Meet your newest co-teacher: Spiderman.
You may have the teacher certification and the classroom experience, but Spiderman’s got something you don’t.
(Other than spidey-sense.)
He can bring the excitement of English video into your classroom.
If you’re looking for a way to spice up your lesson plans and demonstrate real-world English usage for your students, ESL video clips are your new best friend. These short clips—including a subtitled “Spiderman” scene plus lots more—will get your students thinking and talking in English without overwhelming them.
And unlike regular movies or videos in English, these are produced or presented specifically for English learners, so they’re super easy to bring into your classroom.
Below, we’ll check out six exciting ESL video clips, plus lesson ideas you can use right away.
Why ESL Video Clips Are Great for Educators
Not everything can be learned in a textbook, and for that reason ESL teachers are perpetually searching for fresh ways to present material to their students. ESL video clips are in many ways that language learning gem. They offer visually engaging content that often demonstrates how English is used in real-world situations. In other words, they can bring your English lessons to life. For students of all ages and ESL levels, a little video time in class can go a long way.
With the advent of YouTube and the ability to embed informative videos into web pages, ESL teachers have a wide variety of learning material to choose from. We’ll show you several useful ESL video clips below ranging from animated songs to blockbuster movies, but they’re just a jumping off point to the many other English videos you can bring into your classroom from the internet.
Plus, not only are ESL video clips easy to find, they’re easy to implement in the classroom environment. Most teachers trekking the globe teaching English have their laptops and tablets at the ready. You can download videos off the internet and share them with your class with the click of a button.
ESL Skills Your Students Can Learn Using Videos
Don’t think videos can offer serious learning opportunities? Think again. Here are just a few of the many ESL skills your students can pick up, practice and perfect with the clips covered below:
- Honing listening skills by hearing different accents from around the world.
- Communication with peers about what they saw and heard via a video clip.
- Building a wealth of vocabulary across many themes and topics.
- Picking up native-like speech with phrasal verbs, idioms and slang.
- Confidence building is a must to get students talking in English; by demonstrating everything from English conversations to idioms and more, these ESL video clips will get your students comfortable and confident putting their communication skills to use.
6 Enticing ESL Video Clips Your Students Will Love
“How to Use Synonyms”
“How to Use Synonyms” is an ESL video clip from BBC Learning English. It’s six minutes long and packed with excellent material for your students. Let’s face it, learning synonyms using a textbook or plain old vocabulary lists can be slightly boring, but when you combine that lesson with a video, the engagement value goes up.
The video is narrated by two BBC Learning English pros, Catherine and Finn. Their accents offer an excellent opportunity for your class to tune their ears to other native English speakers besides yourself.
Other ESL skills your students will practice with this video include reading, listening, speaking, grammar and communication. The video comes with subtitles built in, and key vocabulary in bold.
You can pair this ESL video clip with a textbook lesson on synonyms, or opt for this quick activity:
- First, you’ll need to watch the clip closely to gather a few of the synonyms discussed.
- Next, craft a worksheet for your students to use after watching the video. It can look something like this worksheet.
- Once you have the video loaded and worksheet printed out, you’re ready for class.
- Discuss what synonyms are as a class to ensure none of your students are confusing them with antonyms.
- Gather your students around the computer to watch the video once or twice.
- After they’ve absorbed the video, pair them up and hand out the worksheet. Your students will discuss which vocabulary words fit together.
- After each student pair has completed the worksheet, discuss the answers together.
- You can then watch the video again if they’re up for it.
“The Check In”
“The Check In” from FluentU is a very practical ESL video clip covering essential conversational skills for anyone visiting an English-speaking area. This one-minute clip covers the basics of checking into a hotel. While the vocabulary and dialogue format will be useful for any ESL student, your adult learners might especially benefit from studying this interaction.
This clip will help your students build confidence when navigating the real world and those English speaking moments common to many non-native travelers. Whether for business or vacation, give your class the tools to succeed outside of the classroom.
Here’s a quick activity you can pair with this video:
- Before class, watch the video and write down the interaction between the hotel receptionist and hotel guest. (You don’t want to rely on the subtitles in class as they’re auto-generated by YouTube and thus not perfect.)
- In class, gather your students to watch the video and read the script once or twice.
- Next, pair your students up, giving each pair the script.
- Have them practice acting out the script a few times separately, then pull the class back together, having each pair give it their all in front of the classroom.
- After each pair reads from the script, allow a little question and answer time to promote more communication.
- Once all pairs have gone, watch the video again to further cement comprehension of the material.
Like this video? There’s tons more where it came from.
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language lessons.
With FluentU, your students can explore everything from English music videos to news clips to inspiring talks, along with interactive captions that help them learn new vocabulary. Any word they click on will pop up with an in-context definition, visual learning aids and example sentences. After watching a video, students can then review the vocabulary with flashcards, games and exercises.
