Teacher Feature: Hilda Smolash (EMSB, Marymount)

Teacher: Hilda Smolash (CCBE, English Literacy)

School Board and Centre: English Montreal School Board, Marymount Adult Centre, in Montreal, Quebec in conjunction with the RECIT FGA Regional Service.

What is the project? Hilda’s video project aimed to help literacy level (ESL) students improve their communication and writing competencies through the production of short video skits, based on real-life situations.

How did it work? In the first class, Hilda’s students were placed into groups and each group was asked to recreate a real-life situation in which they wanted to improve their spoken English. The situation had to include an exit strategy (an ending). Hilda reported that the initial part of the activity sparked lots of animated discussion as the groups had to reach a consensus. The following class, each group practiced their skits, but without written lines – they had to improvise the words just as they would need to do outside of the classroom. Next, they filmed their skits. With some assistance from Hilda, students were then asked to summarize the main parts of their skits by writing short captions in the third person narrative. In the last class, the students acted as “directors” and worked with Avi to incorporate their written captions into their video skits. Avi took care of the video editing so the students could continue to focus strictly on language learning, not on the video making process.

Are you interested? If you’re an FGA teacher who would like to develop a similar activity in your English or FSL class, please let me know. We can provide pedagogical support and technical guidance, along with equipment.

Video: To see an in-class video (2 minutes) demonstrating Hilda’s project, click the play button below.. Also don’t forget to check out the official press release!

0 thoughts on “Teacher Feature: Hilda Smolash (EMSB, Marymount)

  1. One the greatest gains for students in terms of language acquisition that I have seen using video, is in the realm of self-awareness. I have used recording of presentations based on writing exercises as the basis of a transcription exercises. Students go through the writing process, they practice in small groups, they give their presentation in front of a camera (3 minutes), they listen/view themselves on a screen individually and transcribe exactly what they said. It was a remarkable exercise in awareness and meta-cognition. Students identified where they were not clear–content or pronunciation.

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