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.