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watching movies to learn English

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watching movies to learn English

Unread postby robby » Tue Dec 12, 2006 12:27 pm

Hi all,

I have few questions regarding showing movies in ESL classes.
1) How effective is it in their learning and how often?
2) what kind of movies?
3) Is it important for them to understand everything or just the main idea?
4) should we preteach the new vocab?
I like to know your ideas and any past experience you might have.
Thanks
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Unread postby mjaime » Tue Dec 12, 2006 7:32 pm

Well, I'm not a teacher =) in fact I'm a student and I have one year studying this languaje... I have some troubles with me hearing so I asked for advices and a friend told me "watch Cartoon Movies because on them the characters speak slower and also they speak more appropriately" how often? I see them whenever I can, maybe once at week, that's what I do.
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Movies

Unread postby chava61 » Wed Dec 13, 2006 12:37 pm

I think for intermediate level students using movies that have closed captions can have an advantage to help with comprehension.
Also it is important to choose a movie that the accents are clear.
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Unread postby Heads Up Eng » Wed Dec 13, 2006 1:38 pm

Movies are a time waster, in my opinion. Here's why:

1. They are too long. TV programs, or snippets of programs or movies, work better to express grammar, vocab, or a talking point. Five or ten minutes usually contain all that you need for a lesson or activity.

2. In a larger class, some students will have little to no interest in the movie. Therefore, you've wasted two hours of their time. Even if you show 30 minutes a day, it still comes down to a cumulative two hours.

3. EFL students usually have little opportunity to speak English, so you should give them every moment of the class to practice, reinforce, and apply the language. A long movie simply doesn't accomplish this.

That said, movies are a good resource for home study. I can't count the number of students who have watched every movie of a favorite actor again and again, and thereby improved their English ability.

On a side note, I used to use Friends quite a lot. Not only are there hundreds of episodes for students to get into, there are copies of the transcripts on the web to either build a lesson around or for students to read on their own. Some of my students are into Prison Break now, so I try to bring up info about that, as well as Twenty-Four, although these seem less effective in the classroom.

Chris Cotter
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multimedia in the classroom...

Unread postby eric_p_m » Wed Dec 13, 2006 10:41 pm

Dear Chris,

Let me humbly offer up some constructive criticism for you:

1. Do you have a favorite movie? If so, why do you remember it. Did you watch it more than once? If so, why?

A well directed and academically targeted movie evokes emotion in the foreign language learner, allowing meta-language to transfer through the different levels of cognitive processing.

2. Don't utilize the same movie for a large class. Break them up into groups and target specific interest groups with corresponding thrillers to motivate them to acquire language. Know your students well enough to cater to more than just their linguistic needs and you will win their hearts. Motivate to sustain and retain.

3. EFL students have just as much of an opportunity to learn language as native speakers. Train your students in time management.

Allow your podcasts to transform into a new dimension of interactivity. Like you said, a multi-faceted approach is necessary to maintain enthusiasm. Offer more than just current events by allowing access to films of historical significance.

Keep in mind not to allow the culture you currently find yourself in to negatively affect your outlook on learning. Contemplate the concept of higher education to improve society, whether it be collectivistic or individualistic.

If you would like to talk to me more, feel free to visit me working inside my on-line school.


Sincerely,

Eric Paul Monroe

http://www.eric-tesol.com/
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Specific Learning Outcomes

Unread postby Char » Thu Dec 14, 2006 2:26 pm

Hi there everyone. Just stumbled across this site and thought it was a gem. I've just started teaching, but I find that movies or snippets of movies are a great starter activity to get discussions going. They can also be utilised for specific aims, such as narrative or descriptive writing. Students can learn about a particular genre of writing such as horror. The snippets of a movie, say Scream for example, can then be used to teach tone, character development, climax development etc.

I've tried showing my kids the beginning of a movie. Then we look at the snippet and discuss what about it contributes to a good piece of horror writing. Then I play the movie up until a particular scene (where tensions are high) and I stop the movie. The students then have to continue that storyline using what they have picked up about the horror genre.

I feel it's just another way of triggering them.

Hope it helps!

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Unread postby Heads Up Eng » Fri Dec 15, 2006 6:52 am

Eric,

I fully agree with your point regarding a good movie. It can assist the learning process, particularly because it raises the students' interest in English. In the past, I have often recommended movies to my students, which we then informally talk about outside of class. I also incorporate discussion activities or comment on movies, actors, and current events into my lessons. These are all relatable to the real world, as opposed to fictitious characters from a textbook; this then better highlights vocab or grammar, or generates interest.

