Tips for Improving Your English Through Movies

Movies and films give more than just entertainment. Watching foreign language movies is a fun, motivating way to improve language skills. While enjoying a movie, you can be immersed into authentic and varied language, the visual context and new expressions that you may not find in a textbook. Below are some ways that watching English movies can help you to learn English, and guide you how to get the most out of this technique.

How watching movies helps to improve your English skills

1. Listening skills

Watching movies is a great way to boost your listening skills. You will hear English used in a natural way, informal English, slag words and phrases you do not often find in books or dictionaries.

2. Speaking skills

Repeating what you hear on the screen can go a long way towards improving your speaking skills, from your fluency, words linking, pronunciation, to correct intonation.

3. Vocabulary and grammar

You will have chance to learn many words, phrases and grammar and how they are used in real life.

Watching movies and films, obviously helps to improve your English. However, while some can use this technique effectively, many people find it difficult. For example, there are no subtitles; they have to keep on pausing and playing to understand; they find it difficult to take notes while enjoying the movie; they are not sure whether they can remember these words after.

So how can learning English through movies be made enjoyable and effective?

1. Enjoy them

You don’t need to understand everything. If you try too hard, it will be frustrating experience studying the language. Instead, try catching words and grammar points you already know and those you are not familiar with. You can pause and replay when you find something interesting or if you want to verify something. It is easier and time-saving if you have both English subtitles in your mother language. Since not all films have these, you can check the movie transcripts.

2. Re-watching, listening and shadowing

Re-watch your favorite films, and replay your favorite scenes. The more you re-watch, the more you can focus on the speech because you already know what is happening in every scene. Instead of focusing on what is happening, you can give more attention to what you hear. If you don’t have time to re-watch the movie, then listen to the film audio. You can rip audio from films, save them as Mp3 files, and play them while doing other things. Also, mimic the way the actors say the lines by repeating them. You can look at the transcripts while doing so.

3. Use movies to reinforce what you have learned from textbook lessons

You can remember lots of new words and grammar through watching movies. Just compile transcripts of your favorite films in a single document. For new words and grammar that you meet in the lessons from your ELICOS courses, you can find them in the script, then check when and how they are used in different scenes in the film. To better remember the words and grammar, you can re-watch, and listen to the audio, color-note the script lines of the scenes that have the words you are studying and repeat them. Repeat and act out the scenes until you can recite and understand them without looking at the transcript and your notes.

In a nut shell

Learning English through movies is an enjoyable and effective strategy to improve your language skills. Don’t stress yourself too much! Just enjoy watching movies, re-watch, listen and mimic your favorite movies and scenes. The subtitles and transcripts are also a great help. By so doing, you may be amazed at your language improvement as time goes by!

Teaching English As A Foreign Language – 7 Tips For Using Popular Movies

Movies and Videos in the EFL Classroom

If you’re looking to expand the role of movies and videos in your EFL classroom, what better way to expand the learners’ communicative skills, grammar and vocabulary than by using clips from popular movies? Try using these seven tips for stimulating learner motivation while enjoying a favored pastime of children and adults alike, watching short scenes or clips from popular movies.

1. Use pre-viewing activities

Before the video, warm up your learners to the theme and grammar using pre-viewing activities. A variety of these might include puzzles, photos and images, short games like “concentration” or TPR activities, a story or anecdote, or activating the schema of the learners’ in a number of other ways.

2. Have learners complete a chart while viewing

While they are watching a short video or movie segment you might have the learners fill in key information in a chart. Items like names of characters, occupations, family relationships, clothing and settings can be easily recorded this way. This allows the learners to focus more on the communicative aspects and less on actually writing.

3. Select a grammar point repeatedly demonstrated in the movie clip

There’s no need to leave grammar out of a video-based lesson or stage. If a useable grammar point or structure is repeated or prominent during the movie clip you plan to use, all the better. Just remember to pre-teach that grammar or structural element, even a class or two before the video, so that it will be recognizable in context.

4. Have a list of six to eight lexis

Select a list of from six to eight or ten vocabulary words, idioms and expressions from the movie clip or video you plan to use. Pre-teach these during the pre-viewing stage of the lesson. When the learners then hear them used in context during the video viewing session, the lexis will have added impact.

5. Make use of visual input

A popular movie clip is an audio-visual experience, so use it as such. While learners are watching and listening for general and detailed spoken information, include visual aspects for them to skim and scan for as well. How many? How much? When? Where? Who? How and why are good starters for capturing visually-presented information from the movie clip or video segment.

