Using YouTube


MEC Training Manager, Mike Green, writes:

Few people can still be unaware of YouTube. You may well have used it already with your own classes.

This vast database of video clips is growing all the time and – used carefully – can provide loads of opportunities for authentic language practice and classroom discussion.

Below are a number of our own favourite YouTube clips and some suggested ways of exploiting them with your learners. As part of a blended multi-media lesson you could, of course, use a video clip as a lead-in or a follow-up to related resources done on MEC, whether on a particular topic or to practise a specific language point.

Use these or experiment with your own and see what you come up with!


(You can also find this by typing kruger park into the YouTube search)

This incredible piece of film, shot by a tourist on safari, is about eight and a half minutes long and has already been viewed nearly 16 million times!

  • Prediction: You could play it to your learners and pause it periodically, getting them to predict what happens next.
  • Writing: Learners could write a summary of what happens from the point of view of the tourist, or even one of the animals! See also the suggested GRU below for practice on ways of sequencing a story.
  • Discussion: Are safaris cruel? Should the tourists or park rangers have intervened to help the buffalo?
  • Some related MEC resources:
    Grammar Reference Unit (GRU): Connectors: sequencing
    News item: Animal attacks on humans increase (all levels)
    Web project: London Zoo (level 2)

    For other resources, type animal* into the word and phrase search on MEC.

The game park website is:

2. Noah takes a photo of himself every day for 6 years

A strangely moving film of a guy who grows older before our eyes.

  •  Discussion:  What kind of person is Noah? Why has he done this? How else do we change as we grow older (attitudes, skills, relationships, etc)?
  •  Some related MEC resources:
    Listening Activity: Describing people (level 4)
    Vocabulary Activity: What kind of people are they? (level 1)

For a bit of fun, you could even get the learners to download some morphing software. The website for example has some software they can download. Get them to see how they might look with longer hair, bigger eyes, etc.

3. Vova and Olga’s team act rehearsal

World-beating brother and sister team of Russian jugglers during one of their incredible practice warm-ups. There are lots of videos of these two on YouTube!

  • Discussion: Ask if any of your learners can juggle? (You might like to bring in some juggling balls and get someone to demonstrate!) How hard do your learners think it is to do what the Russian jugglers do? Are some people naturally gifted at certain things or is it just practice?
  •  Writing:
    1. Get your learners to think of a sport or activity they like and are good at. How is it played? How would they go about explaining it to a complete beginner?
    2. Vova and Olga emigrated from Russia to the US in 2003. Get your learners to imagine they have moved to another country. Ask them to write about thier experiences and what they would miss about their home town.
  • Some related MEC resources:
    News Item: Africa suffering brain drain (all levels)
    Listening Activity: The schoolgirl millionaire (level 6)
    Listening Activity: In another country (level 2)

4. Where the hell is Matt?


Excuse the title, but this is an entertaining little film by a guy who (really!) travels the world, doing the same little dance everywhere he goes.  

  • Eliciting: You could cover up the locations at the bottom of the screen (with Word or Notepad) as you play the film. Learners then have to see if they recognise the locations and/or guess where Matt is as they watch.
  • Discussion: Ask your learners whether they have been to any of the locations in the film? Which ones would they (not) like to go to? Why?
  • Speaking/writing:  Ask your learners to imagine they have a month off and unlimited money. In pairs or groups, ask them to plan their dream itinerary and then present it to the class, explaining their choices.
  • Some related MEC resources:
    Vocabulary Activity: Travel around the world (level 4)
    Language Exercise: A holiday in Rio (level 3)

    Type travel into the word and phrase search on MEC to find lots of other resources.

There are some other links on ways of using YouTube and video on class, which you may find useful here, here, here and here.

Have you used YouTube or other types of video in class? How did you use them?


  • What i find difficult is to find a blog that can capture me for a minute but you definitely add value. Bravo.

    Posted by Constance Glander on January 17th 2011

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