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Utilizing cinema within the TEFL classroom

Utilizing cinema within the TEFL classroom


You’ve been to high school, you already know the sensation. In case you’re of a sure age, you may bear in mind a TV and VCR being wheeled right into a hushed, awed classroom. Or, for those who’re of a more moderen classic, maybe, the lights exit, and on a digital whiteboard pops up a video. It’s both a second of intense pleasure – maybe it’s an end-of-term displaying of a movie – or it’s a really dry 60s informational video on the extraction of oil. Each are potential.

Sure, utilizing cinema within the classroom can look like a “final day earlier than holidays” train, however in language educating, it may be extraordinarily helpful – a TEFL instructor’s finest buddy, even. College students can simply interact with an attention-grabbing movie or clip; you could be displaying them one thing they’ve already seen in one other language, and have context for. This time, although, they’re watching it in English, and it’s a good way to study patterns of speech, how grammar is used, syntax, even.

It’s additionally significantly helpful for slang or dialects. Cultural information may be defined, but it surely’s maybe higher gained via watching and listening. As our resident webinar famous person Carl Cameron-Day lately defined:

“[Cultural knowledge] is one thing I really like bringing into the classroom. It’s one thing that college students additionally like. Very often in Japan, I received requested tons and many questions on UK tradition… that’s the type of factor that college students like to seek out out about. Cinema is a giant, large a part of that.”

So, how do you employ cinema within the classroom? We’ll clarify all of it, with assist from Mr Cameron-Day, whose webinar on Music and Cinema within the TEFL classroom is important watching!

Utilizing cinema within the classroom

So, what do you might want to take into account while you’re desirous about utilizing cinema within the classroom? Skill stage and age are very important. 

At any stage, it’s finest to start out off fundamental. Utilizing a movie with fairly fundamental dialogue received’t scare college students an excessive amount of. In case you’re educating kids, a movie like Discovering Nemo or Toy Story could have an array of various accents and patterns of speech, however the language itself isn’t too complicated. 

For extra superior TEFL learners, you can begin to combine extra dialogue-heavy movies; Oscar winners, critically-acclaimed movies, and particular movies the place regional accents (somewhat than “obtained English”) come into play. 

Let’s break it down additional and clarify the sorts of actions you are able to do with college students over movie.

Children in a classroom


If you wish to watch, say, an hour of a movie, or an entire movie, cease at common intervals to discover the themes. Do the scholars perceive what’s occurring? Are the important thing conflicts and characters outlined by the scholars, utilizing language and context? Stopping between scenes, and even taking timed intervals the place college students focus on in easy phrases what’s taking place on-screen is a good suggestion.

Has any related grammar or syntax popped up? Take time to debate it. As Carl Cameron-Day tells us: 

“Sure, you should use music and you should use cinema to study vocabulary – it’s among the finest issues to do. However there can [sometimes be] fairly troublesome language and idioms inside a clip… that could be fairly obscure. It may not be one thing you’ve deliberate to have taught but it surely comes up anyway. Watch out for that form of factor that you simply might need to anticipate.”

Is a personality talking with slang or utilizing idioms? Ask the category to elucidate what they imply, via context clues. For this, you may need to use movies set the place there are distinct accents and patterns of speech; movies set in Scotland, New York, southern USA, Canada, England or Eire, for instance. Respective examples embrace (relying on the age of your viewers!) ‘Courageous’, ‘When Harry Met Sally’, ‘Forrest Gump’, ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. the World’, ‘Billy Elliot’ and ‘Brooklyn’.

Prediction actions are at all times good enjoyable. As Carl explains: 

“A traditional TV watching exercise is a few type of prediction exercise. Generally you possibly can put the poster up of a movie, or thumbnail of a YouTube slide… you set that up on the display, and also you say “okay, what do you suppose this YouTube clip or movie goes to be about?” Ask your accomplice. Or, what do you suppose goes to occur within the subsequent 5 minutes, or on this scene?”

Performing out scenes

The following Cate Blanchett or Colin Farrell may nicely be in your TEFL class. How will you discover out? It’s straightforward: attempt to discover a movie script – or at the very least quotes from the movie – and get college students to behave out scenes. Moreover, Carl says “[students] might write or carry out their very own dialog between two characters, or write the subsequent scene”, for those who’ve received a very artistic bunch of scholars. 

It may appear foolish, and naturally, you’ll want to make use of your judgement on what’s acceptable, however you possibly can ask college students to make use of accents from the movie, or patterns of speech – for instance, the assured communication of Buzz Lightyear from ‘Toy Story’, or, conversely, a personality that speaks far slower, just like the eponymous ‘Forrest Gump’. Have enjoyable with it!