6. Allow learners to select their preferred movie clip

It can be quite a dilemma. There you have perhaps two or three or more movies from which to choose, but you’re not sure which your learners would prefer. So I have an idea, do you choose, let them do it. Take three movies for example, show the learners only the first five minutes of each, and then let them choose which they’d like to work with. If you have a clip in mind from each of the movies, show each clip and give them a choice. You can work up your activities and lesson stage plans confident in having your learners’ interest and motivation.

7. For post-viewing discussion:

If not addressed during pre-viewing activities, now is the time to talk about favorite actors, actresses, similar plots and stories from other movies, and what might be different or better outcomes for what as seen. Stage re-enactments, altered dialogues and plot twists your learners might come up with. Be imaginative, be creative, be bold or even funny, but get them communicating about their experience.

Prepare a Worksheet

You can prepare a one or two page worksheet to be photocopied and used by the learners for the video session. Alternatively, learners can copy the format into their notebooks. Just be sure to plan your pre-viewing, while-viewing and post-viewing activities well and your English language video clip-based lesson is sure to be an award-winner.

English Tuition – Tips For Learning English As a Second Language

If English is your second language, there are many factors that may stop you from mastering it but similarly, there are many ways to help you improve English. Here are a few tips that might help you to learn English.

Just do it and speak out without anxiety

The major problem many people encounter in mastering a new language is their own worry. They always concentrate on negative things. They worry too much that they will not say things appropriately, or that they will look silly, so they do not talk at all. The most effective way to master anything is to do it repeatedly until you obtain it right. Practice makes perfect! Similar to anything mastering, English involves practice. You should not allow fear cease you from acquiring what you want. Set a goal and go for it. You are bigger than yourself.

Learn English through Movies

I enjoy learning English by watching movie or television. This is not only a fun approach to learn, but it is also very powerful. By watching English videos you can broaden your vocabulary and hear the flow of conversation from the stars. Pick your favorite film, memories the dialogues and study how the way the actor converse, rehearsing it repeatedly. If you like to listen to news, you may give yourself chance to listen to English news, note down useful phrases that you wish to learn, you can also hear various accents. You can also improve your listening skill by watching news.

Learning English by Listening to English Music

Music is another very helpful way of learning English. Truthfully, it is usually utilized as a way of strengthening comprehension and vocabulary. The best way to learn though is to get the lyrics (words) to the songs you are listening to. Read the lyrics first and try to understand them. There are quite a number good websites where one can obtain the words for most songs. This way you can practice your listening and reading at the same time. And if you like to sing, fine.

Record Your Voice

No one like to listen to their own tone of voice on recording but like tests, it is excellent to compare your recording from time to time. You may be so amazed with the improvement you are creating that you may not mind the sound of your voice as much.

Tips on How to Motivate Your English Language Learners to Study ESL

Rod Ellis defines motivation as referring to “the efforts which learners put into learning an L2 as a result of their need or desire to learn” (1995).

The two main types of motivation, intrinsic and extrinsic, can affect the learning process. Intrinsic motivation is task motivation that derives from an inherent interest in the learning tasks while extrinsic motivation refers to the external influences that affect the strength of learner’s motivation such as that which comes from teachers and parents.

While some students have their own intrinsic motivation or external motivation, other students need to be motivated to learn. There are many things that you can do as a teacher in order to motivate students to learn. These strategies are based on various articles I have read below.

Students are more likely to want to learn when they appreciate the value of the classroom activities, and when they believe that they will succeed if they apply reasonable effort. Hence, “student motivation to learn is an acquired competence developed through general experiences but stimulated most directly through modeling, communication of expectations, and direct instruction or socialization by significant others – especially teachers and parents” (Brophy, p.40) When it comes to lower performing learners, teachers realize that such learners are accustomed to experiencing failure, hence, the teacher’s task is to help them experience success.

Here are some strategies and tips that may motivate students and stimulate them to learn.

  • Provide a supportive environment and establish a trusting bond. “Motivation is the feeling nurtured primarily by the teacher in the learning situation” (Ellis, 1994). Greet your students, interact with them, indicate a personal concern about them as individuals.
  • Cater levels of activity to students’ level – try and make sure that the learning tasks pose a reasonable challenge to the students – neither too difficult nor too easy.
  • Help students recognize links between effort outcome – learning is a long term plan of effort and investment.
  • Break down learning steps into digestable pieces.
  • Minimize student’s performance anxiety during learning activities.

