IATEFL Interview with Jamie Keddie

Anyone who has ever used a YouTube video in an EFL has probably got Jamie Keddie to thank. He has championed videos in EFL classes through his websites and has converted countless teachers to the pedagogical value of video clips. In this interview he raised some engaging points about using videos.

Jamie is worlds away from the old ‘video and gist task’ approach. He’s developed his own approach to incorporating videos into a class as the main teaching tool. Jamie’s ‘Videotelling’ is about deconstructing a video before you show it so students are led step by ELT step through the topic and even the theme and stages of the clip. But like all great film makers he seems to like a surprise ending and so often omits a vital part of the clip which serves as an added bonus for viewers.

He also discussed some commonly raised questions about using videos in EFL, such as what videos we should use. I am a keen video user in my classes and also give them for homework or for preparation for the next lesson. What I like about this medium is the avenues it opens up and the amount of topical and interesting issues it can bring into your class. However, choosing the right topic is a sticky area as if we are to go into ‘controversial territory’ then how do we choose what is suitable for our students? Of course, one answer is to ask them to select but what if they go for something completely unsuitable?

Jamie later moved to TTT and contrasted it with TTQ (teacher talk quality) where the teacher leads students and becomes more of a teacher than just a language one. This is great to hear as we have all been told how sinful high levels of TTT are. This may be because we associate it with dominance and telling students what to do rather than actually talking to them and supporting them.

Jamie outlines that using videos should make our class:


How you do this is up to you but I believe that the topic is certainly the first step. It is nice to hear someone advocating using videos as a teacher tool and not just a listening comprehension. But the decision as to how safe or controversial is your choice and this does, as Jamie says, move our class and role from an EFL language focus to more of a CLIL, CBI or even a general/global issues one. Perhaps this means we should always be teaching with grittier real world topics and not safe generic ones in books or in tests. Our students live in a far more dangerous world than the one we may discuss in class so should we bridge the gap?




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