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Teaching English through Authentic Video

Nowadays, teaching and learning language is not only transferring knowledge from
the teacher to students in one way direction, but also involving students to be a part of the
teaching learning process itself. One way direction or conventional teaching learning is not
interesting for students, it makes them bored, and the result of this situation is the failure of
teaching learning process. Media is the answer for this problem. According to, media (pl. of medium) is the means of communication, as radio and
television, newspapers, and magazines that reach or influenced people widely. So, it is an
alternative way to cut out perception that teaching learning language has only one way
direction, which is from teacher to students.

There are many kinds of media to be used in teaching language. Brinton (2001)
classified media into two terms: nontechnical and technical media. Nontechnical media is the
media which need no electricity and easy to be used. The advantages of this kind of media are
low budget, easy to be used, easy to find, and user-friendliness. Items that include to this kind
of media are blackboard, flashcards, maps, posters, board games, pamphlets, newspapers,
puppets, etc. Another kind of media is technical media that is the media which needs
electricity supply and need special ability to use it. The advantages of this media are more
interesting, obtain students to “the outside” of the classroom, more entertaining, and
subconsciously involve students to the “stealth learning” process. Items that belong to this
media are audiotape player, CD player, radio, television, video player, telephone, filmstrip,
slide projector, computer, etc. Recently, teacher prefers to use technical media because it is
close to daily life of the students which full of technology. They may expect the same thing at
school in teaching learning process. And this paper explores the using of authentic video in
teaching language.

Sherman (2003, 7) stated that there are three approaches to use authentic video:
generic, generative, and gentle.

“ a.) the activities are generic in that they emerge naturally from the particular kind of video
programme, sequence or shot, and exploits its particular qualities, b.) They are generative in that they
can be used again and again with other similar programmes, sequence or shots, c.) They are gentle on
the student because what they ask for tends to come naturally.”
What is authentic video?

Based on Oxford advanced learner’s dictionary,

Authentic (adj) is: 1. known to be real and genuine and not a copy

2. true and accurate

3. made to be exactly as the same

Video (noun) is: a recording of moving pictures and sound that has been made on a long
narrow strip of magnetic material inside a rectangular plastic container, and which can be
played on a special machine so that it can be watched on television.

So, the authentic video is a recording moving pictures and sound that has been made for real
and not copying from others.

What can be categorized as authentic video?

According to Sherman (2003), there is a wide variety of types of video recording and many
ways to use them. For example:

Drama video (films, soaps, sitcoms, etc)


TV news and weather



TV commercials

Sports programmes

Talk shows

Game shows

Educational films

And we can use them:

As complete recordings or short extracts

For their own sake – just exposing students to the recordings and letting them enjoy them

For the sake of the encounter with the culture

For listening comprehension

To provide models of the spoken language

As input/stimulus for some other activity

As a moving picture book

Why should we use authentic video?

For some people, video is only listening something with some moving pictures, but actually
there are many extra content in authentic video which implicitly added. Based on Harmer
(2002), there are four reasons why we should use video:

Seeing language-in-use

One of the advantages of using video is we are not only listen the sound or
conversation, but also see the picture, the condition, the place, and setting. Students
can learn more than just listening. They can see the appearance and they will get other
background knowledge about language.

Cross-cultural awareness

Video has a special role than other English teaching media. If the students need to
hear the accent or see natives’ body language, they do not need to go abroad, just see
a video then they learn something new, which is cross-cultural awareness.

The power of creation

When students wonder, what kind of media that they can use to enrich their English
skills, related to their hobbies, and construct the creativity of youth people, video is
the answer. A kind of task of making a video can boost students’ desire to give the
best in doing their task. A secret for learning English creatively.


Most students show that their spirit to learn language increase when they are directly
seeing and hearing the language that they learn.

How to use authentic video in the classroom?

Effective of an authentic film, especially in beginning level, requires careful planning and
appropriate teacher guide of pre-viewing, viewing, and post-viewing activities (Burt 1999,
Stempleski 1993, Stoller 1993). Previewing activities are used to engage the students with the
topic given in their background knowledge. The new vocabularies are introduced, students
can understand the question given before they watch the film and they can predict the answer.
While viewing activities, the students focus on the film. They are watching the film carefully,
so there is no important information that they miss. The teacher can repeat the scene twice
until the students catch the point. Post-viewing activities contain answering the questions in a
paper, predicting what will happen in the film next, and practice the language by playing
role-play or make the summaries.

Sample Activities

An activity here is illustrated to demonstrate the way how students learn listening and
speaking through class activities by watching video. In this paper, the activities use video
What about Bob? But similar tasks can be done with other videos. The objectives for these
activities are a combination of observing the characters, listening for general ideas, and
making a prediction.

The activities come from a scene in which Bob is invited by Leo to have a dinner at Leo’s
house. This is unpleasant situation for Leo because he wants to drive Bob away. In this scene,
students will listen at the conversation between Bob and Leo and how their words connected
each other. After that, students will learn the new vocabularies and they have to practice them
in appropriate intonation.

Pre-viewing activities: students are informed that in this scene, Bob is eating dinner at Leo’s
house. As the link of the previous scene, students can discuss why Bob is invited by Leo to
have dinner. Students are also encouraged to observe carefully what happen at dinner table.
Students also have to guess how everyone feels in the scene and why they feel like the way
they feel.

