Youtube: Teaching And Learning English

Today, perhaps more than ever before, it is important to recognize that “learning is a lifelong experience” and is the key to the future we want for ourselves. Thus, with tireless efforts, people always want to explore different methods of learning and teaching. These days, lifelong learners are supported by advanced learning technology to structure and organize their lifelong learning process. Computers and the Internet have broken through school walls, giving students greater opportunities to personalize their education, access distant resources, receive extra help or more-challenging assignments, and engage in learning in new and unique ways. It has become a fantastic resource for anyone wishing to learn or practise a foreign language, especially English.

A key aspect in the process of learning a language is repeated exposure to the language in its natural form, in a real-life context. Thus, video as a tool for education can bring multiple benefits for both teachers and students in this case. Money and Time are two things which have been creating so many hurdles in accessing the authentic video content in the past (Tarunpatel,2009). But today the English Language teaching process has been energized with the arrival of YouTube, a popular video sharing website where users can upload, view, and share video clips means it has become a wonderful tool for teaching and learning. The convenience is that English learners have to pay nothing to access to a seemingly endless supply of spoken and written content at anytime o the day via YouTube. A recent article in Wired cites claimed that an average of 65,000 uploads and 100 million videos viewed per day on YouTube (Godwin-Jones, 2007). YouTube is increasingly being used by educators as a pedagogic resource for everything from worthy events to “slice of life” videos used to teach student in English classroom. So the question to be raised is “How can we as educators engage the YouTube?” Therefore, the focus of this paper will be on the strategies and benefits of using Youtube in teaching and learning English. This study hopes to shed some light on finding out new trends in education make students more willing to learn the language.

If you are a dynamic internet user, it is probably that you have heard of YouTube before, but there are many people who are actually unsure about what it is. If you are one of those, it is recommended that you should find it out, or you could be missing out on one of the best online experiences, ever. In the first part of this paper, the writer would like to give you an overview of YouTube.

Overview of YouTube

1. What is it?

YouTube was founded by Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim. Hurley and Chen developed the idea for YouTube in 2005 after having experienced difficulty sharing videos that had been shot at a dinner party.

YouTube is a compound noun of “you” and “tube”, in which “Tube” is American slang language means television, so YouTube would mean something like a “TV in your hands”. It is video-sharing service that lets users upload files to YouTube servers. With the exception of content that is offensive or illegal, videos can be animations, footage of public events, personal recordings of friends, virtually anything a user wants to post (informational, entertaining, or purely personal…) One of an emerging class of social applications, YouTube allows users to post and tag videos, watch those posted by others, post comments in a threaded discussion format, search for content by keyword or category, and create and participate in topical groups. It ties into several blogging applications, giving users a quick way to blog about a particular video and includes a link to it (Educause learning initiative, 2006).

2.How does it work?

According to Educause learning initiative (2006), YouTube is free and available for everyone, through you must register with the site, creating a profile in order to post videos or comments. Videos which include tags, categories, channels and a brief description can be public or restricted to members of specified contact lists. Several tools allow viewers to sort through videos to locate those of interest. Links allow a user to share a movie through e-mail, add it to a list of favorites, post a text-based or video comment about it, and read others comments. Meanwhile, YouTube also allows videos hosted on its site to be embedded in other Web pages, such as blogs or personal Web sites. In addition, videos generally stream smoothly.

What are implications for teaching and learning?

The total free and conveniences of YouTube are opening the experience of online video to a wide range of users. It draws members the opportunities for expression through videos by self-publishing, and making content available for anyone interested in consuming it. The site further engages users, offering them into an environment that encourages them to communicate to new people, view and share their own opinions as be parts of the community. Therefore, YouTube is casing a revolution amongst the educations with amazement and a certain amount of enchantment. It is found that YouTube contains hundreds of, thousands of educational video clips and becomes a foothold in academics as well as in corporate trainings. Many organizations are beginning to realize the power of Web audio and video to get their messages across to customers, members, investors, and employees. This includes training classes, executive speeches, product demonstrations, video news releases, shareholder meetings, and coverage of corporate events.

