9English Language Teacher from Universidad de la Amazonia in Florencia, Caquetá, Colombia.
10English Language Teacher from Universidad de la Amazonia in Florencia, Caquetá, Colombia.
11English Language Teacher and researcher, Universidad de la Amazonia and Jorge Eliécer Gaitán High School in Florencia, Caquetá, Colombia.
12English Language Teacher and researcher, Universidad de la Amazonia and Jorge Eliécer Gaitán High School in Florencia, Caquetá, Colombia. She is currently a PhD student in Educational Technology at Central China Normal University.

How to Cite:
Valderrama Espitia, J.A., Guarnizo Madrigal, N.A., Álvarez Guayara, H.A., & Aguilar-Cruz, P.J. (2022). Using videos with sociocultural content to improve the EFL writing among 10th graders. Revista Científica Del Amazonas, 5(9), 26-38.


Videos have become an useful strategy in the teaching field. In this regard, Metruk (2018) states that “videos do not only represent an inseparable part of people’s everyday lives, but they are also deemed to be a practical, powerful, and effective method when it comes to learning a language” (p. 5). Therefore, the use of videos is a modern strategy, that teachers can use in the English as Foreign Language (EFL) setting. In this sense, Ivic (2016) claims “modern teaching strategies encourage cognitive strategies of higher level such as problem solving, gathering, classifying, interpreting and passing on information” (p. 66). Bearing in mind the aforementioned authors, it is possible to affirm that the implementation of videos as a modern strategy has an important role in the EFL teaching field.

Based on our experience as teachers, we noticed that it is difficult for some teachers at some public high schools to engage learners into EFL learning because of their resistance to implement innovative strategies that involve the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). To this respect, Silviyanti and Yusuf (2015) assert that the “negative perceptions from teachers reveal barriers which limit the use of ICT. These generally include the lack of facilities, knowledge, time, support, materials and training”  (p. 31). Moreover, the strategies implemented by teachers are not sufficiently appealing for keeping learners’ interest while developing an English class. Correspondingly, this study sought to implement videos as a strategy to improve the EFL writing skill of 10th graders at Institución Educativa Jorge Eliécer Gaitán. This was done considering learners’ preferences and social background.

Theoretical Framework

The following research studies determine the importance of the constructs of our research concern, and our pedagogical intervention in the teaching context. We want to emphasize on the fact that after conducting an extensive literature review, it was impossible to find research articles which deal with this research concern at a regional and a national level. This situation evidences the importance of conducting this study as there is not enough research data regarding this concern in this teaching context.

Rivai et al. (2017) and Sianna (2018) carried out a study to explore the impact of videos on learners’ writing skill. The findings of this research case showed that videos made the learning process more effective. Also, before the research was developed, students were bored, and after the implementation, they felt encouraged, more motivated to write, and the atmosphere in the class was enjoyable, comfortable and positive, which made the research successful. The authors concluded that the use of videos is effective to improve students’ writing skill.

Furthermore, Lei (2008) carried out a study regarding the impact of the sociocultural content on writing development. The findings of the study suggested that the students involved in the study used cultural artifacts such as the internet and English literary works. Also, participants applied rules learned in the society, school, and university to write. Moreover, the author added that students might have used some of those rules, but unconsciously. For this reason, the students could not use the rules efficiently.

Additionally, Sianna (2018) carried out a study to explore the impact of using videos to improve the writing skill. The researcher referred to videos as a medium that incorporates moving pictures which are accompanied by sound as result broadcasting or recording. The authors concluded that the use of videos is effective to improve students’ writing skill. Moreover, the authors suggest that after a teaching activity, it is important to assess students’ work because it gives students correction and information about their writing.

Aflina (2017) carried out a study in which it was implemented the survey method to report the effectiveness of using audiovisual media to improve the writing skill in students. The researcher found a meaningful improvement in the writing skill and in students’ confidence. Moreover, through activities such as understanding a movie, rewriting a part of a movie, or role-playing it, learners found it easier to write about it because the topics were according to learners’ preferences.

To sum up, the previous studies have different points of view, they help to know what kind of tools, and bases researchers need to develop similar studies. These notions are useful in local, national, and international contexts.


