films in class

ELT Goes to the Movies #1 – Advantages of Using Films in Class

films in class

The Challenge

At present we know that our brain is plastic, it continuously remodels itself, sometimes within a remarkably short period of time (these biological changes are the result of outside experience); certain intellectual functions are restricted to one cerebral hemisphere; emotion is a primary catalyst in the learning process; memory is not stored in a single location in the brain or static or unitary; there are multiple intelligences, different learning styles and emotional intelligence.

It is obvious that we cannot continue using the same methods as those of our ancestors´ believing that all our students learn the same way.

The great challenge is to create new resources which accelerate the acquisition of the language making the most of each student´s abilities and strengths.

What are the main advantages of using films in class?

  • Students experience real English: different speakers, voices, accents, styles, and registers.
  • Students come into contact with diversity: cultural varieties, social awareness, psychological questions, and international issues.
  • The world is brought into the classroom: the English language is alive, its existence going beyond textbooks.
  • Films go hand-in-hand with entertainment, thus being extremely appealing and motivating to students of all ages.
  • Using films in the ELT class helps develop students’ self-esteem: when teachers choose segments carefully and work on them properly, they arouse in students feelings of achievement, pride, accomplishment, self-satisfaction and happiness. Students realize that they are able to understand parts of real films.
  • Favourite actors and actresses are part of the students’ learning process, becoming language models.
  • Students are exposed to a mixture of language and gestures, a combination of situational language and “spontaneous conversation”. Therefore, they are asked to decode linguistic and paralinguistic messages.
  • Films provide students with both visual and auditory input, thus supporting the different learning styles and/or strategies of students.
  • Language is presented as a whole: Realia is neither segmented nor graded, as is the case with videos specially designed for the teaching of English.
  • The use of films is a wonderful tool: an audio-visual aid which together with the proper activities helps develop the four language skills — even though teachers sometimes wrongly believe the focus is only on listening comprehension.

An inviting way to learn

Picture by clem via Morguefile

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María Inés Brumana Espinosa has been teaching English and Spanish as additional languages for 30 years. She is the co-author of E.L.T. Goes To The Movies and author of Al Rescate Del Estudiante De Español. María designs courses for specific purposes for adults and new teaching material which involves the use of both hemispheres. You can follow her on LinkedIn and Facebook.

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  • Sylvia

    Thank you for such excellent reasons to delve into film & multi-media Maria :))

    Your depth of research in this area is vast & we are fortunate to have you sharing it with us – lovely presentation too!!

    • Guest

      Thank you for your words, Sylvia. I´m really glad you like my post. It´s great to be sharing here with you all and learning from one another. = )

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