In addition, The site offers users into the experience of viewing video and engaging with the content as commentators and creators, activities that heighten students’ visual literacy, an important skill in today’s electronic culture. Many educators believe that the act of creating content-in virtually any form-is a valuable learning exercise, helping develop a deeper understanding of the subject matter and the tools used to create that content, enriching lessons and bringing lessons to students who are home sick, and capture the learner’s imaginations. To the extent that it facilitates such creation, it has the potential to expose students to new insights and skills, as well as link them to various online communities. As a social-software application, it is part of a trend among Net Generation students to replace passive learning with active participation, where everyone has a voice, anyone can contribute, and the value lies less in the content itself than in the networks of learners that form around content and support one in learning goals (Educause learning initiative, 2006). On March 2009, it lauched YouTube EDU, an educational hub “volunteer project sparked by a group of employees who wanted to find a better way to collect and highlight all the great educational content being uploaded to YouTube by colleges and universities” (Arrington,2009).

Video in an online course

As video recorders are becoming more economical and available to use, it is easy for anyone to produce a video, so we should have a careful look at the use of videos in education Whatley and Armad (2007, p.186) showed that video , as an instructional tool and a communication medium has been widely used over last two decades in classroom, is a combination of a moving image and accompanying sound, so whereas an audio recording gives the voice or sound alone, video retains the visual cues that are essential for full understanding of the communication. Video, as an educational media, can provide vivid ­descriptions to articulate tacit information and knowledge difficult to achieve through text or verbally (Goodyear & Steeply, 1998, p.16).

There are several ways to use video in teaching, including “talking head” lectures (images of the lecturer’s face and shoulders), interviews, video diaries, recordings, demonstrations and instructions. Broadband connection to the Internet enables us to distribute the recordings online for the benefit of students, providing for greater accessibility for all .We are now looking for ways to use video in more imaginative ways, which are pedagogically sound, and help students to achieve learning outcomes, moving away from using video just as a presentation tool, to using it also as a tool for networked learning (Young & Asensio, 2003).

According to Nash (2009), there are basically five different kinds of video in education, all of which contain the potential for various and observational learning:

1. Demonstrations of procedures and skills: These are often professionally produced and are incorporated within the online modules (economics, mechanics, technology, etc). Because students will learn what they are observing, it is important to show the procedure done correctly. If not, they maybe learn the wrong approach, so the videos should be careful when showing mistakes.

2. Movies, television, and film: Excerpts or snippets from television and movies are often used to illustrate certain points in a course. It is an opportunity to view critically, and to make connections between course content and examples. Active viewing, with the help of guided questions is a good idea; otherwise, it is too easy to become a passive, uncritical viewer.

3.News and documentaries: Some textbooks, such as Cengage, have made ABC News videos available. The Discovery Channel, the History Channel, and other documentary producers are eager to sell their content to strengthen curriculum. Students may be learning only one side of a story.

Instructor-posted video content: Instructors may create their own content (introductory videos, explanations, more), often by sitting in front of their webcams and simply recording themselves as they sit at their computers and chat. Other instructors may post or embed videos they find on YouTube or in other locations.

Student-posted YouTube videos: Students may post them as an illustration of a point made in the discussion board. They may be posting videos as a part of an e-portfolio. In either case, it is important to keep in mind that any violence, aggression, or antisocial behavior that is enacted will be learned by the viewer.

Strategies for Using YouTube in Teaching and Learning

We are all believed video can be a powerful educational and motivational tool; however, the power lies not in itself but in how we used it as a means toward achieving learning goals and objectives. YouTube is now increasingly being used by educators as a pedagogic resource from the latest events to daily life videos used to teach English for students. According to Duff (2008, p.126), video learning shouldn’t be passive. These are some guidelines relating to the specific use of video to promote active viewing and maximize learning:

1. SEGMENT- Allow your students to watch the video in short segments

2. NOTES- Videos are ideal for developing note-taking skills. Take notes on the first viewing, then rewind, replay and check them. This can be done individually or collectively as a class discussion / brainstorming session.

3. PAUSE- Use the “pause” feature to temporarily stop the tape and allow your students to try to predict/recall what will happen next.

4. SOUND OFF- for video sequences that rely on visuals, turn the sound off and narrate. This technique works especially well for listing the steps of a process.

5. PICTURE OFF- Use the audio clues to describe what is on screen. Compare and contrast the predictions with the actual video.

6. LISTEN UP- Students concentrate on specific dialogue to listen to features of pronunciation.

7. SCRAMBLED GLOSSARY- Students put word cards in the correct order as they listen to a clip.

8. PREVIEW- each video carefully to determine its suitability for the lesson’s objectives and student’s learning outcomes.

9. INTEGRATE- the video into the overall learning experience by adding an experimental component to the lesson. Activities can be done prior to viewing; to set the stage, review, provide background information, identify new vocabulary words, or to introduce the topic. The activity can be done after viewing to reinforce, apply, or extend the information conveyed by the program. Often the video can serve as an introduction or motivator for the hands-on activity to come.