Ilin et al. (2013) asserts that videos are a supercharged medium that arouses students’ interest, and it represents a useful tool for the teaching field. Moreover, Kim (2015) claims that “videos as learning materials have received a great deal of attention from educators and their effects have been positively reported in various areas” (p. 15) Taking this into account, videos can be a suitable strategy for the educational field, since they positively influence the learning process.

Using videos positively affects motivation, participation, and English proficiency in EFL. According to Park and Jung (2016) “teaching English by using video clips is effective in improving student motivation and drawing out participation.” (p. 87). Also, Neissari et al. (2017) explain that “video clips had a positive effect on EFL learners’ idiom achievement and, furthermore, participants had positive attitudes” (p. 121). These ideas allow us to confirm that using videos for educational purposes fosters learning in EFL.

Also, implementing videos affect learners' motivation and participation while they are learning English.

After analyzing the literature and theoretical foundations concerning the use of videos, our research study considers the videos as a suitable strategy for teaching in EFL. Additionally, the idea of implementing videos as a strategy was to innovate the way of teaching writing using ICT. Hence, implementing new strategies for English Learning would have a positive impact for students in the learning process, regarding the motivation, participation, and attitudes. Moreover, using videos according to learners' preferences would catch learners’ attention and students could achieve meaningful learning in terms of writing.

EFL Writing Skill

Alpala and Peña (2014) stand that “writing constitutes a whole process of connecting specific elements to build a complete text, which needs to have some cohesion and coherence requirements in order to communicate related ideas that lead to a global sense” (p. 65). In the same line of thought, Carvajal et al. (2014) argue that “today, writing is a skill that is becoming essential in education because students and teachers share their ideas and academic outcomes through articles, books, and essays, among others” (p. 121). Hence, students must learn to write well-structured texts to communicate effectively the messages that they want to express.

Learning to write in EFL is a complex process that each student faces and understands differently. This leads us to suppose that students depend on learning strategies that should be provided by teachers. In this sense, Alméciga et al. (2014) state that “writing instruction should be approached as a communicative process which involves a set of strategies such as organization, brainstorming, drafting, and revising, among others” (p. 97). In addition, Amado (2010) explains that the use of different strategies to teach learners how to write helps them to express and increase their knowledge in relation to familiar topics. Therefore, it is vital to explore the importance of strategies to improve writing skill in the EFL setting.

In terms of teaching EFL writing, our study focuses on the implementation of three different frameworks to address the development of this skill based on Hyland (as quoted in Okari, 2016). These frameworks are: first, teachers always have to provide guidance for any written work. Second, limit the complexity of the writing activities. Third, increasing the amount of writing class preparation for learners. On the other hand, Martínez (2015) suggests that teachers should use the genre theory to improve the writing skill as a suitable framework for EFL writing. In addition, genre theory is focused on sociocultural actions, which make students get familiar with the writing production, having as a result coherent and accurate texts. To sum up, these implications may help teachers to carry out a successful writing class. Hence, learners’ writing skill would be affected in a positive way.

To summarize, this study considers the writing skill as a complex and important process for learners. Moreover, the idea of implementing a set of strategies is to make the learning and teaching process more positive and efficient for teachers and students. Therefore, new strategies may encourage and motivate students to learn how to write. Also, teachers would innovate their strategies and they would not use traditional ways to teach any topic in a high school. In addition, those implications would allow having an enjoyable atmosphere between teachers and learners.

Sociocultural Content

Sociocultural content is another main construct that informs this study. In this respect, Carrera and Mazzarella (2001) argued that Vygotsky's sociocultural approach is based on the interaction between the individual and society; the interaction with members of the culture is an essential component to develop an individual. Moreover, the school as part of society plays an important role in the integral development of its members of society. Similarly, Cardenas (2008) states that SLA (Second Language Acquisition) studies which include Vygotsky sociocultural approach include three main aspects: mediation, social learning, and genetic analysis. It means that to use a sociocultural approach, the main medium is the language in the interaction between people and society integrating social and internal processes unconsciously.

