Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Post #2

I’ve often thought that some teachers overuse videos in the classroom. The use of video can contribute to language learning in a big way, if used effectively, with specific language goals in mind, but just showing a video, such as a Japanese movie with English subtitles, will rarely improve language ability, unless there are certain things that the teacher has the students look for in the film. In terms of culture, however, showing a film can be great exposure for the students to the symbols, practices, habits, clothing and more of the culture of the people they are studying. For example, watching a geisha talking on a cell phone walk down the street over mud puddles, with flashes of photographs from tourists in the background sets a much more powerful image than a single drawing of a geisha. Also, the cast of a Japanese film, for the most part, will be all Japanese, whereas a Canadian film will most likely be film with people of different ethnicities. The reality of ethnic homogeneity is difficult to capture in a photograph or still-life.

 In the classroom, it can be said that teachers overestimate the effectiveness of videos to teach language components. As suggested in the article, “although these films may seem to hold student interest, [Canning] believes that it could be inferred that student comprehension of the video may be due to the visual clues instead of the auditory components.” Therefore, it may seem to the teacher that the students are understanding portions of a film when the meaning of the film has only been inferred from the context of the visual cues. In my classroom, and in a fair number of classrooms I’m sure, videos are often used as hooks, as video is great for capturing the attention of your audience. The only other time I use video is at the end of the term, after the students have worked hard and are now winding down with a party and a movie.

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