You Tube in the ESL Classroom

Iris works with English as a second language students at Moreland adult education

Project goals

To familiarize students with using computers for formal learning activities; to give students practice in accessing and searching for information on web sites, including accessing and searching for multi-media websites/website information; to work with students to learn more about the popular search engine tools Google, UTube and Wikipedia; to work with students on activities that enable them to distinguish among/ evaluate websites and website information according to concerns of reliability and credibility.

Class(es) for which the project has been delivered:

  • Certificates in Spoken & Written English (CSWE)
  • Certificate Level: III
  • VCE Literature
  • Units of Study: Learning Outcomes 1 and 2
  • The VCE Literature class was initially set up/planned to be a VCE ESL Literature class, but students requested this class be changed to a VCE Literature class. The students who attend this class are all ESL learners from non-English Speaking backgrounds and they attend the Friday morning, CSWEIII class, as well as the VCE Literature class.

Organisation: Moreland Adult Education (MAE)

Venue: MAE classroom at Coburg Library (one block north of MAE),
Day/Time of class meeting: Friday, 10:00 am -12:30 pm

About the Learners

Student profile: The CSWE III and VCE Literature class is made up of 8-10 students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds/countries including China, Malta, Poland, Serbia, Somalia and Turkey. All of the students have completed secondary school/year 12. Most of the students also have a post-secondary school degree or qualification and are aged between 45 and 65. The students are interested in improving their speaking and writing skills.

Student feedback

Feedback from the students indicates that they are motivated to improve their English language skills through art and literature texts.

Topics/texts/themes

The focus of the teaching/learning material chosen for the project - art and literature - was based on student/client feedback. The teacher chose to focus on Australian art and literature in particular, and began with Aboriginal-Australian art and literature and the social, political and cultural contexts for this art and literature.

Lesson plan for lesson delivery of project

Term 3 : Discussion/analysis of the term “Reconciliation” (and the terms “Integration” and “Assimilation”) and Kevin Rudd’s/The Australian Government’s official “Apology” to Aboriginal-Australians. Google Search for Kevin Rudd’s speech.

  • Supplementary readings/texts: Printed version of Rudd’s speech, The Age; a DVD version of Rudd’s speech.
  • Google search of Australian Citizenship book, Department of Immigration and Citizenship. “Becoming an Australian Citizen” pdf file
  • http://www.citizenship.gov.au/test/resource-booklet/citz-booklet-full-ver.pdf.
  • Discussion of population statistics of Australia based on country of origin, including population statistics of Indigenous Australians and a brief history of first Australians; Australia’s official national anthem: Advance Australia Fair.

Term 4

Discussion of “Waltzing Matilda.” UTube search for recorded versions of Australia’s unofficial national anthem, including “Waltzing Matilda With Some Wallaby Pics”.


A comparative reading of the words to Australia’s official and unofficial national anthems, focusing on the Aboriginal-Australian content in the latter.

Supplementary texts/readings:

  • www.nla.gov.au/epubs/waltzingmatilda; National Library of Australia;
  • pdf document: manuscript of musical score composed by A. C. (“Banjo”) Paterson;
  • history of the origins of the song and history of union strikes;
  • short story by Henry Lawson, The Union Buries Its Dead.
  • The Oxford Book of Australian Short Stories. Selected by Michael Wilding. Oxford University Press, 1995 (c. 1994). 27-30;
  • Paterson, A. B. “Waltzing Matilda.” Classic Australian Verse. Collected by Maggie Pinkney. Roweville, Victoria: The Five Mile Press, 2001 (rpt. 2007). 269-270.

Additional Tasks

Identifying and discussing words in the text of “Waltzing Matilda” that reflect the impact/influence of Aboriginal-Australian identity/culture on AngloEuropean-Australian identity, i.e., the allusions to and associations/meanings of “coolibah tree” and “billabong.” Discussion of this song in the context of the shearers’ union strike in the 19th century and Lawson’s short story The Union Buries Its Dead.

  • Google search of William Barak
  • Visit to Wikipedia website:
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barak, aborigine
  • Visit to Catholic Education Office website:
  • “A Wurundjeri story” link from Yarra Healing, Kulin Nation, Woiwurrung,
  • www.yarrahealing.melb.catholic.edu.au/kulin/w_story.html
  • Visit to National Gallery of Victoria website: “Australian painting education kit: William Barak/Wurundjeri c. 1824-1903”
  • www.ngv.vic.gov.au/collection/australian/painting/b/barak w/education_kit.htm
  • Supplemental texts/readings:
  • Heiss, Anita and Peter Minter, eds. Macquarie Pen Anthology of Aboriginal Literature. Macquarie University; Crows News, NSW: Allen & Unwin, 2008.
  • Department for Victorian Communities, Victorian Government. William Barak. Bridge builder of the Kulin. Foreword by Prof. Joy Wandin Murphy, great, great niece of Beruk.
  • Department of Sustainability & Environment (DSE), Victoria. Indigenous Cultural Awareness Training (ICAP). All-iN Productions Pty Ltd.; website address: allinproductions@optusnet.com.au
  • Google and UTube search for United States President elect Barak Obama’s November 2008 Federal election acceptance speech, including a video recording of a performance by the musician Seal that incorporates Obama’s acceptance speech. Discussion of this in the context of Australia’s history of the Aboriginal-Australians’ struggle for recognition and acceptance.
  • “Seal Obama Mashup," "Seal A Change is Gonna Come with Obama Acceptance Speech/skeeterou November 10, 2008”
  • http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=LA6ByDpgdBc
  • Website-based activity towards / in preparation for an excursion to the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) /Ian Potter Centre @ Federation Square. E-tour/website tour of the permanent Indigenous Australian collection on the ground floor; tour of the current exhibition of Australian Batik art on the second floor (Myer Fashion and Textiles Gallery, Level 2).
  • Supplemental texts/readings:
  • National Gallery of Victoria. “Across the desert: Aboriginal Batik from Central Australia.” NGV Schools//Term Four Update 08 (brochure). pp. 8-9.
  • Search of website published articles on Aboriginal-Australian writer Oodgeroo Noonuccal.
  • Supplemental text/readings:
  • Wright, Alexis. “Rebel Voice.” The Age, “Features”, A2 Culture and Life, 15 November 2006. pp. 12-13.

Evaluation of Project:

The initial aims of the project were to teach some basic audio-visual technology skills that would allow the students to create their own audio or audiovisual digital texts. In response to early client/student feedback on the project, these project goals were revised.

The project focused instead on familiarising students with computers and the Internet – using computers and accessing the Internet – with the longer term goal of giving students an opportunity to create electronic/digital files of their own. Most of the students had very little experience using computers for formal learning purposes and wanted some initial instruction/class time to learn more about using computers and Internet for research/study purposes.


Further/ future project goals:

To involve students in creating a digital document of their own (an email message, a Powerpoint presentation); to introduce students to producing audiovisual digital documents of their own.