10. CUT-use online video editors like or to capture the concepts that are most relevant for your lesson topic. It is often unnecessary and time-consuming to screen a program in its entirety. When previewing a program, look for segments particularly relevant or useful to the lesson or activity planned.

11. FOCUS- give students a specific responsibility while viewing. Introduce the video with a question, things to look for, unfamiliar vocabulary, or an activity that will make the program’s content more clear or meaningful. By charging students with specific viewing responsibilities, teachers can keep students “on task” and direct the learning experience to the lesson’s objectives.

12. AFTER – when students have viewed the video consider; what interested them? What didn’t they understand? How can you relate the program to their experiences and feelings? Ask the students to add comments / blog on the video. How can you validate and appreciate diverse reactions to the material? Teacher can ask students to view a scene then write about what they have witnessed.

Below are some specific examples of approaches to incorporating YouTube into the teaching and learning experience:

YouTube can be used to create a learning community where everyone has a voice, anyone can contribute, and the value lies equally within the creation of the content and the networks of learners that form around content discovered and shared. (Educause Learning Initiative, 2006);

Allow your students to create a short video as part of an assessment item instead of the traditional essay. Becoming involved in the creation of a video, “heightens a student’s visual literacy, an important skill in today’s electronic culture” (Educause Learning Initiative, 2006);

Record a video of a guest presenter relevant to your content and use the YouTube comments feature to generate some discussion;

The use of video also has several advantages over graphic and textual media. For example, portrayal of concepts involving motion, the alteration of space and time; the observation of dangerous processes in a safe environment; dramatization of historical and complex events; demonstration of sequential processes the viewer can pause and review (Misanchuk, Schwier & Boling, 1996);

Benefits of YouTube Video

It is said that images can be worth 1000 words, and moving images, as video, can add authenticity to the portrayal of theoretical material. Video can enable improved communication of lecture material. The English language teacher has been using video as an instructional tool and a communication medium for teaching English in since many years ago. The organizations like BBC and CNN have even made billions of dollars selling the video content for teaching purposes, but for last three and a half years, at YouTube, anyone can post / access to a number of different feature video content without having to pay a thing.

There are two types of videos that you will use to learn on YouTube:

The first type is created by language teachers who explain grammar points or give various kinds of lesson in the language. Often, you can get access to a variety of videos where people whose profession is to teach the language will sit down and teach you a grammar point or two. This is the most suitable for beginners

The second type is created by native speakers of the language you are trying to learn. You can find video blogs and other types of entertainment videos which are probably the best for intermediate or advanced levels. Usually these types of videos are fun to watch, so you will not feel much like “studying” or “doing work”.

Besides, YouTube contains enormous amount of video in many fields for users to choose, some of which is highly recommended in education. The site is considered as a huge library for English educators with a number of ways of ranking:


Rising Videos

Most Discussed ­­

Most Viewed

Top Favorited

Most Popular

Top Rated

Most Responded

Or devided intoSeveral categories

Auto & vehicles




Film & Animation




News & Politics


People & Blogs

Pets & Animals


Travel & Event

In addition, the video’s quality is relatively good and users can choose the quality levels of video (standard, high and definition high).

Besides, there are many English channels from native teacher, non-native teacher, or English organizations (ETS, BBC, Havard…..) for learners to enjoy on YouTube. After watching or learning, they can join video-conferences to discuss or raise their doubts by comment (Joe, 2009).

For instance, On March 17th 2009, ETS officials announced the launch of TOEFL TV and indicated it was the official TOEFL channel on YouTube. The channel includes videos by teachers and students giving tips for improving English-language skills, videos by test, and videos by students about how they prepared for the test. “Of course we want these videos to be fun and helpful for students to view, and we also believe that teachers can incorporate these videos into their lessons as teaching tools.” says Gena Netten, TOEFL Brand Manager (2009).

Koumi (2006) has described three primary value of videos such as: cognitive value, experiential value, and nurturing value to instruction. These functions have been mapped to existing online video clips from sites such as YouTube. Cognitive value may be added through strategies such as animated diagrams to show processes, use of real world examples, or demonstration of skills by experts. The experiential value of videos is illustrated through clips that capture real-world events that are unusual, dangerous, or involve interactions among people or animals that may be difficult to reproduce. The nurturing value of videos is introduced through the impact on motivation or attitudes.

