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The Effect of Video Context on Foreign Language Learning

a. Teresa Secules, Carol Herron, and Michael Tomasello
i. The availability of technology (namely: computer, internet, and projector) in the
classrooms at Chaparral Elementary enables for the easy viewing of video
ii. I have incorporated short youtube videos clips into the lessons a couple times
(specifically in culture)
1. Excited the students about learning the culture
2. Made China more real
a. Question: How do instructors make the experience of learning a foreign language more
like those that occur in the real world?
i. Curricular reforms
1. Authentic learning materials
2. Importance of listening comprehension
3. Making drills contextually appropriate
4. De-emphasizing error correction
5. Emphasizing meaningful activity in the classroom
6. >>>>Video technology <<<<
b. Benefits of video:
i. Permits 2nd language learners to witness:
1. Dynamics of interaction
2. Native speakers in authentic settings
3. Use of different accents, registers, and paralinguistic cues (e.g. posture,
c. Proliferation of video materials:
i. Curriculum enhancement
1. Presenting foreign literature, art, fashion, film, television, etc.
ii. Use with textbook
iii. Classroom use and for self-study (multi-media instructional packages)
d. Integration of video in a classroom concern
i. May supplant other materials and activities
e. Question: How effective are videotaped materials in teaching foreign language?
Experimental Design
a. 2 experiments
i. Compared listening comprehension
ii. Compared learning of vocabulary and grammatical structures
b. French in Action
i. A complete video instructional package
ii. Combines video, audio, and print materials
iii. A popular planned immersion course utilized in various public universities
iv. Format
1. 2-3 sentence introduction in English
2. 10 minute vignette about French student
3. Set in France
a. All actors except an American student are native speakers
4. Final segment with native speaking professor explaining vocab,
idiomatic expressions, or grammatical structures from vignette
First experiment
a. Compares listening comprehension



b. Subjects: Emory University underclassmen

c. Experimental Group
i. Used French in Action video series + accompanying curriculum
d. Control Group used traditional curriculum
e. Results
i. Students who viewed videos demonstrated considerably greater listening
comprehension than control group
ii. Gain did NOT come at expense of reading and writing skills
Experiment 2
a. Subjects: Emory students
b. Experimental group
i. Taught targeted structures in a normal video lesson
1. Listened to these structures used in the context of a storyline by native
speaker actors
c. Control group
i. Saw same video with all target structures carefully edited out
d. Results
i. No significant differences between the experimental and control conditions in
overall learning of linguistic structures except for
ii. Vocabulary
1. Control group did better
a. Possibly because of focus on oral drills
i. Repetition
ii. Something we know from our own classes that works
very well
iii. Difference between advanced and beginner groups
1. Advanced group did better on grammar structures when taught with
video over drills
2. But not the beginner group
a. Listening comprehension
i. Video-based curriculum clearly benefits listening comprehension more than the
traditional curriculum
ii. Hypothesis: Superior listening comprehension of students in video-based
classroom best explained as a task specific effect
1. Listening comprehension involves a combination of skills, not just
knowledge of linguistic structures:
a. How to use non-pedagogical contextual cues
b. Understanding native accents
c. Keeping up with native speaker speed
d. Recognizing a wide range of lexical meanings
iii. A concern:
1. Beginning second language learners more handicapped by quick speech
and native accents than advanced learners
i. Many think they must understand every word, even
though they dont even do this in their native language
b. THUS: Classroom teachers adjust their level of speech to what
students can comprehend

i. EFFECT: beginning level students not pushed to their

processing limits by teachers concerned with effective
communication and student motivation
c. In fact, students in all classes with the video expressed concern
that in the video stories
i. Dialogue too difficult
ii. Speech too rapid
iii. Too much unfamiliar material included
iv. NEVERTHELESS, when teachers checked
comprehension after initial viewing, they found most
students understood the basic plot and important details
v. Hypothesis: students gained valuable practice at the
specific skill of making sense of oral material on-line
without understanding every word or grammatical usage
1. A skill not normally practiced in foreign
language classrooms


b. Vocab
i. learned better by oral drill than video
c. Grammar
i. Advanced groups on video curriculum did better than advanced groups on
ii. Beginner groups on traditional curriculum did better than beginner groups on
iii. Hypotheses:
1. Maybe higher linguistic competence of advanced students allowed them
to use contextualized dramatic situations to learn specific structures in a
way not open to less advanced students
2. Maybe advanced students take comprehension gaps as opportunities to
learn the grammar, while beginner students more often just give up
d. Importance of the teacher
i. Video-based curriculum does NOT free teacher from all class prep
ii. Teacher played vital role in:
1. Preparing students for tapes
2. Reviewing material before and after presentation
3. Engage students in additional active and interactive exercises for oral
iii. The videotapes provide students with important experiences while not
detracting from other skills, allowing teachers more time to plan other
e. Overall conclusion:
i. A systematic foreign language curriculum INCLUDING student viewing of
videotapes of natural interaction among native speakers is an important and
useful activity to promote listening comprehension
CORE III applications
a. Video material does not work as a substitute in our case haha
i. 30 minutes
ii. WE have to be the teachers of material
iii. Vocab-based class => oral drills better
b. Give students same practice as those in the test did from watching video

i. Speak naturally, at normal speed

ii. Conquer that notion that they need to understand everything to understand
c. Videos may give ADDITIONAL exposure
i. More culturally-contextualized examples of language use
ii. Native accents
iii. Natives interacting with natives
d. While videos are not applicable for linguistics in our case, they are still useful in creating
a more immersive CULTURAL experience