I saw this post on Mashable the other day about the top 5 YouTube projects that are doing social good. These are all interesting projects that involve someone personally documenting a specific social problem or issue. Because YouTube can link the content creators to the content viewers, these projects offer an unvarnished connection to people struggling with these issues. These three are topics that can be very difficult to explain to ESL students (and native speakers, too.) I wouldn’t necessarily just begin showing the videos in a classroom, but they can be a very good resource for anyone exploring any of these topics.
1. Homosexuality & Bullying – It Gets Better
Homosexuality can be a challenging topic, but it is often particularly difficult for international students to discuss. Given the recent suicide of a student at Rutgers, cyberbullying is very topical right now. This project aims to address this problem by reaching out to teens who feel like there is no end to the bullying they may be facing. I chose the above video because it challenges some stereotypical perceptions that some of my students have had.
2. HIV & AIDS – I Talk Because
Like the first topic, HIV and AIDS can carry lots of different stigmas, particularly for international students. The goal of this project is raising awareness, with people from many different backgrounds talking about this issue in very frank and forthright ways.
3. Homelessness – InvisiblePeople.tv
Invisible People TV posts interview with people who are homeless, such as Cotton in North Carolina, above. These videos are honest and raw and offer a wide range of perspectives and attitudes. Homelessness can be a very strange concept to people from outside North America. These videos don’t explain it, but they do personalize it.