I didn’t watch the Super Bowl last night, but I was excited to see the lists of the best commercials online today. There are two commercials in particular that I think will work well in my ESL classes, and I’m planning on using them tomorrow.
I’m going to use both videos as a MovieTalk. MovieTalk is a technique developed by Ashley Hastings in which the teacher plays a video and pauses it frequently to narrate and/or paraphrase what’s happening. Although these videos would be quite difficult for students to understand on their own, the teacher makes the language comprehensible by speaking slowly and simplifying the vocabulary so students can understand it. Martina Bex has a more detailed explanation of MovieTalk here. One of the great things about MovieTalk is that it can be used with students of any level—the teacher just modifies the language they use depending on the students’ level. I’m planning on using these videos with both my Level 2 and Level 4 students; the two classes will watch the same videos, but I’ll use higher-level language with the higher-level students.
Watching these commercials is also a good way to teach your students a little bit about the American tradition of watching the Super Bowl. Your students might be interested to know that NBC charged $5 billion for each 30-second commercial.
Now, the videos:
This M&M commercial is funny, and the language used is fairly simple. However, the rate of speech is pretty fast, so I’m going to pause the video very frequently. I’ll probably pause after each sentence to re-state it for my students more slowly. If there are any new words or phrases, I’ll write them on the board and explain it. I’m also going to use this ad to talk about the superstition of pennies on the ground as a sign of good luck. I’ll ask my students if they have the same superstition in their home culture and whether they think pennies really do bring good luck.
This Toyota ad features Lauren Woolstencroft, who has won 8 Paralympic gold medals. I like the message, and there is very little language in the ad itself, so it’s easy for the teacher to use whatever level of language they need to.
This ad for avocados from Mexico might also be fun. I don’t think I’ll use it in my classes, but your students might enjoy it, especially if they love avocados!