To learn or master a language, every person has different learning styles and learning strategies. Also, the sociocultural context influences language learning. First, in terms of language learning styles, Oxford (2003) argues that learning strategies and styles used are the main factors in determining the improvement and progress in learning a foreign language. This steers us to assume that to learn a language the teacher needs to implement different strategies to cover all student’s weaknesses and strengths or to make students feel better while learning a language. Second, the influence of the sociocultural content in the process of learning a language lies in understanding our culture and the foreign culture. To this respect, Pazyura (2016) states that “lack of understanding the culture of the nation, the language studied by the students is the main cause of failures during the acquisition of skills and cross-cultural communication” (p. 18). The effects of learning a language including cross-cultural content are reflected in the result and the capacity of the student to handle effective communication in the target language. 

To sum up, this study considers sociocultural content as the main component to increase students’ writing skill. Therefore, implementing sociocultural content in lessons might help students to create a connection between their current culture and the culture in the target language. Likewise, sociocultural content might encourage students to create and learn more about new cultures.

The previously mentioned constructs provide the theoretical basis to develop this study. The literature reviewed helped to highlight the relevance of exploring those set of categories in the EFL setting. Therefore, using videos would contribute in a positive way to the writing learning and teaching process in the EFL setting.


This was a qualitative action research study based on Creswell and Poth (2016) and Burns (1999) since it analyzed the social process of a particular context and involved the intervention to bring a change in that context. McNiff (2016) explains that “action research is about evaluating your practice to check whether it is as good as you would like it to be, identifying any areas that you feel need improving and finding ways to improve them” (p. 9). It means that after identifying weaknesses in an area, the researcher creates strategies to strength that area. Consequently, researchers could understand social behaviors in their natural environment through interpretations and practices integrating different elements such as opinions, recordings, pictures, writing, among others, which lead to learning how participants interact in their social environment. Hence, the data was collected and analyzed in conformity with the action research and qualitative research approach; this was carried out with the aim of providing consistency, reliability, and logic to our study.

To accomplish the goals this study followed the Participatory Action Research (PAR) process suggested by James et al. (2008) which consists of four phases aimed to answer the research question:

  • What are the contributions of using videos with sociocultural content for improving the EFL writing skill among 10th graders at Institución Educativa Jorge Eliécer Gaitán?

In the phase one, we identified the problem, the problem was co-constructed with the help of the observations we did. Furthermore, we carried out a survey to discover learners’ preferences in terms of favorite sociocultural/cartoon videos. In phase two, we choose adequate videos based on learners’ preferences. Additionally, piloting and adjusting the four lessons videos with cultural content and the data collection instruments. In the phase three, we implemented lessons, gathering and analysis of the information. Finally, in the phase fourth we reflected and interpreted the data to examine the contributions that videos with sociocultural content have for students’ writing skill. The advancement and application of the abovementioned phases were significant for tackling our study and answering the research question.


The participants were 16 boys and 22 girls between fifteen and eighteen years old who were 10th graders at Institución Educativa Jorge Eliécer Gaitán in Florencia, Caquetá-Colombia. This is a public high school that serves communities of low economic status and it helps to increase the level of education in these communities.

Data Collection Instruments

Two data collection instruments were used in this study: teachers’ field notes, and students’ surveys, which were conducted at the end of each writing class. Participants signed an informed consent provided by the researchers to guarantee and protect their confidentiality.

Teacher’s field notes. Dohaney, Brogt and Kennedy (2015) affirm that “field notes are used primarily to record data collection and to formulate working hypotheses” (p. 234). In this regard, Stefl-Mabry, Dequoy, and Stevens (2012) assert that teachers’ field notes are a rich source of information that provide data about teaching and learning experiences. Moreover, this information can be useful for identifying gaps in the teachers’ training in higher education. Thus, teachers’ field notes were used as instrument to register information during the implementation of our study.

Surveys. For Groves et al. (2011) a survey is “a systematic method for gathering information from (a sample of) entities for the purpose of constructing quantitative descriptors of the attributes of the larger population of which the entities are members” (p. 2). Hence, this data collection tool provided us wide information about learners' perceptions and preferences.

The surveys applied after finishing each intervention had the following closed-ended questions presented as three-point Likert scale statements in which 1 meant “Need improvement”, 2 meant “Neutral” and 3 meant “Good”. 

  • The content of the video allowed me to reflect about the consequences of misuse of technology in education.
  • The content in the video helped me to have a clear picture of what I want to write.
  • The class based on videos allowed me to improve my EFL writing skill.
  • Since the information to write the expository paragraph was presented through a video, I was able to have a better understanding of this type of writing structure.
  • The cultural content of the video was indispensable for me to write an expository paragraph.

