Spice Up Your English Class

Ah spices… Countries went to war for them. Some historians argue that Europe embarked on the Age of Discovery because it wanted to find new trade routes in order to import the Orient’s spices. I guess that teachers need to spice up their classes, no matter what subject they teach. As long as I am concerned, an easy way to do this is to use You Tube.

There is a number of ways a teacher can use You Tube in order to make his or her class more interesting for students. As a matter of fact, You Tube created You Tube Teachers which is aimed specifically at teachers. This site already offers over 700 000 educational videos. These videos cover subjects ranging from science to mathematics and including geography and literature.

On top of You Tube Teachers, there is also You Tube for Schools. I find this section of the site to be less interesting since it automatically translates into the language of your area (which is normally a good thing, but when you wish to teach a foreign language, it can be problematic) and because you must sign up to it in order to have access to the videos that it has to offer.

As an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher, I have a clear advantage: I can choose whichever topic I find amusing, build a chart that my students will have to fill in, and voilà! I came up with an activity that helped my students develop their reading, writing and listening abilities. The other great thing about this is that it changed the pace of the class which can be seen by the students as a welcome recess. Since most classrooms are now equiped with a computer, a screen and a projector, it is now very easy to show a You Tube video during class.

Though most You Tube videos can be seen as just fun and games (I mean, where else can you see a clip of John Lee Hooker playing with Eric Clapton and the Rolling Stones), there is now more and more serious content that is posted on the site.

Because of all of its advantages, You Tube is, at least to me, the best way to spice up an ESL class. No need to go to war about it.


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