Video Commentary

Method:

1. The whole class watches a short (e.g. 2 minutes) video clip without sound. The video could be linked to the topic that is being studied. While it is playing, SS work in pairs or small groups and write down what is happening. The clip could be played a second or third time, if required.

2. Group feedback: each pair or group has to come up to the front and describe the events in the clip as it is playing. If there are many pairs or groups, T could choose a few to give examples. T makes notes of any errors, then elicits corrections from the whole class.

3. Next, SS have to write alternative dialogue for the scene, acting it out where possible. After a short time of preparation (i.e. rehearsal), e.g. 10 minutes, with T monitoring, checking, and correcting, SS act out their work in front of the video clip. Again, T makes notes of errors, then elicits corrections from the whole class. Prizes could be given for the best / funniest / most imaginative work.

Tips:

  • SS should be encouraged to use dictionaries when they are writing.
  • SS could produce serious or humorous work – according to their wishes or T’s instructions.
  • Variation #1: SS have to describe what is happening in the video clip with only negative sentences, e.g. if a man who is wearing glasses is reading the news, SS could say: “A man is not wearing glasses; he is not reading the news…” and so on. There could be a prize for the group or individual who is able to keep this surreal commentary going the longest!
  • Variation #2: If T shows a clip from a film or TV programme, SS have to imagine they are from the cast or production team, e.g. the director or producer, and talk about the making of the film or programme – as in a real DVD commentary.
  • Variation #3: T plays the video clip without sound and various SS come up to the front and improvise the dialogue.

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