The statements for the final survey on students’ perceptions were:

  • Using videos to promote the EFL writing skill offered me with a good alternative to change traditional classes to develop this skill.
  • The cultural content in the videos encouraged me to write in EFL.
  • The cultural content in the videos allowed me to have a better understanding of the topics.
  • The cultural content in the videos helped me to structure my ideas to write expository paragraphs in EFL.
  • The cultural content in the videos helped me to structure my ideas to write narrative paragraphs in EFL.

Instructional Design

The main goal of this research was to explore the contributions of videos with sociocultural content in the process of developing EFL writing among 10th graders. To accomplish this goal, we chose four videos and selected their content based on the results acquired from the Likert scale survey for the needs analysis that we carried out before designing the pedagogical intervention. All in all, four workshops were designed and implemented. The first was named “Fracking”, the second “Education and Technology”, the third “Global Warming” and the last one ““Danger of Dares” (see Figure 1). The lessons to implement those workshops were designed considering Content Based Instruction (CBI) (Krulatz, 2019).

Workshops designed

Figure 1. Workshops designed.
Note. Own work.

Data Analysis Procedures

The cornerstone for the data analysis in this study is the grounded theory approach. This permitted us to expand the understanding of the phenomena we explored by identifying theories, concepts, and explanations into new experiences (Corbin & Strauss, 2015). In view of that, we were able to identify, explore and describe the contributions that videos with sociocultural content had on the development of 10th graders’ EFL writing skill. Accordingly, Patton (2002) explains that by means of the grounded theory, it is possible to produce explanations interpretations and descriptions of real-world problems and situations. Therefore, throughout this process, we could find salient patterns and relationships that emerged during the implementation of our pedagogical intervention.

The second data analysis procedure we implemented was Freeman’s (1998) “naming, grouping, finding relationships and displaying” (p. 102). By means of this process, it was possible to categorize, classify and register data related to social interactions and their changes during the research process. This was done to condense all the information into more precise amounts of data. As a result, it was easier for us to recognize the salient patterns among the sources of data we had.

The last procedure implemented for the data analysis was the methodological data triangulation proposed by Denzin and Lincoln (2005). This consists of finding the recurring patterns and commonalities among various data collection instruments to make sure that the findings in this study are valid and reliable. This process was done throughout teachers’ field notes, and surveys conducted at the end of each writing class.

Data from the closed-ended questions presented as Likert Scales in the surveys were analyzed calculating Mean (M) and Standard Deviation (SD). The likert scale questions report Cronbach's α = 0,93 (Danger of Dares), 0,84 (Education and Technology), 0,96 (Fracking), 0,97 (Global Warming).

To conclude, the development of this process allowed us to generate research categories of analysis which contributed to answer our research question.

Results and Discussion

In this section, we present the findings of the research data procedures and the corresponding discussion. They arose from the research categories.

Sociocultural videos to foster the EFL writing process.

This category entails the possibilities that videos with sociocultural content had to foster the development of the EFL writing skill. In this sense, Kim (2015), Park and Jung (2016), Carrera and Mazzarella (2001), and Cardenas (2008) affirm that implementation of videos with sociocultural content had a significant impact on motivation and encouragement towards EFL learning. Furthermore, their benefits include the development of learning in general which includes the four language skills.

According to Kim (2015), using videos created for non-educational purposes have positive effects on students’ willingness to learn different subjects and skills. Similarly, Park and Jung (2016) affirm that video clips encourage students to actively participate in learning activities. This can be evidenced on 10th graders’ responses to the first statement in Table 1 which evidences that most of the 10th graders agreed on the fact that using sociocultural videos not only encourage them to write but allowed them to improve their EFL writing skill.

Table 1
Comparison between answers in each survey.