My problem, however, comes when a teacher pops in a DVD for a full 90-minute class--this is not teaching! I also personally think it's ineffective to show twenty minutes of the same movie each lesson as an alternative means to get through the whole movie. There are so many better uses for movies, as Charmaine has also pointed out, that also take into consideration the time in the classroom.

I'm not entirely against movies, which maybe my initial post conveys. They are great for self-study, as the student can replay it again and again, working at his/her own pace. If you want to incorporate movies into the class, then snippets are also wonderful. Or you could assign students to watch a movie of their choice, and then give an oral presentation or discussion (or even, a written report, if you so choose). Snippets also lend themselves well to listening practice, rather than a conversation from a tape or CD. The ideas really are limitless.

When EFL students have so little contact with the target language, though, I can't budge from my initial comment. It's best to have them speaking, listening, and thinking--participating, in other words--in English as much as possible in the short time they are in my classroom. Those ninety minutes don't allow an entire movie, I'm afraid.

Lastly, although this is more a personal preference, I like TV programs better. They are written with commercial breaks in mind, so a scene plays out in 5 or 10 minutes. This works well to generate discussion, speculation, or whatever I have planned... while keeping to my time constraints.

On a side note, I hope that my initial post didn't come across as someone who dislikes his job. I love teaching, and love working with students.

Chris Cotter
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multimedia in the classroom...

Unread postby eric_p_m » Fri Dec 15, 2006 10:31 pm

Dear Chris,

I am more than content upon hearing that you also love teaching and helping people to learn as much as possible. However, I think that you are still assuming how I implement multimedia into my physical and virtual classrooms. If you consider your classroom to be not unlike a battlefield, keep in mind the cardinal rule of warfare: don't assume.

Likewise, don't limit your imagination. Instead of equating a movie to a static mnemonic device, utilize a holistic pedagogical approach that combines the various teaching and learning methodologies that you should have studied beforehand.

I always incorporate several communicative strategies while taking advantage of multimedia as a learning tool. Allow me to humbly recommend the following:
    1. Know your audience.
    2. Brainstorm: write down one word and then guide your students depending on their linguistic and cognitive development.
    3. Utilize the movie's theme song first as a listening comprehension tool then utilize it for grammar instruction or review: don't forget about cross-cultural communication.
    4. Educate: further develop moral and cultural values.
    5. Take advantage of theatrical trailers. Use both domestic and international versions, if applicable.
    6. Learn how to respect the power of the pause button for teaching.
    7. Discuss however you deem fit.

When ready, now you can utilize the featured film for linguistic and cognitive development. Do you remember learning about trigonometry in the field of mathematics? If so, remember what you learned about the x, y, and z axises. Try applying these concepts to your blackboard and television set/ video projector screen: Take a cardboard box and cut it up, constructing four quadrants. Cover up the screen totally first for listening comprehension then gradually make a quadrant visible and shuffle the order requesting language production from your students in the form of open-ended questions. Also remember to shuffle through variations with and without sound, each time allowing more visual information available to your students to provide more data for language production. If you take advantage of subtitles, ensure that they are only in the target language.

Once you are up and running with audio and full-screen video, draw two gigantic columns on your blackboard and then pick two students to go up there and compose phrases to reflect what they can see on the screen. Rotate students. While the movie is paused, correct phrases and offer examples for further lexical development.

Afterwards, have the students sit in two rows with multiple columns. If you have a large class, break them up into smaller groups. Have the students face each other with one student being able to see the screen while another student has their back to the screen. Make sure that the volume reaches the back of the classroom. Let one group tell what they can see in the target language and then let the other group translate what they said into their mother tongue... better yet, just stick with the target language and offer time for questions to clarify what was seen. After a couple of minutes, play musical chairs and rotate your students again pressing the play button: repeat as needed.

I hope that this recipe will spice up your lesson plan or at least provide you with another perspective for implementing movies and other multimedia into your classroom. If you take advantage of my suggestion, I would cordially ask that you put in a good word for me. Moreover, if you would like to talk further about teaching or learning methodologies, feel free to visit me working hard in my on-line school and speak with me directly.


Sincerely,

Eric Paul Monroe

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