Lesson 3: The Case for Visual Medial to Teach Culture

Video Selection

Just as we take great care in selecting the works of literature that we use in our teaching, so must we act when it comes to video materials. Not all video, after all, is good video. So here are some of the basic considerations for selecting useful video for language and culture instruction.


Criteria for video selection.

Duration: 02:59

Is Any Video "Good" Video?

In short, no. Desirable linguistic material should be current, accurate (what people really say), and useful. Another aspect to keep in mind when choosing video is having a high audio/visual correlation. The picture and sound/words should work together to enhance meaning. Here is a list of criteria for assessing audio/visual correlation:

  • Is the video track essential to complete understanding?
  • Does the video track facilitate comprehension of text?
  • Can the visuals stand alone without text?

Also, try to include video material that contains multiple "layers," where repeated viewings can increase understanding of paralinguistic elements (gestures, proxemics, body language, etc.). Finally, always remember that students continue to have higher and higher expectations of video content. If we want it to be taken seriously, choose only material with high production values, which

  • present a complete discrete segment (beginning,middle, end),
  • are compelling/entertaining, and
  • can maintain the interest of a native speaker/viewer.

Choose a current 30- or 60-second television commercial as an example of an authentic video segment. Using the criteria discussed, determine whether or not this segment might be suitable for an English language class or not.