Taking a risk and trying to speak a second language is a challenge for most people. For teenagers who are worried about what their peers think of them, the challenge is even greater. With practice and a little in-class encouragement from teachers, most students end up communicating in the second language and get better at it. But some remain shy and it is sometimes difficult for a second language teacher to reach out those students. I have been using Recap in my English as a second language classroom for the last two years at the high school level. Using this video response system has allowed me to reach out to those students I rarely hear from in class. I have seen those students grow as second language learners. The comments section under each individual video response has allowed me to encourage students and give them tips on how to increase their fluency. Some students who rarely spoke out in class or during group discussions have revealed themselves great communicators who were just too scared to speak out in front of their peers. Others who struggled benefited from the extra speaking practice and improved both in video responses and in class through group discussions as they confidence improved.
Knowing that the videos are private between the teacher and the students has reassured my students and allowed for a lot of them to take risks they would not normally take in class. It has allowed me to hear those quiet students and create bonding opportunities I never would have had before as an ESL teacher. Finding out those quiet and shy student’s interests and opinions has allowed me to bring the discussion back to the classroom and reach out to them in a way I have never been able to before. Reaching out to shy and quiet students is difficult for most teachers and reaching out to students in a language they are still not fully comfortable with is an even greater challenge. That is why I absolutely adore using Recap!
Alexandra Coutlée is an ESL specialist who has been teaching for over 10 years. She teaches at the high school level in Quebec, Canada. The majority of her students are French speaking students who are learning English as a second language. She has authored and co-authored many educational publications that are currently being used in Quebec schools and is very active in her ESL community. She is currently completing a masters in educational technology and is always looking for ways to integrate technology in her classroom.