Comparison between answers in each survey

In accordance with the previously mentioned evidence, we also noticed the positive effects that the videos had on 10th graders towards their willingness to participate, providing feedback to the peers, and encouragement to write in EFL. Besides, Manalu et al. (2021) report that “by using video, students understand better. The video uses audiovisual so that students will be interested in writing” (p. 258). Likewise, Styati (2016) expresses that the use of videos helps effectively to foster EFL writing. Furthermore, the author affirms that using videos in the classroom help students to explore and organize their ideas, choose, and learn new vocabulary related to the video topic, put those words together, and create sentences and paragraphs. Accordingly, the following excerpts from researchers’ field notes register this situation:

Also, 10th graders’ attitude was positive since most of them wanted to participate. Additionally, when 10th graders correct other’s mistakes, most of them were right and they are recognizing the mistakes in the paragraph and the symbols of the correction code. This class was enjoyable since most of the 10th graders were motivated. [sic] (researchers’ field notes, intervention 3).

Survey on Students' Perception

Figure 2. Survey on Students' Perception
Note. Own work.

Furthermore, Figure 2 makes it possible to affirm that most of the 10th graders consider that the videos used in this research encouraged them to write in the target language. Thus, Gaddis (2020) asserts that when technology and videos with sociocultural content are used in scholar environments, they potentially promote learning results. Similarly, Özkurkudis and Bümen (2019) argue that students, who are usually surrounded by technology, feel better prepared when technology makes part of the learning process. In this way, students’ interest increases and are predisposed to participate during the development of the classes. It is demonstrated that videos focused on sociocultural aspects can have a positive effect towards 10th graders’ encouragement to write in EFL, improving the development and progress of this language skill.

The survey on students’ perceptions also demonstrated that most of the 10th graders, who participated in the interventions, had a better understanding of the topics due to the sociocultural content (see Figure 3 and see statement 2 in Table 1). In this sense, Colás-Bravo et al. (2019) point out that “the sociocultural approach can be an ideal pedagogical theoretical approach that serves as an underlying basis for the generation of innovative models for the development of teachers’ digital competence due to the transfer and operationalization potential of its constructs” (p. 28). As a result, the sociocultural content was significant to increase cultural values when expressing ideas in the corresponding paragraph of each topic.

Additionally, excerpts from the teachers’ field notes highlight meaningful insights regarding the contributions that sociocultural videos had on 10th graders’ understanding of the topics while writing in EFL, this is presented as follows:

Something that was very interesting in the class was the students’ attitude toward the content. In this class students showed a positive attitude, they were participating actively and engaged with the video with sociocultural content because they were understanding the topic presented in the video. In short, we could see the improvement of students, they had more confidence, and they were engaged in developing the material and participated when we asked about the content. [sic] (researchers’ field notes intervention 4).

In this sense, it is possible to affirm that for most of the 10th graders, the content of the video was helpful to express their ideas and thoughts about the video in a written way. This goes in accordance with Rivai et al. (2017), Sianna (2018), and Manalu et al. (2021), who claim that videos are very helpful since it gives a lot of information through, sounds, pictures, images and movements for students which helps to generate ideas and thoughts to write about it.

All in all, the previous evidence demonstrates the effectiveness of videos for improving EFL writing. Additionally, the sociocultural content was very relevant for learners to picture what to write. Hence, 10th graders can use the sociocultural videos to promote their writing in EFL.

Survey on Students' Perception1

Figure 3. Survey on Students' Perception.
Note. Own work.

The evidence in Figure 3 shows how helpful the cultural content was for a better understanding of the topics. In accordance with Ivygina et al. (2019), “the cultural component is the determining factor in order to form sociocultural competence since it is responsible for the perception and mastering of the foreign language culture” (p. 289). Besides, Arkhipova et al. (2020) affirm that being aware of the culture is a crucial aspect to teach and learn a culture. Hence, it can be affirmed that for most of the 10th graders the cultural content showed in the video was helpful for better understanding the topics addressed in the class.

Writing paragraphs for effectively communicating ideas regarding sociocultural content.

This category implies writing paragraphs to effectively communicate ideas about real-world situations. In this regard, Defazio et al. (2010) express that “writing well entails more than adhering to writing conventions. Writing also encompasses creative inspiration, problem-solving, reflection, and revision that results in a completed manuscript” (p. 34). In this way, to effectively communicate ideas, students first need to draw what they want to write and review the content to communicate a clear message. Furthermore, McGranahan (2020) states that writing well should contain well structure ideas in a paragraph making it enjoyable for readers.

