Video Week or Video Hell?

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Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit in 2010, and today, he is one of the 'most followed educators'on social media in the world. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the '500 Most Influential People in Britain' by The Sunday Times as a result of...
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What are your views on ‘video week’?

There is an end of term tradition being challenged in schools; where classrooms may have once been filled with end of term fun, they are being replaced with ‘business as usual’ to help minimise disruption and keep ‘student progress’ working to the optimum.

So, here I pose a conundrum to you in your classroom and to you working in your school.

To Video or Not To Video?

Do you remember watching video after video in lessons as a child in school?

I do.

Do you remember moving from lesson to lesson in the last week of term, watching video after video?

I do.

Have you ever observed students bringing in their favourite DVD to school? Only to ask;

“Sir/Miss, can we watch Spiderman 3?”

And then tell you the exact point in the movie timeline, the exact second from when they last stopped the film in period 1?

I have.

Have you heard students complain;

“Sir, what’s the point of coming into school, if all we are going to do is watch videos?”

I have.

As a teacher, as a head of department and as a senior leader, you may recognise ‘video week’ as common-place practice. In some schools, there is likely to be an influx of YouTube clips, films and documentaries in the last week of term. Of course, course such as drama, media, English and others may require curriculum content to be shown in lessons. I accept this and you will too. This blog is about blockbuster movies being shown in lesson after lesson just for the sake of it.

shutterstock_111615203 Man With Television Head, Indoor

Image: Shutterstock

 So, why do teachers default to ‘video mode’ in the last week of term?  Why do it or why remove it? What do you think?

Here are some suggestions and please do add your own views in the comments below.


  • End of term reward for students’ hard work
  • Opportunity for content to support the curriculum
  • Learn information far beyond the realms of the classroom, or by teacher alone
  • Reduce stress upon staff to deliver lesson plans up until the last hour of term
  • Give students the time to relax and recuperate; well-being etc
  • and more …


  • A break in routine contributes to low level behaviour
  • Curriculum time is sacrificed
  • Students become bored with subjects and associate video content to subject
  • Time throughout the day is wasted; why should students come to school to watch videos all day?
  • Colleagues become frustrated when they are undermined.
  • School expectations are not met
  • Parents become frustrated
  • and more …


  1. Would you show videos in your classroom as a teacher?
  2. What would your views be as a head of department, if video content was displayed in your department, all day, every lesson. For 5 school days?
  3. And what would be your view as a head of year? If content in lessons led to a break in routine = poor behaviour = and avoidable workload and exclusions.
  4. As a parent? How would you feel if targets and learning was needed, yet your child was watching videos all week? Would you be bothered?
  5. As a student? How would you feel if – after the initial excitement – faced a week of videos in all of your lessons?
  6. As a school leader? Seeing the break in routine was needed, but perhaps undermined the staff and students who wanted to work; to meet coursework deadlines; exam revision and meet curriculum plans? And/Or/If the lack of rigour in lessons led to a ‘holiday-feel’ about school which gradually led to poor classroom, corridor and playground behaviour?

Students have enough opportunity to waste time during the holidays; to relax and watch videos on their own. Students don’t need precious curriculum time wasted.

What would you do?

Me? I’d throw ‘video week’ into the bin …

shutterstock_252490618 An old broken TV left on the street.

Image: Shutterstock


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15 thoughts on “Video Week or Video Hell?

  1. I go business as usual and factor in Xmas within my usual timetable. Literacy we look at ’twas the night before Christmas. Fun a Santa grotto in maths and work out the profit margins. We are already tired by this time of year. Routine will help keep us motivated. I’m convinced the children enjoy it too.

  2. Hi Ross, I think the last week is an excellent time to do more creative lessons. Get pupils to work in pairs to make exam papers styled on what they have been learning over the term. Or do an enquiry such as; what would a stone age Christmas looked like. I only appreciated the disruption video week, when I become a middle, the senior leader. Before that I’m afraid to say I was Mr Historical video!!
    Love the blog idea.

  3. I have just finished my last week of term and I did show a video or two which were part of my SOL anyway, assessments took place and a number of consolidation quizzes including revision Jenga, blockbusters and a sociology advent calender quiz. But as I user these activities throughout the year not just at the end of term I guess it was business as usual.

