On Teaching Speaking: 4 Benefits of Flipgrid Video Recording

This TESOL Blog series focuses on teaching speaking to English learners.
In this TESOL Blog series, Julie Vorholt, editor of New Ways in Teaching Speaking, Second Edition, interviews contributors to the volume and gets some tips from them on teaching speaking to ELs. See Part 1 here.

Flipgrid is trending, with students in more than 180 countries using it (Taralson, 2018)! Flipgrid is a video discussion platform that allows students to record themselves on video and watch and respond to classmates. Each class has its own account, which may be open or locked.

When I was reviewing submissions for the newly released New Ways in Teaching Speaking, Second Edition, I learned about Flipgrid from a contribution by Laura Giacomini (see her bio at the end of this post). It was exciting to receive so many submissions (over 200!) from English language teaching professionals all over the world, such as Laura who lives in Argentina. Her activity centers on video recording as a convenient, constructive assessment tool which could be used in a myriad of ways with learners of all proficiency levels.

Laura’s activity aims to increase fluency, increase engagement using technological tools, and promote autonomy and self-evaluation skills. Although she focuses on Flipgrid, she explains that the students’ videos can be uploaded to Moodle or another platform. So here I would like to share with you 4 benefits of video recording intrinsic to Laura’s activity and then introduce you to her.

Four Benefits of Flipgrid Video Recording

1. It is convenient and flexible for teachers to use for assessment.

Because the speaking is recorded on video, you can decide when and how to assess your students’ speaking. Complete your assessment outside of class or during class and rewatch the video numerous times to focus on specific aspects of students’ speaking.

2. It supports self-assessment and reflection for students.

Video recording includes students in their learning process by allowing them to view their recording and identify their speaking strengths and areas to improve. This can lead to improved skills (Dyer, 2015).

3. It improves the digital literacy skills of students.

Students should learn how to produce online content and use online tools to engage in collaborative work, according to Media Centre (n.d.). The ubiquitous usage of videos has surged, showing the practicality of this skill.

4. It motivates students to speak.

Most students enjoy recording their speaking, listening to their classmates, and responding. As Laura wrote in her lesson plan activity, “In the era of digital storytelling, students are used to recording and posting short, personal videos on the internet. Consequently, recording themselves while doing a speaking task will come naturally to learners.”

About Laura Giacomini, Our Featured Contributor

Laura Giacomini

Laura teaches EFL in Buenos Aires, Argentina, her home country, to students in Grade 6. I interviewed Laura online to learn more about her, her work as an English language teaching professional, and her experience in writing for New Ways in Teaching Speaking, Second Edition.

Inspiration: Writing “Video Recording on Flipgrid”

As a teacher of English with over twenty students in each of my classes, I have always wondered how to assess students’ speaking skills more successfully and efficiently. In addition, I wanted to revamp any speaking task that appeared in books or websites and applying technology while doing this really appealed to my students. Around 3 years ago, I asked my eighth graders to do a role-play activity in pairs and record themselves with their cell phones. Then, I listened to each recording, paused whenever I needed to, and repeated any part I wanted to listen to again. This gave me the chance to provide very detailed feedback and start and finish the speaking task on the same day. When I learned about the use of Flipgrid and how students loved using it in class, I thought it was a perfect option for this way of tackling speaking in English language teaching.

Current Professional Work and/or Projects

School is over in Argentina now and we are beginning to enjoy our summer break. Next year, I will continue teaching the sixth grade and apply for a job in higher education. I want to go back to teaching future educators because I feel passionate about it. In February 2019, I will be giving a 3-hour workshop at ESSARP (The English Speaking Scholastic Association of the River Plate) and I will be presenting at the TESOL 2019 International Convention and English Language Expo in March. I am SO looking forward to both events! Next year, I will also be starting my master’s degree in education administration, so I am pretty excited about this new project and ready to take on any challenge that may come with it. Finally, I definitely want to continue collaborating with great authors like Julie Vorholt and other prestigious publishing houses because it implies professional and personal growth.

