Teaching Interview Skills Vital for Adult ESL, University Students

How can English teachers encourage adult and university students to expand their language skills and improve their employment opportunities in a difficult economic climate?

Personally, I’ve slightly modified my oral skills course this semester to provide greater emphasis on interviewing skills. Students interviewed each other for 10-15 minute videotaped mock job interviews for their first assignment.

The use of videotaping students in class has gained far more acceptance in the last few years, partly due to the technological advances. OTAN, the adult education website established by the California Department of Education, even created an entire section devoted to using videotapes and videocameras in the adult ESL classes.

Another factor has been the increasing popularity of YouTube videoclips by students seeking practical information. I’ve combined those two trends by requiring students to find and review YouTube clips on vital employment skills and speaking skills. Students found and reviewed videoclips, and emailed them in as homework. Afterwards, I combined all the student evaluations into a single email that I sent to the entire class with a few editorial comments and minor editing.

Here is the homework sheet for that assignment. As with the reviews, “use or lose.”

Getting Job Interview Advice from YouTube!

Student Name:

Please find an YouTube videoclip that helps people successfully interview for jobs – in English – that you would like to share with your classmates. Watch the video, take notes, and review it for your classmates.

Video title:
Web address:

Please describe the video.

What interview tips did the video provide?

Where do you think the video was produced? Why?

How practical did you find the advice? Why?

What was the strongest part? Why?

What was the weakest part? Why?

Who do think is the target audience for this video?

Why did you choose this video?

How would you rate this video 1-5 stars? Why?

This simple worksheet combines research, critical thinking, and language skills. As English teachers, we can use simple technology to help English language learners develop their language skills, especially when they are motivated to learn and search out new sources. Instead of dismissing YouTube searching as a waste of time, let’s turn their interests into productive learning opportunities and share insights. After all, employment interviews often serve as a real-world language tests for our ESL students.

Let’s make sure we give them the tools to pass those crucial tests.

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One comment

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