How to make the most of films / movies in and out of class

This is a summary of the #eltchat which took place on Wednesday 28 March at 9pm (GMT)

New to ELTchat?

If you have never participated in an #ELTchat  discussion, these take place twice a day every Wednesday on Twitter at  12pm GMT and 9pm GMT.  Over 400 educators participate in this discussion  by just adding #eltchat to their tweets. For tips on participating in  the discussion, please check out this link and this video, Using Tweetdeck for Hashtag Discussions!

Apart from the odd occasion when I’ve lurked a little, this was my first #eltchat since I started using Twitter just over a year ago. It had been on my to do list, but with a class at midday, and dinner getting in the way of the evening session, there had always been a reason or excuse not to join in. When I saw this week’s topic though, I put dinner on hold, poured myself a generous glass of Rioja, and settled down to chat about using films in and out of class.

I’ve always enjoyed using video in class; I remember visits to the UK in the early 90s when I’d pore over the Radio Times, highlighting anything that sounded as if it might have even the slightest possibility of classroom use. At the end of my stay, I’d set off for the airport with my suitcase stuffed with tea bags, sausages, and videos where I’d recorded everything from documentaries to chat shows and sitcoms to soap operas, which I then topped off with films bought using my last few pounds at the duty free HMV. Since those days, the only thing that’s remained the same is my enthusiasm for using video.

So, on to the summary:

I say I settled down to chat – perhaps settle down is the wrong choice of word as that might imply I was relaxed; by the end of the chat, my brain was exhausted and buzzing and rushing and inspired. Especially inspired. The discussion was fast-paced and lively, ideas were coming from all directions, my fingers were tapping furiously, so much so that a lot of of my own tweets went over the 140-character limit and didn’t make it into the chat. Many others didn’t make it into transcript because I kept forgetting to include the hashtag, and it wasn’t until I read the transcript that I realised there was a stack of tweets I’d missed entirely.

Why (not) use films?

I got the feeling that everyone wanted to get down to the how rather than the why, perhaps because we all know that a well-chosen video can be motivating, inspiring, engaging, memorable, educational and entertaining.

As @theteacherjames says, “most people like film, why not use it?”  However, he recommends checking students’ tastes before doing a movie module in case you come across a student who isn’t at all interested in film.

Something else to take into account is the students’ culture, points out @Victor_K.

@Naomishema says that the beauty of film is that you can find something acceptable to ALMOST every population. If not, don’t use.

Just be careful that the film doesn’t become a babysitter, warns @SueAnnan.

What are they good for? Any guidelines?

  • There should be something to do before, during and after watching (@Sue Annan, @KieranDonaghy)
  • Using bits of films is very useful for context setting (@thetheacherjames)
  • They’re stories, like books, so great contexts for doing language work – role playing, storytelling, review (@AntoniaClare)
  • Film takes you into another world: slices of life, full length projects, discussions from scenes or descriptions and speculation etc. (@hartle)
  • Short clips good for intensive listening and pulling out language to practise (@theteacherjames)
  • Good for body language (@SueAnnan)
  • Great for looking at socio-cultural elements (@AntoniaClare)
  • Showing whole films in one session can’t be justified. Much better to show over a series of lessons (@kierandonaghy) This idea was echoed by several others, including @Marisa_C, @leoselivan, @SueAnnan, @AntoniaClare and me.
  • The closer the film extract is to behaviour rather than language per se, the more successful using film in ELT can be (@Muranava)
  • Prefer to use short films with little or no dialogue. Prefer the language work to come from their reaction (@theteacherjames)
  • Vimeo is much better than YouTube for decent short films (@KieranDonaghy)

Give me some activities, please!

“Trailers” were mentioned seventeen times, including retweets, so I’ve grouped  trailer-related activities together:

Activities with Film trailers

  • My trainees have been doing great things with film trailer clips with voiceovers this week. Blind student in class (@Sue Annan)
  • For pre-viewing, getting hold of a trailer is usually nice-  ask students to predict plot / events, and if they’d like to watch @Wiktor_K)
  • Or put up movie trailers on linoit and ask students to watch the trailer(home) and say whether or not they would watch the film (@antoniaclare)
  • Speaking of trailers, there are iPad apps that’ll turn pictures into film trailers, funhttp://t.co/x6azF27L (@ShaunWilden)

Activities with scenes from films

Before viewing

  • One activity which I also use for plays – give brief character descriptions and some lines to decide who said what (@Marisa_C)
  • If you go to http://t.co/2gxATtfH you can find key words and make these into a wordle for prediction before watching (@antoniaclare)
  • Give three possible outcomes to a scene and get them to predict the correct one (@SueAnnan)
  • Show scene – give word/phrase list/ ss create dialogue then watch (@Marisa_C)
  • Look at pic of the characters and predict what they are like before you watch (@antoniaclare)
  • Show students some stills from the film and get students to work out connections (@steve_muir)
  • Tell sts the story (with a few mistakes) – sts watch and find the differences (@antoniaclare)
  • Take a few things that are said in the clip, write them up and ask sts to try and work out the story (@antoniaclare)

