Tuesday, 24 July 2012
I agree with Canning-Wilson in that videos can be a valuable resource in the L2 classroom. However, there are some points in her article that I disagree with. First, I think that the author’s distinction between language, gestures, and facial expressions is a little bit artificial. Of course, we want our learners to understand what is being said, but language does not only consist of words. Gestures and expressions are an essential part of language, and I think videos are a great way of exposing our students to authentic ways of communicating in the target language. In my opinion, learning how to interpret gestures made in a different culture is part of language learning. Second, I think that the author’s suggestion of segmenting a video for L2 learners is a good idea in general. However, the empirical evidence she cites suggesting that students lose interest very quickly when watching a video in another language is not very convincing. Were the students in the study adults or teenagers? Were the beginners or advanced learners? Advanced learners can certainly be exposed to longer videos and can probably focus for a longer time, especially if they are adult learners. Finally, I think that the author’s reminder that videos should be carefully chosen in terms of their educational purpose is certainly a good point. But in my opinion, what is often missing in L2 classrooms is the cultural element (which is part of the BC curriculum!) of a language. Videos are a great way of experiencing culture, and talking about certain cultural aspects. Moreover, just like books, films should sometimes just be enjoyed, and not every single minute needs to be analyzed!