As teachers, how many of us have struggled with trying to engage and motivate teenagers to learn a language? It is one of the most common challenges that teachers in secondary education face.
Generation Z (or iGen, as they’re sometimes called) is a particularly hard nut to crack. What can we do to capture the interest and attention of teenagers who have never known a world without smartphones and the internet? How can we provide them with an authentic learning experience that surpasses the constraints of a classroom and prepares them for ‘real world’ situations?
A type of activity that today’s teenagers seem to respond well to is video content. They spend hours of their day on Instagram and Youtube watching short video clips. So why not bring their world into the classroom and give them a learning experience that is closer to their reality?
Pearson and the BBC have partnered to create an activity that uses video to engage students and give them a one-of-a-kind learning experience. That is, better aligned with what engages this age group, and closer to a ‘real-world’ language experience.
Live Classes is a unique global project that aims to unite learners from different parts of the world in a single, virtual classroom. Each Live Class is an opportunity for teachers to engage and motivate their students through a video conferencing activity. They’ll also have the opportunity to join an international class and interact with teenagers across the world.
The classes are taught by outstanding English teachers who deliver dynamic and highly effective lessons in a multicultural environment that reflects how language works in the ‘real world’.
Meet the Live Classes teachers at IATEFL
At IATEFL 2019, two Live Classes teachers, Michael Brand and John Wolf, will share the concept behind the project and let you in on why simulating a multicultural environment with the help of video conferencing is such an effective way of getting through to teenage learners.
Here’s what their presentation, taking place on 2nd April at 10:40 am in Room 1b, will cover.
Authentic language in the wider world: simulating a multicultural language learning environment
Imagine a classroom where English is truly the lingua franca. Learners communicate in an environment that reflects how they would use English in the ‘real world’. In fact, the classroom is the ‘real world’, where every lesson is an experiential language learning trip around the globe.
Many of us have struggled with the idea of an authentic learning environment and have faced the challenge or trying to get a monocultural classroom to reflect ‘real world’ language.
In situations outside the classroom where English is being spoken, it’s extremely likely that the participants of a conversation represent more than just one culture or nation. How do we attain this same multicultural environment in a classroom?
Luckily, there’s a way to take a trip around the world without having to pack our bags: all we need is an internet connection.
The power of video
A multicultural language learning environment can be simulated inside our own classrooms by bringing students from around the world together in a virtual space. In other words, a video conference. With the help of video, a format that engages teenagers more than any other in this day and age, younger learners can experience how English is used in a wider context.
The benefits of taking part in such an experience are far-reaching. Motivation can become less of an issue, time can be designated to valuable language practice, and students can get a taste of what it’s like to communicate across cultures. This global virtual classroom can also be the perfect place for communicative language instruction, which has been proven to improve language acquisition.
Entering the wider world of language use has the potential to improve young learners’ communication skills. It will also prepare them for a future where they have the confidence and skills to communicate effectively. If all this is done via video, it can become a highly engaging activity that students enjoy and benefit from.
Have you bought your ticket to IATEFL yet? We’d love to see you in Liverpool from 2nd-5th April!