Accordingly, students need to arrange their ideas, apply grammar rules avoiding mistakes, make use of formal vocabulary and apply punctuation correctly. In line of thought, Erkan and Saban (2011) assert that “writing requires thinking strategies that allow the individual to express him or herself competently in the other language and is a complex activity that requires a certain level of linguistics knowledge, writing conventions, vocabulary and grammar” (p. 165-166). Similarly, Rao (2019) states that punctuation, syntax, coherence, and cohesion among others are important aspects in EFL writing because if the writer misuses some of these elements the final message will be unclear for readers, leading to misunderstanding and confusion.

Moreover, Messuri (2016) affirms that “a paragraph has three main components: a topic sentence, supporting sentences, and a concluding sentence” (p. 86). In this sense, by identifying, understanding, and applying all these components in the structure of a paragraph, 10th graders were able to write a complete paragraph involving the sociocultural content in videos. This was evidenced in samples from students’ written texts in which they displayed significant progress in terms of structuring paragraphs. The following comment from the researchers’ field note also refers to this situation:

Once the students identified how a paragraph is structured and its parts. We facilitated to the students the videos with sociocultural content to write. Students put into practice the structure which involves the topic sentence, supporting sentences, detailed sentences, and a closing sentence. After watching the videos with sociocultural content students’ attitude was positive since they presented and applied the rules to their paragraphs. [sic] (researchers’ field notes, intervention 6)

Consequently, Figure 4 reveals the positive acceptance of videos due to their impact on changing classes and structuring writing assignments in a different way than traditional classes. In traditional classes, students need to read some articles and then students write an article or a paragraph or some other type of writing. In this sense, Anggraeni and Apsari (2021) stress that “to solve the problems and improve the students writing abilities teachers need to use an appropriate strategy which make the students interest and enthusiastic” (p. 569). Equally, Mastan et al. (2017) argue that teachers should include effective writing strategies that motivate students during the classes to enhance the EFL writing skill. Thus, 10th graders could improve their writing skill showing positive effects on videos with sociocultural content.

Survey on Students' Perception2

Figure 4. Survey on Students' Perception
Note. Own work.

In this sense, Table 2 shows the results from the survey students’ perceptions which query on 10th graders’ understanding towards the content and the organization they needed to write expository paragraphs. Akhondi et al. (2011) argue that “most expository texts are structured to facilitate the study process for prospective readers. These texts contain structural elements that help guide students through their reading. Authors of expository texts use these structures to arrange and connect ideas” (p. 368). Moreover, Kaakinen et al. (2011) claim that an expository paragraph needs to include clear information to the reader about certain topic. Accordingly, it is possible to assert that most 10th graders perceive the sociocultural content of the videos implemented in this research project to assist them to write expository paragraphs in the target language.

Table 2
Comparison between answers in each survey

Comparison between answers in each survey1

To summarize, the sociocultural content can influence 10th graders’ motivation to write in EFL. Those real-world situations presented in the videos may feel students closer to those events, even though some of them may have lived some of those events previously.


After concluding the data analysis procedures, we can assure that implementing videos with sociocultural content contributes to the development of the EFL writing skill. In this way, the videos with sociocultural content encouraged the development of EFL writing skill. Subsequently, this process generated that 10th graders could express their ideas clearer in a written way. This implies that the participants expanded their comprehension of writing in the target language.

The classes based on videos with sociocultural content contributed to developing the EFL writing skill in 10th graders to have a wider panorama regarding real-world situations, this means that the cultural content was meaningful in reflecting participants’ prior knowledge to make meaningful connections with the new cultural information, understanding the sociocultural content, and increasing their vocabulary. After making these relationships, 10th graders were encouraged to practice their EFL writing skill making a significant improvement in acknowledging paragraphs structures and linguistic knowledge based on the sociocultural content presented in the videos.

Regarding the development of EFL writing skill, we can assert that videos with sociocultural content contributed to communicate their understanding of the sociocultural situation presented on the videos with the type of paragraphs they write. This became palpable as each subsequent paragraph was better in the use of vocabulary, use of connectors, use of punctuation, use of linguistic structures, and better structured ideas to write paragraphs with coherence and cohesion.

Future research should be focused on the implementation of videos with sociocultural content to promote other skills such as listening or speaking. We also suggest teachers to engage students with meaningful learning experiences considering their needs and contexts to have better learning outcomes.