I was about 50 weeks pregnant when I realised how AMAZING it is that we have access to video players in the classroom. Before this, I confess I thought that teachers who played videos in class were lazy.

mind blowing
Mind blown. You can watch videos in class guilt-free!

BUT, now I know better. You can watch videos in class without the guilt. Find out 4 guilt-free reasons to watch videos in class: get ready to dim the lights, crank the volume, and press play.

Flipped classroom

One reason to watch videos in class (or as part of homework) is as part of a flipped classroom strategy. A flipped classroom is when you get students to do the ‘content’ part of a lesson at home and then work on the ‘skills’ part of the lesson in class.

Now, I say ‘flipped classroom’, but if you have long lessons like I used to (70 minutes), you might dedicate lesson time to learning ‘content’ quickly via video. This enables you to focus on student while they are building and refining skills.

Flipped classrooms are also great for peer-to-peer learning as they allow students to discuss what they have seen, relate experiences they have had or ask questions. There is also some evidence to suggest that flipped classrooms promote deeper learning and higher-order thinking skills.

If you have short lessons, getting students to watch a short video for homework is not a huge burden for them, and it means that they can do all the good stuff (mentioned above) in the classroom.

Individual attention helps students improve skills such as formulating hypothesis, creating investigation questions, researching topics, writing paragraphs and essays, and editing work.

Using flipped classrooms, students can use the valuable time when that they have access to you by getting help.  And if you are anything like me, you’d prefer them to get help in class instead of emailing you a draft three hours before it’s due and expecting feedback!

Introducing topics

Red apple on a blue background with white 'cc'

Another guilt-free reason to watch videos in class is to introduce topics. Some videos are great at covering a broad topic and giving a general understanding of it without delving too deeply. 

One such series that springs to mind are the CrashCourse videos.  The history, study skills, and literature videos excel at giving a broad overview of topics with enough detail to highlight ideas, but not enough to overwhelm.  They are a great way to get students excited about a topic, and the irreverent humor of John Green can give you a giggle when you need it most.

(Bonus: we have a bunch of no-prep visual note-taking worksheets to use with these videos. Check out our TPT store to take a look.)

To engage visual learners

Visual learners use colour, shape, diagrams and images to learn.  They may find it difficult to pay attention to you speaking at the front of the room (especially on a Friday afternoon, am I right?).

But they may be able to focus on a video with engaging graphics, cartoons and images. I especially find videos an effective way to get students immediately engaged during lessons where they would usually have low motivation – before the weekend, last lesson of the day, the last day of term etc.

To take a breather

Teaching is full of administrivia – (ahem) silly administrative tasks that consume your valuable time.

Think of all the attendance marking, homework checking, form filling, report writing, email writing, and phone calling you do daily.  And none of it prepares you to face down those horrible Grade 9 boys in the last period on Friday!

Throwing on a quick video at the start of class can help – an on-topic video can quickly get your class in the door, engaged, listening and on-task. 

That gives you some time to take attendance, check homework, and maybe take a sip of your ice-cold coffee.

So, now you know you are not a lazy teacher, which videos are fun, fast-paced, and great with on-topic content?

Great sites for video content?

  • CrashCourse has great videos for literature, history and study skills (and that’s just for English and Humanities teachers). They also cater for science, maths, film studies etc etc etc.
  • Khan Academy has videos for grammar, as well as history life skills

Still interested?

Looking for more ways to engage your students? Check out our other blog posts below.

Movie scene board with text 4 guilt-free reasons to watch videos in class