TESOL Video News

TESOL Video News, Volume 17:3 (September 2006)

by User Not Found | 11/01/2011
In This Issue...
Leadership Updates Editorial Note

Kenneth Chi, Fu Jen Catholic University, Taipei, Taiwan, kennethchyi@gmail.com

Welcome to the September issue of TESOL Video News. After a long exhausting spring term, follow-ups on TESOL 2006, and preparations for TESOL 2007, we finally had our summer vacation. Now I am sitting in the hall in Shanghai Hongquai Airport, waiting for my flight to Beijing and also writing my editorial note.

TESOL 2006 at Tampa, Florida, was great. The beautiful weather and gorgeous sea created a relaxing and friendly atmosphere for all TESOL-goers—with perhaps the exception of the confusion caused by the room designations at the conference hotel. The hotel had a confusing naming system. There was a Room 10, and also Hall 10, and Salon 10, for example.

TESOL 2006 was very memorable for me. I presented for the first time. My presentation was on the afternoon of the second day, and luckily it went well. Also, something very interesting happened to me at the conference. On the third afternoon, a big name in TESL came up to me while I was waiting for my shuttle bus. I recognized him right away. "Hi, you are from Taiwan," he said. He saw Taiwan on my name tag. "Yes," I answered. Then he took out a book with a very cute comic picture of him on the cover, which was made for his book by the Taiwanese publisher. He was Douglas Brown. We had a wonderful chat on the bus. This incident was a highlight of TESOL 2006 for me. I enjoyed sharing this story with all of you.

First our chair Donna Tatsuki gives her greetings. Then we have two articles: Ray Graham and Alan Melby, very experienced second language teachers and researchers, talk about how to implement the EFR approach to enhance second language acquisition; then Kristen Campbell Wilcox summarizes her poster session from the TESOL 2005 convention in San Antonio, Texas.

The Video IS is soliciting articles for future issues of TESOL Video News. Submit articles or announcements to kennethchyi@gmail.com. You may also send opinions and suggestions at any time to the leaders (see the last page of this issue for contact information) or to the e-list. We look forward to hearing from you.

Note From the Chair

Donna Tatsuki, Kobe City University of Foreign Studies, Kobe, Japan, dhtatsuki@rapid.ocn.ne.jp

Greetings from the sweltering heat of Kobe, Japan!

The spring academic term has just ended in Japan (and not a moment too soon, some might say!). Over the past few weeks we have been enjoying (?!?) the rainy season, a time of blistering heat punctuated by torrents of rain—forget about drying anything.

Proposal vetting is over and was very successful—a hearty thanks to all who offered their services to the Interest Section to do this valuable work. We have some exciting sessions in store for Seattle 2007. It should be noted that many proposals that use video or digital media actually are sent for vetting in other IS categories because of the interdisciplinary nature of teaching through video and digital media technology. This means that the sessions that are attributed to VDMIS are a mere fraction—a veritable "tip of the iceberg"—of the total related sessions. What VDMIS does and who we represent is more significant than is apparent at first glance. I am hoping that more cross-referencing can be done in the conference handbook to help identify the hundreds of video/digital media sessions that are on the program every year.

Judging by the preparations thus far, we can look forward to a feast of VDMIS-sponsored events including

  • A dynamic Academic Session exploring video's past, present, and future, featuring Kenneth Chi, Barbara Morris, Kathleen Eilers-Crandall and Elizabeth Hansen-Smith.
  • A provocative, cutting-edge InterSection with Bilingual Education IS and CALL-IS that will explore the digital future of multilingualism, featuring Lance Knowles, Karen Price, and Michael Stinson—How do video and digital media enhance our learning of languages? Will these communications technologies ever make language learning unnecessary? What does the digital future hold in store for us?
  • Discussion Groups hosted by video and digital media experts
  • At least one Energy Break video session (possibly more)
  • Plans for at least one interactive, educational, and creative Video/ Digital Media Fair at the Electronic Village
  • A blockbuster lineup of creative offerings in Video Theater
  • Plus many other exciting individual sessions and poster events

Watch for the next newsletter for a comprehensive update.

Yours in TESOL,


Donna Tatsuki, EdD, is an associate professor at Kobe City University of Foreign Studies and the former editor of JALT Journal. She and Noel Houck (past chair of ALIS) have recently been selected to coedit a volume on the teaching of pragmatics in the new TESOL Classroom Practice Series. Currently she is publication chair of the JALT Pragmatics Special Interest Group (SIG). She was a founding member of JALT Video SIG, serving for a number of years as deputy chair and chair. She has been a regular contributor to Video Rising, Small Screen, and the TESOL VDMIS Newsletter, the editor of JALT's Video Swap Shop, and guest editor for video-themed special issues of The Language Teacher. Her research interests include intercultural comparisons of complaint behavior, pragmatic corpus analysis, and critical research into film/video use in language teaching.


Articles and Information The EFR Approach to Movies in ESOL

C. Ray Graham, Brigham Young University, and Alan K. Melby, Brigham Young University

It has long been recognized that input plays a crucial role in language acquisition (Gass, 1997; Krashen, 1985). Input provides the modeling by which a second language learner's growing communicative competence evolves. Thus, providing appropriate amounts of comprehensible input to second language learners is one of the most important tasks of second language instruction (Gass, 1997, 2003).

Videos can be particularly useful in helping language teachers perform this task. The visual and social context created by video can be an ideal medium in which to embed models of language use for second language learners. However, there can be large differences in the quality and entertainment value of video. Collentine (1997) has classified videos into two categories, simulated video and authentic video, depending on the purpose for which it was created. She used the term authentic to refer to video that is created primarily for entertainment with an audience of native speakers and simulated to refer to video that is created primarily for pedagogical purposes with an audience of nonnative speakers. Below we examine some of the strengths and weaknesses of the two kinds of video as they are used for language instruction.

