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Video Resources for English Language Teacher EducationEFL lessons

General english (Pl 1) Age 16-19

 General Info

This is a general English class for students aged 16+ in an ESL setting. Students come from a variety of language backgrounds, and most of them are aiming to join mainstream UK education in order to sit their school-leaving exams (‘A-Levels') in due course. This lesson is largely focused on vocabulary.

 Materials used:

Soars, John & Liz (2000) New Headway English Course. Pre-intermediate. Student's Book. Oxford: OUP

Soars, John & Liz (2000) New Headway English Course. Pre-intermediate. Workbook. Oxford: OUP.

ELT: Pre-Intermediate Level, Lesson 1 (Emma) from Julia Huettner on Vimeo.


The post-its referred to at times are used so that students can share the textbooks if they've forgotten their own copies. Students write answers to tasks in the book onto the post-its, or cover previous writing with them.


1) What's in a word?

Aim: to gain a better understanding of the elements included in ‘knowing a word' and to discover alternative means of teaching vocabulary


Before watching the video, discuss the following points with a fellow student to tap into your beliefs and previous knowledge:

  • What's the main point of a vocabulary lesson?
  • How can we introduce new words?
  • What aspects of the words do students need to know?
  • How can we check students have learned these different aspects of the words?
  • What if they haven't?
  • What helps students remember?
  • What makes students forget?

Now watch the video of Emma's pre-intermediate class.  You can either observe the entire lesson, or choose sequences particular areas to focus on, for example the revision section at the beginning (until min 12.20) and the section towards the end where new words on hospitality and tourism are introduced (1:10). Now try to answer the following questions and link them to your previous discussion

  • Which words were chosen? Why?
  • Are these high or low-frequency words?
  • Was the meaning of these words conveyed effectively? How?
  • Was the pronunciation shown? How?
  • Did the teacher check word knowledge? How?
  • Were all students equally engaged in these tasks? Why (not)?
  • How do the tasks shown compare to your own experience as a teacher or language learner?


Compare your answers with those of another student and discuss any implications for your own teaching practice

2) Stepping into teacher educator and teacher roles

This task works best for students with some teaching experience who might be thinking of becoming teacher educators or mentors themselves.

Aim: to reflect on the influence of individuals' stance towards their/their student teachers' teaching on the effectiveness of feedback practices:


You'll need to be at least one group of 4 students, and ideally more. Before viewing the lesson, you will be allocated into four groups. Each group is given a role and should view the lesson with that frame in mind. You do not have to view the entire lesson, you can agree on about 15 minutes, ideally excluding the revision at the beginning. However, everybody as to watch the same bit!

Group 1, Role 1: Uncritical teacher

This is a lesson you taught and you feel it went very well and that you did a really good job. In fact, it was a total success! View the lesson and take notes of all the aspects that you feel support this view. You don't take responsibility for the students' behaviour or actions at all are not very amenable to criticism


Group 2, Role 2: Overcritical teacher

This is a lesson you taught and you feel really unhappy about it. In fact it was a real failure! View the lesson and take notes of all the aspects that you feel support this view. You take full responsibility for everything that happens in the class and you are not very willing to accept any praise.


Group 3, Role 3: Uncritical/Positive mentor

You observe this lesson as a positive evaluator and rather uncritically focus only on the positive. You are very optimistic about your student teacher's abilities. Make a list of as many positive features of the lessons as you can, looking both at the learners' and the teacher's actions.


Group 4, Role 4: Overcritical/Negative mentor

You observe this lesson as a negative evaluator and rather overcritically focus only on the negative. You are very pessimistic about your student teacher's abilities. Make a list of as many negative features of the lessons as you can, looking both at the learners' and the teacher's actions.


Get together in your groups and discuss your notes on the observation.

Pair up with one teacher and one mentor and conduct a feedback session on the lesson. Try and stay in your role and "tune in" to how you feel about the interaction. Repeat (staying in role) with another partner (from a different group)

Get together in a group containing all four roles and discuss the following points:

  • Did you find any pairings particularly successful or unsuccessful?
  • What are the effects of the (extreme) stances in these roles on teacher learning?
  • What is the role of emotions and affect in post-observation feedback?


While these roles are a little more extreme than you would usually find, they do reflect common trends. What stance do you think a genuinely supportive mentor or teacher educator adopt (both emotionally and with regard to teacher learning)?

This lesson is taught by an experience teacher, so we can assume that a lesson taught by a student teacher will show more or different strong and weak points. How can we account for differences in expertise when giving feedback? What would you as a mentor focus on first?


I originally got the idea for this task (which has since changed considerably) from Tanner, R. & C. Green (1998) Tasks for Teacher Education. London: Longman, now sadly out of print. Thank you for the inspiration!

The teacher's views

Listen to Emma talk about her pre-intermediate class!

Emma talks about her pre-intermediate class from Julia Huettner on Vimeo.

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