Video Homework

I was recently lucky enough to present a short session at the International House Online Conference. I decided to focus my 10 minutes on using video outside the classroom. This included a basic version of flipped learning and then moved on to non-ELT-specific video, with a few ideas for how to use them.

I started off with some info about two of my current classes. As you can see they are very similar and are studying the same material:

  • 5-7 years old
  • 6 students
  • Incredible English 1

The only difference in fact is that one class studies 140 mins (two classes a week) and the other studies 120 mins (one class a week). Unsurprisingly the class studying less per week have made significantly less progress. Recycling of vocabulary takes a long time, and language production is fairly limited.

So I decided to make a video to support them outside of class. Here are some stills…

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I did games and routines that the students are familiar with, such as a flashcard reveal, Kim’s game, listen and repeat, sentence construction. I also used the flashcards they made in class so that it was all the more familiar to them.

My video was not great, Rough around the edges and pretty off the cuff, but a lot of classes are like this, so don’t worry about it being perfect. The main point is that the students as well as the parents can engage with the language outside of the classroom in a more meaningful way than simply controlled workbook practice.

I haven’t managed to get feedback yet on how much progress students have made, but they certainly seemed to enjoy watching the videos at home. I’ll keep you posted.


The second part of my talk focused on other short video sources online. Here’s a list of some of my favourite ELT-specific sites to use…



Thousands of free videos at all different levels. Quizzes and transcripts attached to each.




A TEFL favourite, especially since the website had an overhaul. It’s slicker and easier to use now.






So many great resources on here for all ages and levels. Particularly check out Word on the street, the Great Britain series, and Short Stories in the kids section.





I generally don’t use the lesson plans from this site, but it’s a great source of videos. Also, Kieran Donaghy’s book Film In Action should be on the shelves of every language school.




That’s just a few which are teacher-friendly and easy to use. But why not branch out and tailor videos to your students’ interests. Here are just a few ideas I gave at the conference for tasks to attach to videos you find.

Video class - homework videos

And to go with these activities, here are some sites where you can find non-ELT-specific videos. I chose to focus on short films as they’re much more practical and linguistically just as useful as a two-hour epic.

The authenticity of using a non-ELT video or clip can be very motivating for students and can spark a lot of discussion. Allowing students to do this in their own time outside of class ensures that they are watching at a time that they have chosen to watch. Consequently motivation levels should be high and affective filters should be lowered.

Let me know in the comments section what other sources you have and what videos you set for homework. Thanks for everyone for their support before, during and after the conference. More video ideas and more on flipped learning to come in future posts. Happy watching!


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