Simulated vs. Authentic Video

Most video used in CALL is simulated; it was created primarily to teach specific aspects of the language. One of the primary advantages of this type of video is that it can be created for any level of language instruction. That is, it can be designed to include specific language tasks appropriate for beginning as well as intermediate- or advanced-level learners. Specific vocabulary and structures can be targeted for learning. Learning helps such as written scripts, translations, highlighting, and glossing can be provided along with the video. Another advantage is that it can be integrated easily into the instructional syllabus, whether it be a task-based, grammar-based, or notional-functional syllabus. A final advantage is that it is owned by the developer and can be segmented and incorporated into the instructional materials in any way desired.

At the same time, such videos have certain drawbacks. First of all, high-quality video is very expensive to develop. Second, the scripts are often contrived to teach specific aspects of language and do not represent natural language use. Finally, such videos are often low in entertainment value. Because they were created primarily to teach language, they often do not have a clear storyline or plot.

On the other hand, authentic video is generally high in entertainment value and the language used is more natural and includes a wider range of speech acts. However, such videos are often too complex to be comprehended by any but the more advanced learners. Also, they are much more difficult to incorporate into language teaching syllabi because of their complexity and lack of focus on specific language objectives. The greatest drawback of authentic videos, however, has to do with copyright issues. It is difficult to obtain a derivative work license to incorporate commercially published videos into language instructional materials.

The Electronic Film Review Project

The purpose of the Electronic Film Review (EFR) Project is to produce pedagogical materials for teaching English through the use of extant commercial movies without violating fair use laws. The project is focused on the improvement of listening and vocabulary skills as a complement to the development of other skills taught in regular classes.

The approach builds on a commercial software DVD player from PlayRight Corporation and includes the following five features:

  • Clip-playing: the ability to play user-defined video clips shorter than the scenes predefined on the DVD
  • Supplementary material: a facility for associating supplementary educational material with a video clip (including vocabulary helps, schema-building materials, and comprehension questions). The vocabulary helps, for example, include definitions of the words in the context in which they are used, pictures of many of the words, and example sentences with the words in them. The comprehension questions and section summaries enable the students to check their understanding of the passages.
  • Content alert: a mechanism for alerting instructors and students to potentially offensive material on the DVD that they can choose to avoid playing
  • Playlists: the possibility for a user to define and run a playlist (a sequence of commands such as "play this clip," "mute/unmute the sound," and "blank/unblank" the screen)
  • Tracking: an optional record of student use of the system. This feature is not yet fully developed. It will appear in the next version of the EFR program.

Learning helps in an EFR include schema-building information about the entire movie and about each subsection of the movie, vocabulary helps to assist learners in negotiating difficult words and expressions, comprehension questions for each subsection to enable learners to test their understanding of what is going on in the movie, and subsection synopses that summarize for the learner the storyline in that part of the movie.

When learners log on to the computer and call up the DVD, they can choose various playlists created by the instructor. One type of playlist can enable learners to experience the movie as an aesthetic experience without having to worry about the education purposes of the movie. Various annotations appear as the movie is viewed, but these annotations can be ignored. After watching the entire movie, with subtitles if desired, and hopefully obtaining a big-picture familiarity with the movie, learners can then go back to the beginning and watch the movie again by subsection, using playlists designed for this viewing mode. At the end of instructor-specified subsections, the movie pauses and the learner is presented with questions or requests that the instructor placed in the playlist. After learners have explored the vocabulary helps and tested their comprehension of the story, they push a button to play the next segment.

When learners use the movie in conjunction with class work, the teacher then reviews and discusses the movie with the learners. Learners are also invited to write reaction papers and to share their impressions with fellow students.


The EFR Project (Melby, 2003) is intended to provide a way to take advantage of full-length feature films in language instruction without violating fair use laws. However, this article should not be interpreted as a legal opinion. The EFR system includes an authoring tool that allows an instructional designer to segment a video asset hierarchically and annotate individual segments; a playlist builder, which enables the user to present the segments in any desired order with the appropriate learning helps; and a specialized video player, which enables the user to navigate through the playlist to the next or previous clip or a specific clip accompanied by its learning helps.


Colentine, K. (1997). The effects of authentic and simulated-authentic video materials on the listening comprehension abilities of foreign language learners of Spanish. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, The University of Texas at Austin.
Gass, S. (1997). Input, interaction, and the second language learner . Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Gass, S. (2003). Input and interaction. In C. Doughty & M. Long (Eds.), The handbook of second language acquisition (pp. 224-255). Madsen, MA: Blackwell Publishing.
Krashen. S. (1985). The input hypothesis: Issues and implications. New York: Longman.
Melby, A. (2003). Listening comprehension, laws, and video. In D. W. Coleman, W. J. Sullivan, & A. Lommel (Eds.), LACUS Forum XXIX: Linguistics and the Real World (pp. 135-145). LACUS: Houston.

C. Ray Graham's research/development agenda includes second language acquisition and attrition, computer-assisted language learning, use of speech technology in second language pedagogy, and use of technology in language testing.

Alan K. Melby's research agenda can be summarized as translation, training, and technology. He is engaged in several research activities that apply linguistic theory to practical tasks in translation and training, using technology when appropriate. His training agenda includes promoting the use of customized video playback (CVP), of which the QuickEnglish approach and the EFR approach are special cases; his current focus is on the EFR approach and language services for global events (through LTAC, a nonprofit consortium that he set up). He is also working on standards to support CVP.