The Video Method: Empowering and Controlling Learning Environments in a Predominantly ESL (English as a second Language) Classroom

Hendrik Wolff

Grant program: Teaching and Learning Development Grant (TLDG)

Grant recipient: Hendrik Wolff, Department of Economics

Project team: Torben Jensen, research assistant

Timeframe: October 2016 to April 2017   

Funding: $5,000  

Course addressed: ECON 460 – Environmental Economics

Final report: View Hendrik Wolff's final report (PDF)

Description: For my project, I would like to introduce a video method to help students develop presentation skills. Presentations are an essential part of any seminar class. Many of my students are challenged by poor presentation skills and as a result do not want to present in front of the class. Ultimately, these students will enter the job market and need to convince an employer that they can add value to the organization. Students who cannot present well will have a difficult time finding a job.

Torben Jensen

Using a video method, instead of a seminar presentation, students will prepare video presentations to be viewed in class. Students would then be in control of their own performance and their ability to understand, organize, and present complex material would be strengthened. Overall my hope is to improve student performance, building an inclusive culture in which each class member can contribute based upon his/her unique strengths while creating instructive videos and having fun.

Questions addressed:

  • Does the use of video presentation enhance classroom discussion?
  • Has students’ willingness to apply for a job in an English speaking country improved over the course of the semester?
  • Does working in teams on a video presentation improve collaboration among class members?
  • Do students develop friendships among others in the class?
  • Does the use of video presentations in class build students’ confidence in their ability to express themselves and deliver presentations about complex topics?
  • Does the use of video presentations in class improve students’ learning and understanding of the material presented?

Knowledge sharing: The report will be made available in writing and a brown bag seminar with a Q&A session will be held to present the report.

Keywords: video presentations, discussion, survey, classroom observation, English language learners, final exam, collaboration, economics learning