Viewing activities: students are asked to remind the run of the conversation in the scene as
much as possible so that they can remake the conversation later on. After viewing, students
are divided into groups of three, the teacher give them an envelope for each that contains
strips of paper printed with lines of the dialogue from the scene, then the students have to
rearrange the strips so that they have a new-form of the dinner conversation. At this stage,
students might need some help. Teacher can help them by play the video more than once, or
stop the video so that they can focus to the dialogue and to do more work with the strips. The
other way is, the students could read the strips before they watch video. When rearranging is
completed, the students discuss with others about the language and the content. The use of
appropriate intonation can be another focus of discussion, since various tones and intonation
express the different emotions of the characters in the scene.

Post-viewing activities: After the students get the comprehension, they can do the role play of
the scene to practice their language. Each student must have the strips of paper, and they have
to try to read the dialogue with appropriate eye contact with the other students in their group
as they read the lines. By listening carefully of others, students will know when they have to
speak their lines. The students are expected to express the characters’ emotion using suitable
intonation. To conclude this set of activities, students are asked to predict what will be
happen after a scene in which Leo, the doctor, is chocking and coughing severely.

What are the techniques to use authentic video?

Based on Harmer (2002) there are some techniques to use authentic video in teaching
learning language.

Viewing techniques

This technique uses to construct students’ curiosity of watching a video trough guess
Fast forward: the teacher plays the video, and then fast forwards it, so that
students only see the sequence of the video. When the video ends, the teacher
asks students to guess what the video is about and to guess what the characters

Silent viewing (for language): the teacher plays the video at a normal speed but
without sound. Students have to predict what the characters are saying. When
the video is over, the teacher plays the video once again with sound and
normal speed. Students can check their answer whether it is right or wrong.

Silent viewing (for music): the previous technique can be applied with music.
Teacher plays a series of the video without sound and then asks students what
kind of music that appropriate with that series and ask the reason why it
should be put at the series. After that, the teacher shows the series again with
sound and students can check whether they choose the same music or mood
with the director or not.

Freeze frame: the teacher can stop or “freeze” a series or a scene of the video and
the students have to guess what the character will say or what will happen

Partial viewing: one way to build students’ curiosity is by masking or covering a

partial of the screen which playing the video. Teacher can use a card to cover
the screen or put small papers in front of the screen then remove it one-by-one
so that what happen in the video will exposed slowly.

Another variation that the teacher can use is that divide students into two
groups, placed at right angles to the screen so that a group of students only see
a half of the screen, another group see the half one at another side. And then
students have to predict what might be the students at another side saw.

Listening (and mixed) technique

Listening routines, based on the same principles as those for viewing, are similarly

designed to provoke engagement and expectations.

Pictureless listening (language): the teachers cover the screen or set the brightness
down. Then they have to listen to the dialogue and have to guess few things,
like where the dialogue is taking place, who the speakers are, what do they
look like. Or, can they guess the speakers’ age?

Pictureless listening (music): the students only listen to the music or the
soundtrack of the scene, and then they have to guess it is based on what mood,
what kind of scene, or where the scene is taking place.

Pictureless listening (sound effects): in a scene without dialogue, students can

listen to the sound and guess the scene. For instance, they might hear the
lighting of a gas stove, and the milk being poured. And then they can tell ‘the
story’ that they think they have just heard.

Picture or speech: teacher can divide the class into two so that the half of the class
can see the screen, while the half one cannot see the screen. The students who
see the screen have to describe what is happening to the students who cannot
see the screen. These activity forces students to speak up fluently while the
students who cannot see the screen are trying hard to understand what is going
on. This is an effective way to mix the perceptive and productive skills.

Advantages of using authentic video

The ways of choosing the right video can motivate and interest the students.

Students can learn about the culture beyond the class.

The vocabulary will increase time by time.

Students can enjoy the learning process.

Teaching learning process is not only ‘old-fashioned’ anymore, which students listen to
teachers’ explanation.
Disadvantages of using authentic video

Teacher have to spend more time and energy in preparing the video

There is a lot of wasting time for preparing the video

The video do not provide much interaction in teaching learning process in the class.

It is a little difficult to search an appropriate authentic video for teaching each level.


Based on the discussion before, the writer conclude that the main function of
authentic video in teaching English is that the students can get more passion in learning
English because they feel like not learning in the class. They can get information beyond
what they get in classroom, cultural awareness, and excellent pronunciation from native
speaker, and so on.

The application of authentic video in the future will be something interesting. In the
future, not only ‘high level’ or precious schools which apply video as media in teaching
language, but also all schools in all level. The use of teaching English with media is a
responsibility for the teacher. It is teacher’s job to fulfill students need by teach them best
things for their best future.


“Authentic” Def. 1 Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary. Oxford ed. 2005.

“Video” Def. 1 Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary. Oxford ed. 2005.

Harmer,Jeremy.2002. The Practice of English Language Teaching Third Edition Completely

Revised and Updated. Essex: Pearson Education Limited.

(Ishihara, Noriko and Julie C. Chi. "Authentic Video in the Beginning ESOL
Classroom: Using a Full-Length Feature Film for Listening and Speaking
Strategy Practice,".Forum Magazine,Vol.42,No.1;January 2004)

Sheman, Jane. 2003. Using Authentic Video in the Language Classroom. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press
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