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Teaching and learning with video – Part 3: Interviews, vox pops and beyond…




Video camera and microphoneBruce Wade is the Editor of International Express. Building on his previous posts, Video in the Classroom and The Use of reportage and mini-documentary, he considers how video interviews can be used for contextual language learning.

We are naturally interested and curious about what other people do, what they are like, and what they look like. Using video gives students a chance to meet people they wouldn’t otherwise meet, and learn about their life and what they do. A wine producer in England, a nurse in Uganda, an expat entrepreneur in Prague, a travel writer who has travelled all over Africa, all have interesting stories to tell. How has climate change affected wine production in England? What can a foreign nurse do to help eradicate malaria in Africa? How does an American set up a business in the Czech Republic? What does a travel writer take with him on a research trip? These are all fascinating questions that are best answered by those people talking directly about their work, allowing the viewer to see the context in which they are working and talking.

Vox pops allow you to put a diverse group of people together on video so that the viewer can compare and discuss what different people in different professions and countries think about various issues related to their jobs. Simple questions such as, “How important is appearance at work?”, “What do you do every day at work?”, “How do you greet someone for the first time?” tell us a great deal about the culture, the social conventions, and the lifestyles of people from diverse origins.

International Express Video: Pre-Intermediate level, Unit 8: Work Culture

And finally …

Take a look at more sample videos from the new DVD and DVD-ROM editions of International Express. If you want to use this material yourself, the full DVD and DVD-ROM editions feature 44 video clips across the series, each around 4 minutes in length. The footage is a mix of contemporary, commissioned material, fascinating archive material, and clips provided by various corporations and organizations. Locations cover North and South America, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.

Bruce Wade, Editor

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  1. A very interesting series of articles, thank you Bruce, they have given me some great ideas for my teaching ;-).
    I’m not sure I agree about documentaries not dating. I think there are some in the Big City series that feel a bit dated as they talk about companies that have changed a lot since the films were made.
    I think it would also be interesting to think about student-generated vox pops, using the publisher material as a model. Do you think there is a place for that sort of thing in a teaching context?

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