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Suitable Movies for the ESL Classroom

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Suitable Movies for the ESL Classroom

Unread postby cegr » Thu Dec 30, 2010 2:25 am

I am currently teaching an ESL class made up of Chinese students studying at the high beginner level. The school where I teach allows me to show movies once a week to the students. So far, they have watched the movies "Mulan", "Up" and "Twas The Night Before Christmas". For next semester, I will show the movie "Snow Dogs" and I am thinking of having them watch "Lassie Come Home". Could someone please recommend other movies that would be appropriate to show? Thanks in advance for your help!
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Re: Suitable Movies for the ESL Classroom

Unread postby rwells » Tue Feb 08, 2011 8:12 pm

Movies are definitely a fun way to have students hear the language at the pace it is used in everyday life. When teaching in Korea I found the animated film The Iron Giant to be enjoyable for both children and adults. Showing DVDs with English subtitles is a good idea, as it allows students to read words they may not have understood aurally. In addition to discussing the characters or plot of the movie upon finishing, it can also be a good opportunity to create various activities related to the film.

If you are looking for movies to show absolute beginners (not so much for language comprehension, but just for fun), Mr. Bean episodes, especially Merry Christmas Mr. Bean, always get a good laugh. And I'm not just saying that because my name is Rowan!

My classroom also had a good internet connection and large monitor, so I was able to incorporate Youtube video's related to the subject matter to engage the students and stimulate discussion.

Enjoy!

Rowan Wells
Oxford Seminars
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Re: Suitable Movies for the ESL Classroom

Unread postby sheffdave » Wed Feb 09, 2011 9:14 am

Movies are a fantastic way of engaging the students and being useful at the same time, especially with the subtitles on, and if you can take the opportunity to go back over specific clips of the movie to focus on particular phrases or expressions.

I also used these with chinese students and found a popular genre was animated movies that can be watched by children but are not exclusively 'children's movies', like Toy Story, Cars etc.

My students were 18+ but lower intermediate level, so this is a good blend of accessible language plus sufficiently interesting to the audience. My other recommendation is ask them about their favourite movies - if they are already familiar with a dubbed version then the english version will be a winner as they will already have a lot of the context.

Good luck!
David
Last edited by AlexCase on Wed Feb 09, 2011 1:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: removed irrelevant link
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Re: Suitable Movies for the ESL Classroom

Unread postby samuel » Thu Feb 17, 2011 4:52 pm

Movies should be watched a lot more in the language classroom because they are an excellent source for authentic language that is produced at a normal rate. Depending on the level of English, I would consider always leaving subtitles on unless students are very skilled. Interesting movies that would be enjoyable are animations and comedies! For example, any Adam Sandler movie will always be a hit in the classroom! I would probably show the movie Click personally because it has a great message behind it. You can teach that to your students.
Regarding animations, Shrek is always quite appreciated and is easily usable to create fun post-viewing activities.

A list of good movies:

-Mr. Deeds
-50 first dates
-Big Daddy
-Billy Madison
-Happy Gilmore

Animations:

-Toy story
-The aristocats
-Bambi
-Ice age
-Antz
-Finding Nemo

There are so many great movies out there! The list could go on and on and on!
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Re: Suitable Movies for the ESL Classroom

Unread postby JEEPY » Thu Feb 24, 2011 2:48 pm

Samuel, I totally agree with you. I think integrating movies is an awesome idea in ESL teaching. As far as I am concerned, I believe that there shouldn't be any taboos in an ESL classroom and thus almost every movie can be used (as long as they use relevant English material and that they lead to a discussion). Also, students tend to be more involved in the movie if they watch something unexpected or something that can be considered harsh. One movie I would recommend watching in class is American beauty: awesome movie and you have a lot you can say about it. Also, maybe you can share movies you really enjoyed when you were their age (they probably didn't see). Also, make sure they didn't see the movie (if more than 5 students have seen it, scratch it from the list). There you go buddy.
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Re: Suitable Movies for the ESL Classroom

Unread postby MikeV » Thu Feb 24, 2011 3:01 pm

If you want to help them practice their understanding of English through movies, I suggest you first show them animation movies such as the ones samuel suggested (Toy Story series, Ice age series, etc.). With a colorful visual support, it is always easier to understand the dialogues. If needed, there are always the subtitles you can use. I personally like the Shrek series a lot, as they incorporate humour and morals through an easy speech with an easy-to-understand story. The story of each movie (there are 4) refers to well known fairy tales characters as well. If you wanted to make short questionnaires on the movies, you could even refer on these. It would be appropriate if you wanted to include extra cultural information to your teaching! However, if you find good movies that are not animated and are easy to understand, go ahead. It is always enjoyable for students when they can understand the story. I think comedies are the easiest ones you could pick for your students' comprehension. Note that I never taught english as foreign language therefore I can only imagine what it is like! I hope I helped you!
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Re: Suitable Movies for the ESL Classroom

Unread postby amrif » Thu Feb 24, 2011 3:05 pm

Movies are a great way for students to relax/unwind and learn all at the same time. They will want to understand what is happening so they will focus and force themselves to listen and learn. I would say that animated/cartoon movies are always a great choice. They do not use the most complicated language, and the story lines are pretty straight-forward. Any Disney or Pixar movie is a great choice. Some of them have already been mentioned: Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and Ice Age. Another thing that teachers can use in their class, are television series. They are shorter (between 30min-1hr) and this is very useful in a classroom environment.
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Re: Suitable Movies for the ESL Classroom

Unread postby cyndie » Thu Feb 24, 2011 3:06 pm

I think that movies are en excellent way to improve students' knowledge of English while having fun. Some movies are very interestig for kids and adults as well. I'm thinking about animation movies like Shrek or How to train your dragon. These are all movies that are perfect for students of 10 years old or around that age. In a later stage, teachers could even provide questions for the learners to pay a close attention to the movie dialogue. Having closed captioning movies is also a good way to improve students' reading skills. Overall, I think that movies are more than useful for leanres to improve their English.
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Re: Suitable Movies for the ESL Classroom

Unread postby samantha » Thu Feb 24, 2011 3:10 pm

Movies are a great way for students to learn English. Depending on the students level of English you way want to consider the length of the motion picture you are showing. Movies are great because teachers can choose to present the motion picture with or without subtitles. The subtitles will help students follow the story.
For less advanced learners, watching short television episodes can be a great way for students to learn English in context. Since the episode is short, you can also view the show more than once. Two viewings of the episode allow students to grasp the content, and it’s also a good way to make sure that they have understood everything. Before viewing a second time, teachers can allow students to ask questions to clarify certain misunderstandings. Then, once they watch it a second time, they understand even better.
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Re: Suitable Movies for the ESL Classroom

Unread postby nicolasbrunette » Thu Feb 24, 2011 3:19 pm

For elementary students any movies similar to Shrek or Ice Age are more than appropriate. These movies are amusing on two very different level: the actions and the conversations or topics are quite funny. This why I believe that these movies could still be appropriate for high school learners. On the secondary level, it is more difficult to choose the right movie since at this age, most of the students enjoy movies that simply couldn't be show at school. Many teachers like to ask the students what movie they would like to watch. It is not a bad idea, however you have to make sure that the movie is appropriate for every students. Watching the movie before is more than required. On the other hand, you are sure that they will enjoy the movie. However, please use your judgment!
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