Using Cameras in the EFL Classroom | TEFL Jobs London

Using Cameras in the EFL Classroom

by Donna Hutchinson
London based TEFL Teacher, @donnatamara

I am rather lucky to work in a school within a college, providing resources aplenty. This week I took advantage of that and decided to film my students doing a presentation. I’d seen other teachers use cameras in their classes but had always stayed away because I wasn’t sure if my classes would take to the idea. Fortunately, by the time I got round to it, it all worked out rather nicely. Hooray for me!

The premise was for the students to write a news presentation as if they themselves were newsreaders/reporters. They had to choose a news story each, put it into their own words and then write a news cast script. This would be filmed and then analysed. First I split the class of 8 into two groups. I did the standard “a, b, a, b, a, b, a, b… hands up if you’re a; hands up if you’re b!” and via this method I’d inadvertently split the class into a group of boys and a group of girls. I suggested revising the group assignments but actually it added a more competitive element to the task. I then made some Anchorman joke (I can quote that film fluently) to the boys but it went straight over their heads of course.

How the lessons panned out

The whole thing spanned three 90 minute lessons which was a pleasant respite from my usual daily panic planning. The first class was spent choosing the right stories and re-writing them; the second class was scriptwriting and filming, and in the third class we watched the presentations back. During the presentation, if the student was watching themselves they would have to complete a self-evaluation but if they were watching another student they had to summarise their on-screen peer’s story in 3 sentences.

What I loved about it is how the addition of the camera really kicked everyone into gear. I hadn’t told them about it and just strolled into class with a camera and tripod under my arm. Some students were a little nervous while others shone in the limelight. It really pushed the students to be more creative and original. Watching the film back we shared a few laughs and it encouraged the students to think more about their language use when they can see themselves.

If you have access to such equipment, I can highly recommend bringing film into your classroom.

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