Stephanie Williams on adverts to stimulate speaking

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Stephanie began by pointing out why video adverts are a fabulous resource in the ELT classroom: they're short; adaptable to different levels; authentic; relevant to most student's worlds; offer visual support; context rooted and catchy and motivating by design. A compelling list of attributes.

The body of Stephanie's interactive workshop involved us viewing a selected advert and then doing an exercise based on it. She divided these practical activities into two sections: 1. CLIL content focus and 2. ELT language focus.

For me, the highlight of the first section was what she called the FATP organizer, where the acronym stands for Form, Audience, Topic and Purpose. Students would watch the advert and analyse it for those features, thus indirectly building up their critical skills. As an advert-hater, I feel like encouraging students to psych them out rather than follow them blindly is the best use we can make of them!

The second section included adverts which were particularly language rich, either potentially, in describing the images, or explicitly, in the actual verbiage of the jingle or voiceover. One particularly rich source were the Weetabix adverts featuring multiple re-versionings of the song "I will survive" - see one of them here.

On a practical note, we were advised to keep in mind that if our classrooms do not have live internet coverage, we would need to download the videos beforehand, perhaps with a tool such as Atube catcher.

On our map of ELT, I would locate this talk in the South East, since its focus was principally on classroom tools/means.



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