Using video from the Internet


Let the Internet spice up your lessons.

Using video in teaching can bring a subject to life and provide a welcome change from using texts or still pictures. In general you should aim to use short clips of between 10 seconds and 3 minutes. Watching whole films etc increases a student’s exposure to English and should be very much encouraged but this can be done outside normal lesson time. Very short videos or clips are much better suited to teaching purposes and can be used for:

  • Generating interest in topics or responding to student’s interests
  • Pronunciation esp. intonation and weak forms/linking
  • Vocabulary
  • Scenarios for dialogue development
  • Language games eg. Predicting what happened just before/next
  • Previewing places to visit

Video can be recorded from TV, be on a DVD/pre-recorded cassette or be shown directly from websites such as YouTube or Metacafe.

Video from the internet

Most students under, say, 30 will be very used to watching short video clips on the internet. Using them in your teaching is very likely to generate a great deal of interest and is free to use. After a while it’s possible to build up quite a collection of interesting clips that you can use time and time again.

Finding a suitable internet video clip

The internet allows you to view video about almost every village, town or well-known place. You will also find film clips and news features. You will need to search for one by using a browser such as Google or using the search facility within for example YouTube. You may find yourself with a large choice. If you do, select 3 or 4 to look at. Try searching for ‘Stonehenge’ and quickly skim through some of the videos to see what’s on offer. With practice you will be able to assess videos quite quickly.

The quality can vary from very amateur to professional in both camerawork and content. Some amateur video can be a refreshing change from over-produced ‘professional’ offerings.  


Perhaps the best known website is YouTube (  YouTube is a video-sharing website where users can upload, share, and view videos. YouTube is excellent if you want to find a short video on some local place of interest that you are planning to show your student.   


The site features short-form videos in a variety of categories, including animation, comedy, entertainment, how to, news and events, people and stories, sports, video games and others. (

Saving internet video

It is possible to download software to enable you to save video to your computer’s hard drive. If you are very computer savvy, have a look at If you’re not, it’s better to go to YouTube etc directly.

Showing a video clip

Before your lesson starts try to have the video clip ready set up or at least have the webpage address saved in your internet favourites.

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