Everyone knows TEDTalks, especially teachers.
In regards to ELA, they're a great tool for exploring rhetoric--Does the speaker appeal to logos? pathos? ethos?--What are their strongest pieces of evidence, and where is such evidence placed in the speech? Beginning or end? This leads the classroom through a close-reading exercise, transferring skills learned in ELA to media, speechmaking, and argumentative language as a whole.
When it comes to ESL, though, you usually find a few websites that have ready-made, video worksheets catered to a student's fluency level. You can even find step-by-step lesson plans if you search hard enough. On TEDed, they have clickable quizzes paired to short videos (usually 10 minutes). Such resources are useful to have on hand, but sometimes their predictability can run a class stale.
Besides, a worksheet isn't always the most student-centered option. It's the equivalent of watching the video once, then again, then pausing at points to ask teacher-led questions. It turns what should be an engaging and real discussion into a hunt for the "right answer." With ESL, the "right answer" is important, of course. Our goal is always comprehension--but to extend that comprehension? It challenges students to understand and produce language.
Thanksgiving break is here, and Monday morning is an iPad class where I'm hoping to use videos on travel. Since all my students are currently travelers visiting the United States, let's cross our fingers that the theme will help them stay active. As you can probably tell, I'm thinking about drifting from the normal routine. Ditch the worksheet and the mind-numbing step-by-step questions that would play exactly into the boredom you'd expect from a morning-after-vacation class.
While searching for something to use, I stumbled upon this blog post entitled "10 Speaking English Activities using TED." I was immediately a fan of the Vocabulary Collection idea (as that has been an activity I use in reading comprehension task), the Post Speech Interview, and the Wh- Group Questions task.
In addition to the ideas listed above, I was also thinking about putting students into groups of 3. In these groups, they'll be assigned a different TEDtalk and must watch, take notes, and create a summary presentation of their video. This summary is then shared with the other groups. Actually, the more I think about this, the better I can see it working if I combine the task with the Wh- Questions activity.
And when you think about these types of lessons, they actually require less prep work but open up to more differentiation: Find videos at different levels. Students make their own interview questions using grammar points A, B, or C. This group creates a poster summary, this group a written summary, this group records their summary on the iPad.
I've got a few extra days to think about this lesson, so if anyone wants to share their TEDtalk-Go-Tos, let me know!
Pedagogy and Reflection
We do not learn from experience. We learn from reflecting on experience