As an educator, you’ll appreciate the ability to design your curriculum, track student progress, assign homework and more, all from the FluentU platform. It’s an efficient and effective way to put ESL video clips to their best use for your students.
This “Spiderman” clip from Multimedia-English is perfect for any classroom. After all, who doesn’t love Spiderman?
Combining movies with learning is a smart tactic for English educators. Most of the Hollywood blockbusters are subtitled or dubbed in more than a handful of languages for global distribution. With this clip, you get the fun of a famous superhero movie, but you also get ESL teaching tools built right in.
The clip is shown in four parts: first there’s the original clip, then the clip with subtitles, then a rundown of key words in the clip and finally the clip is replayed in its original format. In this way, you get step-by-step vocabulary building and the movie clip actually guides your class toward better comprehension.
You can take advantage of this four-part clip with a quick activity:
- First, gather your students for the viewing of the entire video.
- Next, ask your students if they remember any of the key words that scrolled up the screen during part three. Write these on the board.
- Once you have a nice list of vocabulary words, it’s time to have a little fun. Separate your class into two groups.
- Group A will have one minute to craft a sentence using one of the keywords on the board. Only they can’t use pencil and paper to remember it.
- After one minute, Group A will say their sentence aloud. If it’s grammatically correct, they get a point. If not, Group B gets to say the sentence in its proper form.
- After that, Group B chooses a word and the game repeats until all words are used up.
- Then watch the video again for fun!
“Idiom: Time Flies”
“Idiom: Time Flies” is a one-minute ESL video clip from Cambridge English that is fast and fun. You can easily pair this clip with any idiom lesson plan to spice up your presentation. Idioms are certainly a very important element to learning English, allowing ESL students to talk like native English speakers.
With visuals to engage your young learners, this clip will show them how to use the idiom “time flies.” From grammar to post-video communication, give this clip a whirl and see how time flies for your class.
Here’s a quick activity you can use for this ESL video clip:
- First, gather your students to watch the one-minute video.
- At the start of the video, there are a variety of sounds associated with the idiom “time flies.” Replay this part and pause the clip, asking your students what they see. A watch? A digital alarm clock?
- Continue playing the video, and pause it at the definition section of the clip. Discuss the example, “I can’t believe how late it is! Time flies when you’re having fun.” Ask your students to give you a variation of the example.
- Once everyone has given an example, you can play the video again to ensure complete comprehension.
“Mr. Bean’s Daily Routines”
“Mr. Bean’s Daily Routines” from iSLCOLLECTIVE.com is another fine example of how you can combine movies and TV shows with ESL learning. This two-minute ESL video clip is perfect for all ages, serving up practice for listening comprehension and vocabulary building.
This clip comes with a quiz you and your class can do together after watching the video. You can also complement this video with your own lesson plan by using the actions Mr. Bean does during the clip.
Here’s a quick interactive activity you can use alongside the quiz:
- First, watch the video as a class once or twice.
- Next, start the video again, only this time pause it after Mr. Bean makes his bed. Ask your students what Mr. Bean just did.
- Play the video and pause it after Mr. Bean gets in his car. Ask your students what Mr. Bean is wearing when he leaves his house. Then ask what Mr. Bean hits with his car.
- Resume the video and pause it after Mr. Bean washes his teeth. Ask your class how Mr. Bean was doing that.
- You can continue this for the different parts of Mr. Bean’s day by using the full video. It’s engaging and will keep your class attentive knowing questions are to come.
“Sing and Learn: At the Zoo”
“Sing and Learn: At the Zoo” from Cambridge English is a three-minute ESL video clip that combines singing, music and a touch of British accent. This clip has subtitles to follow along with, which means your students can flex those reading muscles while also boosting listening comprehension.
This video is certainly interactive for young learners. Your students will be engaged with the video, singing along with the hopping frog. As they sing, they’ll pick up essential verbs (look, like, come, sleep and different uses of to be).
One way you can use this ESL video clip in your classroom is to combine these verbs with a more practical approach.
Here’s a quick sample activity:
- First, gather your students around and play the video once or twice. Let them hear and see the words.
- Next, write out a few of the verbs and discuss them as a class. Ask each student to give an example sentence using each verb.
- Once they feel confident with the verbs, play the song again.
- Then follow up the clip with a few engaging questions, such as: How many children were in the family? What color was the car? What was the elephant afraid of?
ESL video clips have the ability to take students from the textbook, transporting them into another world of English. They’ll hear real-world English and accents other than yours. They’ll build confidence. And more importantly, they’ll have a few powerful learning resources they can practice outside the classroom. What are your favorite video clips?
Stephen Seifert is a writer, editor, professor of English and adventurer. With nearly a decade of teaching experience to students worldwide, he enjoys the many aspects of culture and traditions different from his own. Stephen continues his search for writing inspiration, boldly enjoying life to the fullest.