Articles on Motivating Students

Brophy, J. Synthesis of Research for Motivating Students to Learn. Educational Leadership, Oct. 1987. p.40-48. (article summary)

Ellis, R. (1994) The Study of Second Language Acquisition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Primary English Education Policy 2001 in China

China’s Ministry of Education created a foreign language policy in 2001 The policy is entitled, “The Ministry of Education Guidelines for Vigorously Promoting the Teaching of English in Primary Schools.”

This policy has so many positive and negative effects on the society of china. An analysis of policy is given below please read.

The policy states that primary school students are required to start learning English in the third grade. This marked the implementation of a new foreign language policy in the country. The policy included a plan implementation schedule, curriculum design guidelines, textbook selections, training teachers and governing structures. There have been several concerns about the implementation of this policy and for a country with the largest primary school population, the practicality of the policy’s implementation raised several eyebrows. One of the concerns were whether the policy was only geared towards gaining the favor of hosting the 2008 Summer Olympic games or whether the policy promoted education equality in the country. Learning English has become high importance for internal and external examinations within the school systems.

n China, there is an exam for students to take to enter into college, called the National University Entrance Qualifying Exam. This exam requires students to test in three subjects: Chinese, English, and Math. Some parents in China find learning English so necessary, they hire tutors to start teaching their children English before they are taught in school

The English language has evidently shown linguistic impacts to all parts of the world. The effects do not only transpire in the micro socio-political lens, but it already holds a significant role that fuelled both the political and social development of societies. These developments then result to the involvement and transpiration of policy efforts and the discussions of language planning as part of the pedagogical component of national educational systems. One interesting case is that of the English Language Teaching (ELT) policy in the People’s Republic of China.

It is noted that China’s educational system has suffered from its unstable policies in foreign language education during the 1950s to 1990s – after the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. In other words, the English Language Teaching in China was influenced by differing political, economic, social, and educational needs at different times.

Also, the massive drive in the expansion of English proficiency in formal education has in Hertling’s words “the most ambitious language-learning campaign in history”

English As a Second Language Education Requirement For Amnesty Seekers

Both candidates running for president, McCain and Obama, have their own amnesty plan for the twelve million or so illegal aliens in the county. Historically, one of the requirements for amnesty was certification of the applicants' level of English proficiency or a minimum number of hours of classes in English as a Second Language. This was the case, a language requirement, in the early 90's when amnesty was given by President Bush Sr. But, eighteen years later, who is going to test let alone provide all of these people with these educational services?

Of course the tradition education system has the facilities to accommodate these people but it would take a few years of committee meetings to agree what, when and how to teach or test these new immigrants. The public education system barely handles the work load that it has before it now. Its decision making system is also very bureaucratic and therefore makes decisions very slowly with the end result leaving the decision makers not fully satisfied. It also leaves the actual needs of the students not very well met. There are also private education services that provide tutoring for students after school.

They are market driven so adjust what they teach and where they provide their services according to the needs of the market. But the teaching and testing of the new immigrants would only be a temporary niche market. Also, would it be financially viable enough for them in order to set up a bricks and mortar facility for these temporary students. The next possible option to provide theses ESL educational services for the new immigrants are the Non-governmental Organizations, NGOs, or Not-For-Profit, 501C3 organizations.

These groups range from religious groups like churches and synagogues to The Boys and Girls Clubs of America. They have facilities in place and volunteer staff that could step up to the whiteboard and teach English as a Second Language. Currently, some churches have experience providing English as a Second Language lessons to foreign students studying here in the US. Fairview Missionary Church – Angola, Indiana provides such an ESL program to the foreign Engineering students at the local University. While most of their current students' language proficiency level is much higher than the average illegal aliens; it would be a relatively easy transition to focus on this new group. Another possible option for these new immigrants to learn English as a Foreign Language and meet the amnesty requirements would be to take an internet based ESL course. The cost of the course would depend on who was providing it. However, online education in other subject areas has proved to be very effective and popular.

It provides universal access to education. One website providing the opportunity for students to learn English online for free is English4All.net. They provide regular lessons, video lessons as well as a chat room for the student to practice their conversation skills in. English4All's chat room is hosted by an avatar that is programmed with Artificial Intelligence. This makes the chat room open twenty four seven for as many students that want to improve their English. In the end, all of the above opportunities will more than likely be provided by various communities. While amnesty is not popular with segments of the population, it is not feasible to deport twelve million people. Whoever wins presidency will not undoubtedly provide some kind of a pathway to citizenship for these new immigrants.