Thinking, Telling, Reading and Writing

  • For ultra-intensive listening+reading practice: watch this example of kinetic typographyhttp://t.co/ZChGk0Xv  (@Wiktor_K)
  • Novels /stories followed by movie versions interesting too. Ss read Of Mice & Men, drew the characters, then watched film, compared (@theteacherjames)
  • I use scenes from movies to work on READING COMPREHENSION. doesn’t matter what language the movie is in, the issue is the task (@naomischema)
  • How about jigsaw watching? Small groups, each watch different segments on their laptops, retell their segments to others & order (@NikkiFortova)
  • I use scenes from films to practice LOTS & HOTS. From asking wh Q’s to inferring and predicting. Of course, we do it all in writing. (@naomischema) LOTS = Lower Order Thinking Skills and HOTS = Higher Order Thinking Skills.
  • Idea for cultural awareness – outline context have Ss act out in own language then watch in L2 – discuss (@Marisa_C)
  • I got my students to write movie reviews & post them to IMDB (@theteacherjames)

Subtitles and Dubbing – for after watching (or even before in TBL lessons)

  • Use Overstream to get them to write new dialogue for film scenes a la @lclanfield – have you seen his famous clips? @Marisa_C
  • You can also use Audacity and have Ss do voiceovers for clips @Marisa_C
  • Use Bombay TV  if you want to make Bollywood movies (@ShaunWilden)
  • Did great activity with advanced students correcting Google subtitles on clip (@hartle)
  • There is a lot you can do with both dubbing and subtitling in terms of contrasting language (@ShaunWilden)

Which films  have worked well in class?

  • “About a Boy” (@leoselivan)
  • “As Good as it Gets”  restaurant scene “I’ve got Jews at my table” (@leoselivan)
  • “Brassed Off” – Pete Postlethwaite after winning music contest. I use it when teaching culture (@mkofab)
  • “Dead Poets’ Society” – Carpe Diem Scene (@sandymillin) / There is not one scene in that movie that cannot be used for educational purposes to trigger discussion. (@DinaDobrou)
  • “Erin Brocovich” – job interview at the beginnning (@leoselivan)
  • “Four Weddings and a Funeral” “My Fair Lady”, “Vertigo”, “American Beauty”, “Fargo”, “To Kill a Mockingbird” (@KieranDonaghy)
  • “Little Miss Sunshine” – opening scene great for test of observation (@steve_muir)
  • “Love Actually” – press conference with the two leaders @leoselivan / the monologue and first few minutes (@Wiktor_K)
  • “Meet the Parents” – dinner scene first night. Here’s my lesson plan based on that scene. http://bit.ly/rIx001 (@steve_muir)
  • “Meet the Parents” – lie detector scene – to teach the present perfect @Marisa_C added later – lesson plan by one of her trainees
  • “Miss Potter” Go to wiki page and scroll to bottom for worksheets http://t.co/cLa4cNKT (@hartle)
  • “Moulin rouge” (@chiasuan)
  • “Notting Hill” the birthday party scene – the last brownie scene @Marisa_C ,  & “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” for creative etymology to trace all English words back to the Greek language (good for classes of Greek learners) (@Marisa_C)
  • “Shallow Grave” (@samshep)
  • “Son of Rambow” (@theteacherjames)
  • “Storytelling” – all scenes with Mike and Consuelo are great @leoselivan
  • “Supersize Me” (@Sue_Annan and @steve_muir)
  • “Waking Ned” (@steve_muir)

Anything else?

This is the section for anything that isn’t a film.

  • I love using Pingu to train intonation (@SueAnnan)
  • TED and Billy Collins http://t.co/4o8aoiIZ (@Mikeharrison)
  • Music videos with a strong narrative
  • TV series. @sandymillin enjoyed the Hustle clips from @antoniaclare´s Speakout http://t.co/ns06ga6K
  • I use Tom and Jerry cartoons lots, ask students to make the dialogue (@dalecoulter)
  • I like to use adverts – predict what about. Then see if correct. See how to improve it (@louisealix68)
  • 1-minute headlines by @chiasun http://t.co/qJX2P3yT
  • I have used film of 2 cats miaowing (1 minute). Get students to invent, practise, act out dialogue. (@louisealix68)
  • I used “how-to” videos & made groups teach each other stuff they’d watched (Wiktor_K)
  • Getting ss to make own commercials can be great fun too #eltchat – based on video commercials (@Marisa_C)
  • The Power of Words is a powerful & short , great message . scroll down to find link & four levels worksheets for it. http://t.co/klyrs7rq (@naomishema)

And what about out of class?

