Television and radio programmes broadcast in the UK offer educators a rich and diverse source of material to support their resource banks and enhance the learning experience for students.
When you think of the types of broadcast material you might use in the classroom, your first thought might be of the incredibly useful documentaries and drama adaptations of literary classics or historical events. But sometimes a far less obvious source can provide a perfect clip and become a great resource.
Here are some examples of how programmes, that you might be very familiar with, can be used in the classroom in innovative ways:
- In a vocational training course, clips of Eastenders featuring scenes in the hairdressers could be compiled to stimulate a discussion on good/bad customer service standards.
- A Science teacher could use a clip from The Big Bang Theory to illustrate a science lesson. This popular US comedy broadcast on Channel 4 is script edited by David Saltzberg, a Princeton Physics graduate who ensures that scientific references in the show are accurate. (The show is sometimes credited with being behind a rise in the number of students opting to study Physics at A-Level!)
- Topically, The Simpsons episode "Much Apu About Nothing" could be used to start discussions on political engagement and the danger of reactionary politics.
- Dragon's Den has been used for projects not just involving Business Studies students, but Media Studies students too. In one school, students were told that they were going to face a panel of local 'Dragons' and that they had a month to prepare their presentations. Clips from the programmes showed them how a lack of preparation drew caustic comments and ignominious rejection from the Dragons.
- Horrible Histories sketches, broadcast on CBBC, are a favourite with teachers who use them not only as a springboard for teaching history, but to inspire children in performing arts, music and even maths and sciences.
Some of the best of these programmes are available on free-to-air services in the UK and are just waiting to be used in your classroom.
Using broadcast content in the classroom is made simple by the ERA licensing scheme. Our licence provides a single point of clearance for all rights necessary for schools to create and use resources obtained from broadcasts whether on radio or television.
Licences are renewed annually and State schools in the UK are covered either by a central licence via the DfE or by blanket licence arrangements with Local Authorities. Independent schools and FE Colleges are all licensed individually. Money collected from the licensing scheme is all distributed back to ERA's Members (including broadcasters, creators and performers), enabling them to continue creating fantastic audio visual resources. For more information on the ERA licence please visit our website www.era.org.uk. You can also find more great case studies on the innovative and inspiring ways teachers use television and radio to enhance lessons and improve learning outcomes on the website.
If you use broadcast material in a creative and interesting way or have a favourite programme you like to incorporate into a lesson, why not leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you directly on the innovative ways you've used broadcast resources in the classroom, so please get in touch, and your case study might feature on the resources section of our website.
About the Author
The Educational Recording Agency represents 21 Member organisations from across the creative sector including UK broadcasters. The ERA licensing scheme supports educational establishments in the UK by enabling them to make copies of broadcasts from radio or television for educational use. The licence also enables access to online or on-demand services. Alyson Maclaren is ERA's Licensing & Information Manager and describes here just some of the innovative ways televsion & radio programmes can be used to inspire students and improve learning outcomes.