / help learners perceive or ‘notice’ reductions, linked sounds through carefully-chosen oral drills.  Drilling is a way for the body to actively use what the brain passively understands about sentence structure.  You can always build an exhausting but satisfying oral drill from almost any complex sentence, even for C1 speakers.

6) For advanced learners or people working on test preparation or academic writing, match an article with a video clip on a very similar event or place or idea and do compare and contrast speaking and writing.  This is part of the TOEFL exam’s Integrated Task and you can replicate the ‘Listen + Read + Write’ requirement by using a video clip and an excerpt from an article.

7) Sometimes people ask “Why do you make transcripts when the closed captions are included?” and the answer is on this page.