Teaching Speaking Tip: For New Teachers

I remember one thing I learned from one of my teachers many years ago. While listening to us, she used to write her feedback on Post-it notes and give them to us. Not only would she write the mistakes we had made, but also the things she would praise from our performance. Thank you, Mariela Enrici, for teaching me that among other things! It has helped me grow when I was a student and my learners have definitely profited from this way of giving feedback, too.

Teaching Speaking Tip: For Veteran Teachers

I would tell veteran teachers about the above-shared tip and the advantages of using technology when teaching speaking. There are so many great resources to aid TEFL and TESOL nowadays!

Laura Giacomini prepares to present at the Penn-TESOL East Fall Conference.

Favorite Blog, Book, App, or Other Resource

The ones I use the most are Kahoot! and GoNoodle. I have also found Google Forms really useful to gather students’ opinions and plan my lessons according to their needs. ReadWorks is a really valuable resource that we can use with students K–12 which can definitely aid dyslexic learners as well because of the audio option. Quizlet has also proven to be successful to consolidate, revise, and assess any content taught in class.

Perspective on Teaching Speaking: Changes Over the Years

I have understood that many people find speaking English in front of others embarrassing or even tortuous. Therefore, I have learned to be more flexible and to give students more time to answer. We know how teachers get anxious and love to complete students’ sentences if they take too long to come up with a response. In addition, I have understood that while I have to encourage student-talking-time, I also have to give them time and space to feel confident and motivated to speak. That is, we cannot force students to speak in our classes. We have to wait patiently for them to be ready to contribute and really praise them for that.

Free Time

Apart from taking Zumba lessons and going for a walk or run, I love to investigate new technological tools or teaching practices that I can introduce in my lessons to keep my students motivated to learn the language and make learning as meaningful and fun as possible.


If you have any comments and/or questions, please share! Have you used Flipgrid in your classroom? What activities worked well with your students?

You can connect with Julie via LinkedIn
You can find Laura on Twitter at @LauEGiOK or on Linkedin

References and Further Reading

Dyer, K. (2015, July 21). The importance of student self assessment. Retrieved from https://www.nwea.org/blog/2015/the-importance-of-student-self-assessment/

MediaSmarts. (n.d.). Digital literacy fundamentals. Retrieved from http://mediasmarts.ca/digital-media-literacy/general-information/digital-media-literacy-fundamentals/digital-literacy-fundamentals

Taralson, J. (2018, June 18). Flipgrid’s next chapter. Retrieved from http://blog.flipgrid.com/news/bettertogether

Laura Giacomini graduated with a teaching degree from IES en Lenguas Vivas “Juán Ramón Fernández” and is a recipient of the 2019 TESOL Betty Azar Travel Grant for Practicing ESL/EFL Teachers. She is currently working toward her “Licenciatura” degree in English literature at the Universidad Nacional del Litoral. Laura has been teaching English since 2005 and is experienced in the primary, secondary, and college levels; she is currently teaching the 6th grade at Florida Day School.


About the Next Blog in This Series

In my next “On Teaching Speaking” blog post, meet contributor Kia Dennis from the Georgetown Law Center in Washington, DC. She wrote an activity about practicing the skills needed to successfully make presentations or communicate in academic settings. Kia’s activity, “Discussion and Facilitation: Leading a Presentation,” may be used with learners at advanced proficiency levels to increase fluency, share and disagree/support an opinion, and practice presentation skills.

About Julie Vorholt

Julie Vorholt
Julie Vorholt is the editor for New Ways in Teaching Speaking (2nd edition). She has taught ESL and English to learners of all ages and trained language teachers in the USA and internationally for more than 20 years. She has edited and written a variety of pedagogical materials in both print and online formats to support teaching and learning in speaking, listening, and writing. Julie is active in TESOL International Association as a presenter, a past chair of the Materials Writers Interest Section, and a past member of the Awards Committee. She currently teaches ESL in the intensive English program at Lewis & Clark College.
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