  • Been encouraging my esl students to watch local S.African films – good for previously mentioned elements (socio-cultural etc) (@SheetalZA)
  • @noemischema says short films are good for “flipped class” style work – students watch the film out of class.
  • I have two boxes of DVDs they can borrow (English films or English related topics) Lots of interest from students! (@mkofab)
  • Abu Omar YouTube channel is one of the ways we can use movies outside classroom to teach English http://t.co/thM418ps (@SaeedMobarak)
  • I get IELTS students to watch movies as a way of being exposed to English & relaxation – need to give guidelines, though (@rliberni)
  • I tell my students to watch with subtitles in English as this helps improve reading, listening, noticing grammar and more (@sandymillin)
  • I get my adult students to choose a series and watch at least 3 episodes a week (@SophiaMav) (Me too! @steve_muir)
  • I give my classes the task of watching a film per week and we discuss them in class (@dale coulter)

AOB

This is the section for anything that doesn’t fit neatly anywhere else.

Copyright

@SueAnnan brought up the subject of copyright and responses ranged from “it’s a minefield” (@leoselivan), to “it depends on the country” (@vickyloras), “it’s a big issue” (@antoniaclare) to “good question” (@sandymillin). I suppose the best thing to do is find out the legal position wherever you are.

Creating films with students

@teacherphili wanted to know if we were “talking about using existing films or creating our own with students?” Check out examples of some of his past projects here  http://t.co/p4YYyoqm
A topic for a future #eltchat?

Lots of great links were shared.

Videos
http://www.eslvideo.com/index.php

Pronunciation
http://www.englishcentral.com/

Lesson Plans and Ideas
@KieranDonaghy’s brillant blog http://film-english.com/
http://moviesegmentstoassessgrammargoals.blogspot.co.uk/
http://warmupsfollowups.blogspot.co.uk/
https://allatc.wordpress.com/ (Thanks @sandymillan for suggesting our blog!)
http://lessonstream.org/browse-lessons/
http://infiniteeltideas.wordpress.com/

Blog Posts
A fantastic post by @theteacherjameshttp://theteacherjames.blogspot.com.es/2011/12/silent-movies.html
Business and film by @muranava
http://eflnotes.wordpress.com/2012/02/14/film-extract-to-illustrate-international-communication/
Learning English Through a TV Series by @chiasuan
http://chiasuanchong.wordpress.com/2011/07/16/learning-english-through-tv-series/

Tools
Creating a video review
http://www.scoop.it/t/nik-peachey/p/230418636/task-6-creating-a-video-review-activity
http://en.linoit.com/
http://www.wallwisher.com/
http://audacity.sourceforge.net/
http://www.overstream.net/

Further Reading

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Resource-Books-Teachers-Susan-Stempleski/dp/0194372316

I’d sign off here, but there’s one more thing. …..The morning after #eltchat, I just happened to be on Twitter when @KieranDonaghy was sharing film-related link after film-related link, which I reproduce for you below. Thanks Kieran!

Film Guides
http://www.eslnotes.com/synopses.html
http://www.filmeducation.org/resources/film_library/getfilms.php?id=A

Film Scripts
http://www.script-o-rama.com/snazzy/dircut.html
http://www.dailyscript.com/

Watch films online
http://www.openculture.com/freemoviesonline

Film Studies
http://filmstudiesforfree.blogspot.com.es/

Educational Videos
http://watchknowlearn.org/default.aspx
http://educationalmovies.blogspot.com.es/

Inspirational Clips
http://www.wingclips.com/

Film Term Glossary
http://www.filmsite.org/filmterms.html

Short Films
http://www.shortoftheweek.com/
http://shortsbay.com/

Film in Language Teaching Association (ask for an invite to join)
http://www.filta.org.uk/index-3.html

Speeches in Movies
http://americanrhetoric.com/moviespeeches.htm

Movie Scenes for Classroom Use
http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2010/02/01/the-best-movie-scenes-to-use-for-english-language-development/

Lesson Plans and Resources
http://www.frankwbaker.com/film_links.htm

Quizzes and Games
http://www.sporcle.com/games/tags/movie

How to Watch a Movie
http://www.filmsite.org/filmview.html

Bowling for Columbine
http://bowlingforcolumbine.michaelmoore.com/index.php

1000 Greatest Movies of all Time
http://www.theyshootpictures.com/gf1000_top100films.htm

Last but not least, I just happened to be on Twitter again the evening after the chat when @mkofab posted a link to this documentary site. Thanks Mieke!
http://www.journeyman.tv/

And that’s all from me. I’ll sign off by thanking everyone for a great chat, and congratulations to #eltchat on being nominated for an ELTon.



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