Alan_decentralised teaching


This lesson came from the first Lesson Jam last year that was organised by our teacher’s group – Berlin Language Worker GAS.
Learners make a 1 minute ‘how-to’ video on their phones or mobile devices, explaining a process of their own choosing. 

Special thanks to the ‘Apple’ group (Denise, Theresa and Anne Marie) for coming up with this idea – and to Anne Marie Fives for writing it up.


1. Brainstorming
In groups, learners talk about things that they know how to do. They should gradually focus on something they can do, that nobody else can do. If they have trouble coming up with ideas, have some ready e.g. fix a bicycle puncture, change the oil in a car, grow tomatoes, find a job, do a cart-wheel.

2. Mine a “how-to” video

Watch one or two ‘how-to’ videos on youtube or videojug (“the world’s best how-to videos’). There are two ways of running this :
Option 1 :
Watch the videos with no sound. Learners then talk about the language they would use to describe the process seen in the video.

Option 2 :
Watch the video with sound. Learners recall any useful language they heard and write it down.

Feedback on this task will determine how much work needs to be done on the following tasks (language study and controlled practice).

3. Language Study

Collect on board the language from the last task.  Elicit what type of language it is. There could be :
– discourse markers
– imperatives or
– ‘you switch x on, you turn y off’ etc.
– collocations
– lexis
– should, might

4. Controlled Practice

Discourse Markers: you could give learners a text describing a process with all the discourse markers removed and they have to fill them in.

For an advanced class: give pictures of a process and they have to provide all the text including discourse markers.

5. Write and Practice presentations

Give learners a flow chart that they fill in with pictures and key words to describe their process.
In groups. Pairs practice their presentations and get feedback.

6. Create videos

Learners create their ‘how to’ videos. This can be done in class, or at home.

7. Present videos to class / Feedback
Learners are given a task before watching the videos e.g. pick which one is funniest, most unusual, most surprising.
‘Question and answer’ session after each video.
After all videos have been watched start a discussion with learners.

Follow-up Tasks

Draw a flow-chart of one of the other pairs’ videos.
Write a description of the process in one of the other videos.
Write a paragraph on what you liked about another pair’s video.


Hope that you find this lesson useful – if so – please post your experiences and comments below.



18/09/2007 (Day 292) – Daddy Can Fix Anything. Alan, on flickr. CC License 2.0.



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