How to use a short film in the classroom

12 Ago

We are often told how useful and motivating short films/series/cartoons can be in an ESL classroom. But then, we aren’t told how to exploit this resource. Some of us even content ourselves with playing the video and maybe encouraging a bit of a discussion afterwards.

Here are some ideas for you to use and offer a livelier lesson to your students:

Silent movie: turn the volume down, so students can watch while they explain what’s happening on the screen. Excellent to work with the present continuous.

Prediction: show students the image for a particular scene and get them to suggest a storyline to go with the image. Then play the video and feedback on the similarities / differences between the predicted and real story.

Jumbled dialogue: give students the script, cut up line by line. They re-order the text and watch the scene/film to check.

Gapped dialogue: give students the text of an episode, but with one character’s lines deleted. Students try to work out what the character is saying before listening to the episode to check.

What’s behind the chair?: Put students in pairs and sit one of them with his/her back towards the screen. Turn the volume down and let the other student explain what’s happening to his/her classmate. Do this for one or two minutes for each pair, so everyone has the chance to communicate in English.

What happened next? Students write a dialogue either to extend an episode, or to create a follow-up episode.

Role-play: Each student takes the role of one character from an episode and they role-play a continuation of the episode.

Some of the ideas have been taken from the BBC Learning English website.

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