In this review, I take a look at the British Council’s youtube channel dedicated specially for kids. You can find the channel at this link.
The British Council is a juggernaut when it comes to English language learning worldwide and as such, I was interested in taking a look at how good their Youtube channel dedicated for kids is.
My general impression is that this is a channel that is more focused towards very young children. Most children over the age of 7 would find the content too childish. They do have a Youtube channel for teens but that channel's suggested demographic is 13 to 17 year olds.
This channel has 6 playlists; Kids Stories, Word of the Week, Nursery Rhymes & Kids Songs, Kids Games, English Learning Resources and a vaguely titled Favorites. The first three playlists have the most videos (15 to 16 videos). The others have very little content suitable for English language learning.
The ‘Kids Stories’ playlist contains 15 videos and has videos of length ranging from 1:30 minutes to 3:00 minutes. The stories you find in this playlist are a mix of well-known stories like Goldilocks, Jack and the Bean stalk and apparently original snippets. The videos all have animation and the voice over narration is accompanied by subtitles.
The ‘Word of the Week’ playlist contains 16 videos all shorter than 30 seconds. In each video, a selected word like ‘yeah’ or ‘fizzy’ is pronounced by a variety of kids saying the word in their own British accents.
The ‘Nursery Rhymes’ playlist contains 16 videos and is similar to the ‘Kids Stories’ playlist in terms of length and style. Each video comprises of a common nursery rhyme like ‘Incy Wincy spider’ and has voice over and subtitles.
First, I'll start with some of the positives of this channel.
The short videos make this channel suitable for preschoolers who have a shorter attention span.
The bright animations also fulfill the same purpose of holding the attention of preschoolers.
The ‘Word of the week’ videos with actual kids are a welcome break from the style of the other two playlists.
However, I believe that the negatives outweigh the positives.
First, the subtitles could have been designed in a Karaoke style with highlighting following the voice over.
This would have brought in a reading element to the videos as children watching the videos can match the spoken words to text. The lack of this type of highlighting is an oversight.
The ‘Word of the Week’ videos also represent a missed opportunity. In their current state, these videos only show how other kids pronounce certain words. These do not help in vocabulary building at all.
This is because there is no attempt to define the words or show how they may be used in a sentence. The choice of words could also have been better in certain cases. For example, the linked video above showcases the word ‘Yeah’, which is hardly a challenging vocabulary word.
Finally, the quality of the animations is, in general, not great. Plenty of other channels on Youtube that aim to fulfill this niche also have better quality animations.
The video length and content are certainly not suitable for kids older than 7.
In general, I would not recommend this channel if you are looking for a Youtube channel to actually help with your child’s English skills.
A cursory view of the British Council Youtube channel for teens suggests that it may be more helpful but the videos may be a bit more challenging for elementary school kids to follow.
Unfortunately, this channel from the British Council seems mostly geared towards superficial entertainment for preschoolers (or possible even younger kids) with cutesy voices and bright colors.
If you know of any Youtube channels that have helped your kids with respect to English, let me know in the comments below.
If you want to know more about a particular book, game or toy and how it can help your child's English, feel free to make suggestions in the comments.