Use broadcast material for better lessons

  • Use broadcast material for better lessons

It is often acknowledged that getting teenagers to love English Literature can be a challenge. When faced with classic texts, students can resort to laughter or classroom disruption due to the unfamiliar language or ‘strange’ settings. In Ringmer Community College in East Sussex, teachers have found that comparing relationships with those in a current popular TV series can be an effective way of stimulating interest from students. A nationwide obsession with Breaking Bad proved enlightening in the context of Romeo and Juliet, allowing teachers to explore the parallels of the relationship between Juliet and her father, and Walter and Jesse, helping the class to understand the intricacies of a sometimes carefree but reckless bond.

A recent Twitter storm surrounding the views of Tom Bennett, the government’s behaviour expert, kick-started a debate around the effectiveness of using films in a classroom. At ERA, we believe that the use of audio and video content in teaching can be of immense value.

How does ERA help?

Broadcast material – such as TV and film clips, and radio programmes – can bring subjects to life. The use of interactive content encourages greater engagement from students, provides clear context for pupils grasping new concepts, and benefits teachers who can bring topics to life using audio-visual clips.

This is exactly what the ERA facilitates. At ERA, we support the education sector by making it easy for schools, colleges and universities to use audio-visual broadcast material over a secure network. The ERA Licence – held by 99% of educational institutions across the UK – enables teachers to access material from channels such as the BBC, Channel 4, Channel 5 and ITV as well as radio content without worrying about clearance issues.

What are the benefits?

The ERA Licence grants teachers the ability to use a wealth of broadcast material in their lessons, keep a library of these resources indefinitely (as long as a licence is held), and allows access to the content on and offsite – so students can watch any clips hosted on the school’s VLE as part of prep for a lesson.

An ERA Licence adds value to teaching; it brings interactivity into the classroom and provides entertaining ways to engage with students. Teachers can create a library of information to help them explain pretty much anything by using the excellent content broadcast by our members, and use these helpful clips year after year.

In addition, an ERA Licence is the safest way to access material online. Platforms and channels such as YouTube can be grey areas for copyright law and may expose young people to inappropriate material that that was not intended for them. Through the Licence, teachers can be sure that the material they are accessing is age-appropriate and not affected by advertisements or malware. So when and how, specifically, can ERA’s Licence support teaching throughout 2016?

1. Explaining Shakespeare

With the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death on our doorstep, UK broadcasters have lined up reams of quality content to commemorate the great playwright. In partnership with Teachwire, we have developed an A to Z Shakespeare guide that teachers can use to explore different plays and elements of the writer’s work; find it at

2. Celebrating the Olympics

Four years on from the success of the London 2012 Olympics, broadcasters will be airing a host of programmes on the Olympics and Paralympics being hosted in Rio this year.

3. Debating the EU Referendum

On 23rd June, the nation will go to the polls to have its say on Britain’s membership of the European Union. Programmes could help students to understand the history of the EU and the implications of a potential Brexit.

4. Marking the Queen’s 90th birthday

As the Queens turns 90 in June, broadcasters will be taking this opportunity to revisit the history of the monarchy and its role in today’s society.

5. British Intellectual Property (IP) Day

The first-ever UK IP Day is taking place on 5th July 2016, giving teachers and students the opportunity to discuss the relevance and importance of copyright to people working in the music, entertainment and technology sectors.

As part of our commitment to assisting teachers to curate the best content for their lessons, we have developed an ERA learning platform where teachers can find links to programmes and clips, sorted by subject area and key-stage, which may support their teaching. The platform will also provide a forum for educators to share links to clips that they have found useful.

Furthermore, each week, we blog and tweet a Top TV Pick of the Week (#TVforTeachers) which provides teachers with guidance on current programmes that can be used to deliver the curriculum. From art and food technology to politics and history, we will point you in the direction of helpful resources. Subscribe to our blog at or follow us @eraresources. If you are unsure whether you are covered by an ERA licence, email or call on 020 7837 3222.