Published 4th March 2019
Everyone loves movies and we all have our favourites. From cult classics like the Big Lebowski or The Usual Suspects to blockbusters like Jurassic Park and Independence Day, movies are a favourite pastime for people across the globe* and have become part of everyday culture.
Taking movies into the classroom and using them during lessons can be a helpful teaching tool. We’re not talking about pulling out the TV and DVD player, hitting play and leaving your students alone in darkness for two hours while you catch up on your emails. We’re talking about using movies as a valuable tool to enhance your lessons.
Three ways you can seamlessly bring movies into the classroom.
1. Press pause
There is no need to watch an entire movie to illustrate a point. Pressing pause at various points throughout a scene or clip can be valuable in addressing various topics in the classroom. Ask your students concept-checking questions during the pause about what they have just viewed and predictive questions about what they expect to see in the upcoming scenes. It’s also a great tool for making sure your students are paying attention.
2. Use video clips
Gone are the days of fast-forwarding to a specific part of the movie to introduce or explain a language structure. Nowadays, many websites have singled out movie scenes, making it easy to find a specific video clip that illustrates your target language. If the students like the movie and are interested in watching it, they can do so in their own time.
3. Use trailers
We all know that trailers are designed to draw viewers in, showing us the highlights of the story and leaving us wanting to know more. Trailers can be used for class discussions on genre, plot or a related topic. As they’re usually approximately three minutes in length, trailers can be replayed to ensure students fully understand the point being demonstrated, making them the perfect teaching tool.
Now that you know how to effectively bring movies into your EFL classroom, you can start using them to focus on language. Ask your class if they have any specific interests so that you can choose appropriate movies. It’s a fun way to ensure your students stay motivated during lessons and a great way to interact with your class on a whole new level.
*It is worth noting that not all countries have access to cinemas, and it is important to be sensitive to this issue if you are teaching students who haven’t seen many movies.