Clearly, these scenes should be age-appropriate! So, no Pulp Fiction, we’re afraid; until you’ve received a category of grownup learners who’ve a superb sense of humour!

Clarify to college students what’s taking place within the scene, and go over phrases/phrases that could be unfamiliar. Then, get your college students to sound out these phrases and phrases. There’s no substitute for talking out phrases with a view to commit them to reminiscence. Attaching troublesome bits of language to a clip can enhance phrase affiliation.

Physique language and tone

Superb, this may sound counter-intuitive; in spite of everything, aren’t we studying from cinema with a view to enhance vocabulary, sharpen up grammar and use punctuation successfully? First, meaning ruling out plenty of Christopher Walken’s work, but it surely’s not nearly what’s being stated, it’s about how it’s being stated.

Expression performs a serious half in language, and plenty of that comes from the physique. Talk about facial expressions with college students, and the way it applies to the language. For instance, stoic rhetoric: Clint Eastwood in ‘Soiled Harry’. Or, you possibly can consult with our outdated pal Mr Shakespeare; any first rate movie model of ‘Hamlet’ options dramatic irony, earnest soliloquies and extra strategies that want efficient performing each bodily and verbally. After all, straying from cinema and on to TV, there are unbelievable examples of sarcasm; George or Elaine from ‘Seinfeld’, Chandler from ‘Buddies’, and so forth.

Gestures are necessary. If you wish to study a language fluently, your physique and your face have to specific one thing as a lot as phrases do. In any other case, you’ll have college students that perhaps cross the IELTS examination however converse robotically. We advocate not displaying ‘Robocop’ or ‘The Terminator’ to college students for exactly this motive.

Adult learners smiling in a classroom

Why is cinema so helpful?

With all that stated, let’s sum up: why is a movie so helpful within the classroom?

Textbooks can solely go to date. To actually study a language, you might want to see and listen to it getting used, in a spread of various contexts. Studying English phrases, and certainly, how folks truly discuss in English, is a lot simpler while you’ve received genuine use of the language being performed out proper in entrance of you.

Once more, the significance of tone must be communicated within the classroom. You need college students who can maintain a dialog, and perhaps even inform a joke? Present your college students the way it’s performed, and what sort of vocal and bodily expression is utilized in day-to-day English. 

Idioms, phrasing, accents and slang are additionally a lot simpler to speak via movie. No offence, and we’re certain you’re proficient, but it surely’s unlikely you possibly can nail each single accent, know the way English is spoken in each single group, and know all the world’s English-language slang.

Movie may also be a instructor’s buddy in a extra sensible approach. As Carl explains: “Why I love to do it’s to alter the tempo of the lesson, to type of quiet issues down. Altering tempo, the place you could have some faster actions and a few slower actions, tends to work fairly nicely in serving to to maintain the motivation of the scholars.”

Helpful assets

That is all nice and nicely, we hear you say, however the place ought to I – the proficient TEFL instructor studying this – discover the suitable assets to successfully plan a lesson round movie?

Firstly, sure you’re very proficient, and secondly, don’t fear. We’ve received you lined. Firstly, we’re signposting FILTA, the Movie in Educating Language Affiliation. By their English educating part, you will discover guides to educating about particular movies which have actual educating worth. Sources are additionally obtainable in different languages for those who’d love to do some studying your self.

Viral ELT is a good useful resource for shorter clips, and because the identify suggests, it makes use of movies and memes from the web to provide educating classes. Let’s face it; plenty of your learners need to know what persons are saying on TikTok, YouTube and Instagram, they won’t essentially be fascinated about watching ‘2001: A Area Odyssey’ proper off the bat. 

Study English with a TV Collection does precisely what it says it does. This YouTube channel makes use of clips from the preferred sequence on tv, and constructs classes. In case you’re questioning find out how to do this type of lesson, otherwise you need to use these movies within the classroom, you’re lined both approach.
Lastly, good outdated IMDb is a wonderful approach of gathering quotes and trivia concerning the movies you’re going to point out. If college students are reacting significantly nicely to considered one of your classes, you will discover movies or TV sequence from the identical writers, actors and administrators. Additionally, a superb lesson could be to take a synopsis from IMDb, and take out sure phrases or sentences, and the scholars should guess what the movie’s all about.

Take a look at our vary of TEFL useful resource packs, that are packed stuffed with lesson plans and video games to make use of within the TEFL classroom!