Materials are meaningful tools to facilitate the learning of a language, used by teachers as (Ramirez, cited by Gonzales Moncada, 2004) declare. Video can be a very valuable tool for language learning. The advantages this tool provides, which this section will discuss, include the provision of samples of real-life communication, motivation for language learning, and promoting language acquisition. The first major advantage of using video is that it can provide samples of real-life situations. Lonergan [1984, pp. 4–5 cited in Lustigová, 2013] pointed out that video is able to present “complete communicative situations. At their best, video presentations will be intrinsically interesting to language learners. The learner will want to watch, even if comprehension is limited.” Learners can use video to study how language use may be employed by age and how the relationship between language use and paralinguistic features can be focused, including how to convey moods and feelings. Mirvan (2013) asserted that employing video materials in a classroom can enhance students’ motivation to learn since it can expose them to a wide variety of situations that can help them comprehend similar situations in real life. Allan [1985, pp. 48–49 cited in Liu, 2005], who also argues that video reflects real-life communication, advances another reason why video is more advantageous than other forms of authentic material; it presents “slices of life.” Normally, teachers work with dialog in textbooks or audio cassettes; however, video presents communication more contextually. According to Allan, this makes video a valuable addition to language learning. Besides providing real communication situations, video can be more motivating than other forms of authentic material. Christopher and Ho [1996, pp. 86] provide another reason why this is so; it can be entertaining. Music and setting elements can make for an enjoyable experience by learners. Video movies provide topics and ideas for learners to discuss. In order to choose video material for the classroom, topics must be chosen based on students’ interest and their level of English proficiency, as well as cultural aspects. In addition, Nunan (2003) stated that the design of listening cycles is an important consideration, which involves selecting the content of the video or audio recording and dividing it into sections for presenting in stages to learners. Instructors can design cycles of activities in which learners can participate. The instructor should also be a reflective observer in order not to distract the learners’ attention from the video. Therefore, it would be very beneficial for instructors to select video materials that are conducive to language learning. Learners are more motivated to cope with the instruction when given the opportunity to study with the use of video materials. Studies have revealed that visual attention is affected by several factors. While moment-to-moment visual attention of children may wander from the set, the studies showed that they steadily monitor the presentation at a surface level, so that their visual attention is recaptured by certain audio cues [Anderson, Alwitt, Lorch, & Levin, 1979). Nugent (1982], Pezdek and Hartman (1983), and Pezdek and Stevens (1984 cited in Zarei & Gilanian, 2013) conducted studies to examine a video program with its audio and visual presentations decomposed by comparing the role of these two sources of information, individually and together. In most of the research, the integration of visual and auditory input has led to more recall than visual-only or audio-only presentations.
Aspects to consider before choosing which videos to use in class
Having the best tools to make students improve in an area of English is not enough. It is of equal importance to know how to use such tools. It is suggested then to follow certain procedure. As Thomas, Herrington, & Oliver (20001) declare, effectively integrating video into classroom instruction involves preparation and activities before, during and after viewing. However, as those procedures will be specified later, we will now focus on certain characteristics authentic videos need to have in order to be used in class. We will start by looking at which factors or aspects need to be taken into account before choosing a determined kind of movies or video segments to use.
– Cultural aspect: It is important to notice what kind of social environment our students are involved in so as to make a choice of video that matches our students’ preferences or that is culturally correct or accepted. According to Verissimo Toste (2014), thinking about the life of our students, at school, home, neighborhood, etc is important so that we can implement topics or content to the class more naturally and language can be more easily used.
– Student’s Age and Interests: The interests students have will depend a lot on the age they are. Definitely, an 18 yearold student does not think like a 30, 40, or 50 year old teacher. Therefore, it is very important that teachers try to understand their students’ needs and preferences so as to make the right choice of video. As a consequence, it is important to know the main characteristics that students have at this age. Dennise Witmer (n.d) states that the 18-year-old teen is on an identity quest into their future. It is a time for big change that comes with a lot of freedom and happiness, along with feelings of nostalgia and apprehension. According to Groff, J. (1997), the selection of age appropriate activities for young people will provide them with a positive learning environment that will support their interests and provide a solid foundation for further investigation and research.
– Students’ level: This represents a very difficult factor to deal with in video session class. Not only does the particular accent of the speakers in video may be a problem, but also the kind of language they use. The speech in movies and sitcoms is well charged by slang, which gives students a bigger challenge when they are exposed to authentic videos. Some options to deal with this issue would be to do tasks that range of difficulty according to students’ level. Another alternative could be to use subtitles so that students do not feel frustrated for not understanding everything in the video. Finally, pre-teaching vocabulary would be a good way to prevent students from difficult situations due to the language used in videos, too.
– Preparation activities: Lessons need to be prepared in advance. In order to motivate students, ease students’ understanding of the video, and digest the information. That way, they will prepare students for the information that will be presented in videos, as well as, students will be eager to watch the films or sitcom. Taking advantage of the language presented in authentic videos is something that needs special attention and dedication because motivation, understanding and results may depend on it. A video session, then, needs to be accompanied by the appropriate pre-viewing, viewing and post-viewing activities.
Length of videos: According to Stempleski, S. & Tomalin, B. (1990), video sequences need to be short, around two or three minutes long, to have time to exploit all their contents in class, using the appropriate ad-hoc activities just mentioned. It is important to bear in mind that the authentic video is used as a point of departure to boost, motivation to practice grammar; it implies that not all the class will be organized based on its contents; this is only part of the class, which includes other activities as well. Another advantage that short periods of viewing have is the level of comprehension students get. As a result of this, they gain confidence, what is relevant is not only what video you use but how you use it. Reviews and meta-analysis of the research indicate that positive learning and affective outcomes are greatly enhanced and extended when the video is integrated into the rest of the lesson, (Tomalin, 1990). Besides this benefit, Shepherd (2003) agrees that most educational experts agree that video is best shown in short segments so as to maximize learners' concentration.