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Lorenzo van den Veen

A New Approach To Honing Listening Skills

Learning a new language can be rather tricky, let alone teaching it. There are of course countless books and websites that can help teach grammar, vocabulary, and comprehensive reading, but having to find a good listening exercise can be a time-consuming task. Most listening exercises are staged with actors or just lists of phrases that the listener ought to repeat.

Luckily, there is a new and revolutionary approach that has come to the rescue for all us language teachers and tutors: interactive videos.

Whether you are teaching a Norwegian course in university, French to high school students, or tutoring English to the kids next door, you want to give your students the opportunity to hone their listening skills with authentic materials to present them with language use that they will come across in real life. Of course, there are thousands of videos out there that could be used to make your own exercises, from news clips to snippets from movies and TV shows, but that usually ends up being a hassle, too.

Why not make the video interactive? It is the perfect way for anyone involved in language teaching that is willing to go the extra mile for a good and authentic listening exercise. However, being a teacher or just being a human being in general makes sure that you do not have a lot of time to spare, and that is why interactive videos are such a good solution.

When you use interactive videos, you can easily base them on existing videos from common video-sharing websites, e.g. YouTube or Vimeo, or use videos you’ve created yourself. With this approach, it is easy to incorporate news reports, clips from TV shows, and popular online videos into your classes or tutor sessions.

Interactive videos can eliminate the hassle with long paper trails as students can work individually on their own computer or other devices, such as smartphones and tablets, or can be used for plenary sessions. Some interactive video tools even allow you to save the results of each student so you can track their progress of a video or a series of videos.

If you would like to use it as a fun and interactive homework assignment, there are tools out there that let you track who has watched, completed, and passed the interactive videos.

You can check out an example of one of these interactive videos here. It is an interactive video for learners of Norwegian that analyzes a lyric music video of a popular Norwegian artist that deals with the differences between the two standards of writing.

If your Norwegian is a little bit rusty, you are hereby excused; however, if you’d would like to check out the possibilities of an interactive video, this is a good example. Maybe it will inspire you to make your classroom or tutor sessions a little bit more interactive.

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