Orna Shane Florendo, online ESL teacher and trainer at Acadsoc.
Movies are some of the great tools you can use to spice up your ESL classes. When students figure out they’ll be watching a movie for the day’s class, they easily hype up, and the next question they’ll ask is, “What are we watching today?”
Choosing the right movie or video can be difficult if you don’t know why you’re using them in the first place. So aside from your goal in mind, you should also consider other factors that’ll help you decide what to show your students. One of these factors is their age.
Here we list down some age-appropriate movies you can choose from, with the idea that upon choosing these movies, you’re carefully tailoring these materials with your goals and your objectives for that particular lesson.
One purpose of using videos in class is to reinforce the theme you want to talk about, and videos are a great way of visually presenting this for you. At the end of the video, you can even ask your students what happened in the movie by allowing them to write down chronologically the sequence of events that transpired, which is a micro-skill in reading and listening.
Remember that employing movies in lessons only serves as a springboard and should in no way substitute a lesson. In the end, the goals and objectives you have in mind should always be met.
- For young learners:
Sesame Street, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Up, Charlotte’s Web, The Cat in the Hat, Toy Story, Matilda. These movies use simple language that is much easier for young learners to listen to and comprehend. However, in dealing with ESL learners, caution is important in making sure the students understand what’s being talked about. The great thing about using these movies for learners in this age category is they can easily enjoy watching them. They will want to understand what is happening in the story which encourages their sense of focus y listening carefully.
- For teenagers:
About a Boy, The Fault in Our Stars, Slumdog Millionaire, shortfilms from www.filminute.com. These are examples of engaging movies and shorts under this age category. Exploring different themes and talking about them with these types of students will allow for a fruitful free conversation to happen. One possible activity to go with these movies includes selecting excerpts from any of these movies and having students fill in the missing words on a worksheet. This will allow students to practice listening and getting to know certain words, phrases, and expressions.
- For adult learners:
Before Sunrise, Into the Wild, Dead Poets Society, Breakfast Club, Lost in Translation. These movies offer intriguing and thought-provoking themes and ideas suitable for adult learners, which allow for more open-ended questions and free conversation. Although they may sometimes offer a heavy dose of colloquial English and idiomatic expressions, they’re a great source of language materials to enrich your student’s vocabulary.
In summary, it should be noted that as a teacher, you should be cognizant about your learners’ level of fluency and comprehension in English. What it means is that, an adult learner might have a beginner’s level in terms of fluency in speaking or listening, so great care is required in choosing the right movies to show them. Nevertheless, by incorporating movies in your lesson, you’re also allowing your students to simply relax and enjoy watching them.
Online teaching platforms like Acadsoc encourage online English tutors to use short clips on YouTube to add variety to their teaching materials. Some even go to lengths using excerpts from movies like the ones listed above or other mainstream movies that relate to their students’ interests.