Published 17th May 2019
These days English as a Foreign Language teachers regularly use authentic materials from popular culture in the EFL classroom. Movies, songs, magazines, novels and newspapers can all be found in the EFL classroom, but one of the most well-liked creations is often ignored: sitcoms. How about using sitcoms in the EFL classroom?
Sitcoms are popular the world over – from Friends to Modern Family to How I Met Your Mother to The Office. Sitcoms are popular with all cultures and appeal to all ages and all personalities. There are so many sitcoms out there that you are sure to find at least a handful that would be suitable for your students. But there are more reasons than just popularity for using sitcoms in your EFL classroom.
6 reasons for using sitcoms in the EFL classroom
They are a good source of language
Sitcoms are contemporary and mainstream. Consequently they are a great source of natural, authentic language. They are able to show our learners the way real people talk, which is something many EFL textbooks don’t do very well. They showcase genuine situations without being contrived or unnatural.
They are funny
Sitcoms are by their very definition humorous. Sitcoms are able to introduce a culture’s sense of humour to English language learners. Watching Friends, for example, will help learners become familiar with Americans’ slapstick sense of humour. Besides, who doesn’t enjoy having a laugh in English class?
They showcase culture
Sitcoms are full of cultural references. From slang and colloquial language to celebrities and fashion, sitcoms provide a window into a country and culture which language learners may not otherwise be exposed to.
They are short
Movies can be difficult to utilise in the classroom because of their length. Teachers need to sift through ninety minutes of film to find the appropriate clip of approximately three minutes. Sitcoms are generally only around twenty minutes, which makes them much easier to deal with.
They are readily available
Sitcoms are usually very easy to find. Boxsets of whole seasons can be bought or individual episodes can be found on websites like YouTube.
They stand the test of time
Sitcoms are timeless. It doesn’t matter how old a sitcom is, it will always be funny. Though times and fashions may change, any old-fashioned aspects can be used as point of discussion, but it shouldn’t matter if you choose to use a clip from one of the first seasons of The Big Bang Theory. It will still be funny and the language will still be relevant. This means that you can re-use your sitcom lessons for years to come.
Authentic materials are the in thing in the EFL classroom these days. If you are looking at spicing up your authentic materials lessons by using something a bit out of the box, don’t forget about Absolutely Fabulous or Fawlty Towers. Using sitcoms in the classroom has many linguistic benefits, but it’ll also be fun for both you and your students. Using Sitcoms is a great source for authentic material in the EFL classroom.