Get New Ideas on How to

Use Video in ELT

Everyone knows video lesson plans are engaging. They allow students to learn while they enjoy themselves. When looking for alternatives on how to introduce a topic, reinforce vocabulary, model language, or simply have a visual aid to get a conversation going, videos are always a good way to go.

The way we use videos will have a huge impact on the way our students engage with them. So, first let’s go over a few strategies about how to use videos:

  • Always have a purpose: even though videos are meant to be fun, they should always help you reach a learning outcome.
  • Make sure it’s at the right level: videos may be great, but if they are too easy or too hard, they may turn students off.
  • Just the right length: Showing students video segments or clips will be more effective and motivating, especially to lower-level students, than watching a complete movie.

Now, let’s explore different ways of using video, instead of the traditional fill-in-the-blank exercises. First, it’s important to understand videos can be used for more than just listening exercises. You can do several activities that can engage students while promoting critical thinking and creativity. Next time you do a video activity try one of these instead:

  • True, false or not given: Different from the traditional true or false this type of question requires students to analyze and understand more in depth. They need to not only understand if it’s true or false but also recognize if it’s not in the video altogether.
  • What’s next?: Have students come up with their own endings. This is great to get promote creativity.
  • Game show: Split up your class into teams and ask a question before playing the video. While you play the video, the first team to “buzz in” with the correct answer will win. You could also integrate this with Kahoot!
  • Timeline: Have students find the correct timeline of a video, or write it themselves from scratch as they watch the video.
  • Bingo: Make a Bingo with specific words or ideas from the video and they have to mark them off as they do the exercise. The first person to complete their bingo wins.

As you think of ideas for video exercises, also try using 21st-century skills to create engaging activities that will promote creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, and communication.

Now, here are some links you can use to find just the right video for your ELT classroom!

Some useful links when planning video lessons for…

Young Learners

British Council Kids


Lyricstraining for children 

Exam Preparation

ESL Videos Intermediate  

Lyricstraining with Movie Scenes and TV Shows 

TED Ed Lessons 


British Council for teens

TV Shows



You can get more great ideas here!

Here’s one full activity for Business English: Customer Service

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  1. What services does a bank offer?
  2. How is the customer service in your bank?


Read the questions. Now, watch the video and choose if the answer is True, False, or Not Given.

  1. The woman arrived late because she was in another meeting.  
  2. The man arrived late.
  3. The woman offered and explained new services.
  4. The man needs the new services.
  5. The man wants to make a complaint.
  6. The woman suggests he calls an automated service.  
  7. The woman is not the bank manager.
  8. The man calls the automated service after he leaves the woman’s office.


Choose one of the situations in the video and suggest how to train the bank manager to improve the bank’s customer service.

To watch some more Barbara from Bank World videos


For teachers who work online, Watch2gether is great for watching videos together with your students. You can create your own room, make a playlist and control when to pause or continue the video.


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