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