  4. Hi Ross…I get as involved with Christmas as lessons allow. We have a catch up /tidy up lesson where the kids sort out files, glue in loose bits of paper and pick up and DiRT that’s outstanding BUT I do play a video of a Christmas scene or fireplace wirh carols playing on the IWB. I get fed up of kids coming in for days and days moaning that I’m not watching movies. The lady day of term is videos. This year it’s a Christmas Carol by Dickens…I am as ever the English Teacher.

  5. I had a mini-epiphany this week. We are a tough school, and I am a newbie teacher (2nd year). One year group in particular are notorious as being harder than the other hard year groups, and I have them last lesson on a Friday. A fortnight ago, all of the department bar me and one other were out (training, illness, trip) and it was mayhem. The fortnight before we were just coming out of an assessment week… on a non-uniform day… with a hail storm. Carnage. And yesterday, the rest of the department all decided to do Christmas-themed things that, while on-subject were really end-of-term crowd pleasers. In a brief period of masochism I decided that while elsewhere in the department there was colouring of relevant pictures or production of paper chains with topical questions on them, in my room we would be sitting in quiet doing written work. (There is not a lot of written work in my subject most of the time). And you know what? I worked hard for an hour, keeping everybody on task, but I also got some of the best work I’ve had from that class since school started.

    This is not to say that I will not be putting on a video in a week’s time, for the 2 hours “teaching” I am supposed to do before our end of year assembly. But it has certainly given me some confidence that the kids want the routine to continue and that it is worth my while to carry on trying to teach until close of day on Thursday. My kids want to know who is in charge, and actually apparently relax a bit when they realise it’s me!

  6. With you all the way – in the bin for me too. Video-fest also makes a mockery of term time holidays – hard to refuse requests if the world knows learning has been abandoned. Just need caveat that banning videos doesn’t get replaced by mindless worksheets!

  7. No videos on my watch! Clips to support- business as usual! Fortnightly lessons means no spare curriculum time *bah humbug!

  8. Personally, I would opt for a “win-win” kind of situation. I don’t agree with the idea of a Video-week — far too many films to be watched during that time; and as you say the students have plenty of time to watch films during their holidays. However, a Video-day could be a nice alternative….on the very last day of school to help the students wind-down before going on break.

    During the last week (up until Video-day); I would opt for “business as usual” but with more of a creative spin on things; and a more relaxed attitude to the curriculum; e.g. group work; creative lessons; making things etc.

  9. Lets take the fun out of education altogether. I can remember being in school and absolutely loving the end of term as it was a wind down but most importantly, it was fun. Even if it wasn’t Christmas movies it was quizzes or just something to help make us feel festive. Now we are warned that we need to be teaching proper lessons right up to the end of term and even have SLT randomly arrive into lessons (which I might add doesn’t happen at other times of the year when it would be much more beneficial).
    When the kids have worked so hard, (not to mention the staff) why not just allow us to relax just a little? Let’s face it, if I’m honest, this will be the time that I could use to make a start on all the mock papers which I have to take home over Christmas OR even just to tidy my classroom because at the moment I don’t feel there are enough hours in the day to do any of this. I, for one, hate what education has become and as you can probably tell, I’ve had enough.

    1. Sorry to hear that. No harm is using curriculum time to adapt schemes of work to include ‘fun’ things to do. Watching relevant videos or as I am doing this week in year 7 textiles; using creative techniques learnt to make festive / seasonal cards.

  10. I might actually agree with TT on something. In my experience, students would actually prefer a normal lesson. A ‘video’ is no longer the treat it used to be over 30yrs ago. There’s no longer any novelty value etc. I could say more but I just wanted to put my vote in..I am AGAINST.

  11. Completely against showing videos throughout the last week of term. The ‘break in the routine’ is the 2 weeks of holiday they’re about to have. We need to do our jobs but are only able to do that if everyone does the same, otherwise, you look like the bad guy!

  12. As an MFL teacher, films are usually kept for last lessons before big holidays. Never a full lesson, some work first. I refuse to show German dubbed cartoon versions but I have a range of appropriate German films with subtitles. It’ more a treat than routine, and they lose film time if the behaviour of some gets in the way of getting through the (usually revision) exercises. Have had no complaints, the ‘cliff hanger’ approach works well

  13. I used to work in a school where the head of department would start watching blockbuster films about 2 weeks before the end of every term (longer, if it was a ‘difficult’ class). I agree with joiningthedebate that watching videos is not the special treat it once was. I do occassionally show subject-enhancing video clips for part of a lesson, but I think the students are much better served, and happier, by doing an entertaining craft or revision activity rather than passively sitting watching videos.

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