Teaching Transition Skills with Video Vignettes

SarahLynn1Sarah Lynn

In adult education today, we need to teach English and foster transition skills so our students can be successful in their work and post-secondary studies. Our students need to be able communicate on diverse teams, think creatively and flexibly about a variety of situations, and think critically to solve problems in work and academic settings.

How can we teach English and also develop these essential transition skills?  A technique I’ve found to be effective is using video vignettes in the classroom. You can exploit a short (1-2 minute) video vignette of a social or workplace encounter for many levels of learning and skill development.

The Key to Using Video Vignettes:  Multiple Viewings
Once you have chosen an appropriate video, you can show the video multiple times for different outcomes.  Each time, focus on a particular aspect of the video and follow the viewing with classroom activities to develop students’ language and critical thinking skills.

1.  Focus on Content     Slide1

Develop these skills: comprehending language in context; summarizing; reporting information; and evaluating information.

Classroom activities:

  • Answer comprehension questions, wh-questions, and true/false statements based on the video content.
  • Listen for details to identify who says what or complete closes.
  • Create activities around disappearing dialogs, retelling the information in the conversation, and reenacting or reconstructing the conversation.

2.  Focus on Language    Slide2

Develop these skills: grammar, vocabulary, intonation, and pronunciation.

Classroom activities:

  • Identify the language point (listen for it or highlight it in the video script).
  • Practice the language point (with cloze activities; substitution drills; pair read-alouds; dictations; audio-recording of student work).
  • Apply the language point to new contexts (practice new conversations using  conversation frameworks and using language point in discussions).

3.  Focus on Pragmatics  Slide3

Develop these skills: making inferences; analyzing language usage; supporting generalizations with evidence; identifying conflict; and solving problems

Classroom activities:

  • Listen for or highlight language in the video script.
  • Generate and practice alternative language to accomplish same purpose.
  • Perform role plays and problem solving scenarios.

4.  Focus on Social Communication: Slide4

Develop these skills: recognizing and using body language, register, and conversation cues to effectively communicate

Classroom activities:

  • Perform and video-record role-plays.
  • Analyze student videos for social communication.
  • Write conversation exchanges.
  • Apply similar communication styles to other contexts.

5.  Focus on Culture: Slide5

Develop these skills: recognizing workplace and social expectations and standards; making evidence-based generalizations using details; identifying cultural values and assumptions; and communicating on diverse teams

Classroom activities:

  • Do Quick Writes to uncover cultural assumptions.
  • Analyze language in video to support generalizations.
  • Write formal paragraphs supporting a claim with evidence.
  • Explain values in oral or poster-board presentations.
  • Perform role plays and problem solving scenarios.