It is clear that learning in a classroom or from a book is one thing, but when students find themselves among people using the language in natural conversation, they often struggle to understand and feel overwhelmed or out of their depth. Online videos, such as those available on YouTube, show real speakers in a natural environment engaging in real social situations. The advantage here is that you can watch again and again without having to ask a person to repeat. To make the task of understanding even less daunting for learners, it would be useful, when using such videos, to pre-teach key vocabulary that is likely to be unknown, a recognized technique in language teaching (Richards, 1992).

The real advantage of YouTube, at least from a language learning point of view is that it offers authentic examples of everyday English used by everyday people (Beare,2008),”has potential to link students to various online communities”(Ybarra-Green, 2003)and “helps students to explore online English learning possibilities” (Godwin-Jones, 2007) “One of the best ways to learn English is to interact with other English speakers, and YouTube allows students to do that through video,” says Gena Netten, TOEFL Brand Manager. And former ESL Teacher “Not only will nonnative English speakers be getting tips about how to improve their English; they will also be able to make their own videos to practice” (Ewing, 2009).

At the same time, use of videos enables teachers to attach the students to the “real life” nature of these videos. By creating context for these short videos students can be helped to explore a world of online English learning possibilities. Some teachers reveal “YouTube videos enrich lessons and bring lessons to students who are home sick, and capture the learner’s imaginations”. Students in many contexts have said they like video activities because they provide a break from the usual textbook-based activities, and even when the activities challenge them, video learning is more enjoyable (Tarunpatel, 2009).

Besides, Videos have been updated everyday which makes YouTube to become unlimited resources for people. It is estimated that 15 hours of new videos are uploaded to the site every minute and that in 2007 YouTube consumed as much bandwidth as the entire Internet in 2000 (Arrington, 2009). Easy access to the videos by all students should reduce the amount of time that tutors spend doing this in the future.

Therefore, YouTube videos can be used in an English language teaching classroom for various teaching (vocabulary, pronunciations, translation, etc). There are two ways to teaching and learning from Youtube. They are directly on YouTube and on other websites which are embedded by youTube videos.

Sample Lessons

You and I were all students once, and all know how boring and monotonous classes could be if the learning resources are limited to textbooks only. It is wondered what if we could make our classes more educational but still interesting? In this part, the writer would like to represent a sample lesson of using YouTube video in an English class. In doing so, it is hoped to enhance English classes, ultimately making them more enjoyable for both English teachers and students.

Speaking and Listening

The video I would like to introduce lengthens 5:40 minutes. This is about Susan Boyle who is very famous for her voice and her dream. This is received 45,443,686 views and kept increasing now. You can download the video here

Aim: Practice Listening& Speaking

Objective: By the end of the lesson, students will be able to Understand about Susan’s life and her talent.

Materials : YouTube video

Steps/ Activities:

1) Pre – watching

T gives a short introduction to Susan video. “Susan Boyle, a 47-year old unglamorous Scottish woman, astounded the judges and the audiences in the TV contest of Britain’s Got Talent. Susan Boyle Singing Brings Tears to Eyes of Everyone, Everywhere”

Pre- teach vocabulary: Britains Got Talent: Cuá»™c Thi Tài năng nÆ°á»›c Anh

2) While – watching

T shows the videos for Students and asks students to watch carefully.

T gives some discussion questions for students

1. What do you think about Susan Boyle’s singing?

2. Why did it become such a sensational story worldwide?

3. Describe what you saw in the picture.

4. How will the success change her?

5. Why did people root for her despite of her look and age?

– T asks Students to work in pair.

– T calls on some groups and checks their vocabulary, pronunciation….

3) After- watching

T lets student to write a Susan’s biography.

As a new educator, the author is looking for the best means to help students in their learning. It is believed that there are improved means of helping through the use of learning technology advancements, which are becoming less costly everyday. Taking advantage of developments in technology combined with appropriate learning theory supports the suggestion that students should be exposed repeatedly to the topic through different delivery methods in order for them to ‘digest’ the subject matter. Therefore, the rise of video-sharing technologies (besides classroom lecture, PowerPoint-slides note, handouts and tutorials…) have opened new possibilities for education, are another practical and technically possible means of achieving this. While video has long been used in education, there has never before been such a massive quantity of short video clips delivered through the Web, especially YouTube. The documents and data shown in this report demonstrate how YouTube is such a powerful technology, and if used correctly can really improve teaching and teaching techniques. The use of YouTube video as an educational tool has a very positive meaning for both students and teachers. These pilot study findings have implications regarding to provide the use of YouTube in class and online courses, and perhaps to student users as well.