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  1. #1
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    Default What are the criteria for choosing a movie for teaching?

    Hi everyone!
    I am currently writing a thesis on using video resources and Internet technologies in teaching English for students specialized in the English language. I am preparing a one year course programme "America through movies". I have picked up several topics (e.g. Family life in USA, Religion, Race & ethnicity, etc.) and am going to look for movies for each topic.
    So, my question is whether you could advise what are the possible criteria for choosing a movie? There's a variety of movies, for example, on business culture in the USA, but definitely I can not use them all.. and can not watch them all. Probably, it would be reasonable to use only parts of the movies, devoted to this or that topic?
    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: What are the criteria for choosing a movie for teaching?

    Why not- showing different parts with different views of American business life is more likely to stimulate them and give them things to compare, contrast, discuss, etc. Taking a section that is harshly critical and one the is warmly supportive could easily be more useful than watching all of just one of them, which would also involve making political/agenda choices on their behalf.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: What are the criteria for choosing a movie for teaching?

    Quote Originally Posted by yeniao View Post
    Hi everyone!
    I am currently writing a thesis on using video resources and Internet technologies in teaching English for students specialized in the English language. I am preparing a one year course programme "America through movies". I have picked up several topics (e.g. Family life in USA, Religion, Race & ethnicity, etc.) and am going to look for movies for each topic.
    So, my question is whether you could advise what are the possible criteria for choosing a movie? There's a variety of movies, for example, on business culture in the USA, but definitely I can not use them all.. and can not watch them all. Probably, it would be reasonable to use only parts of the movies, devoted to this or that topic?
    Thanks in advance!
    Several of the ESL students I train are future exchange students. I try to show them movies that emphasize the weather, traditional furniture, the insides of schools and anything else that they will be involved with on their exchange experience.

    I also like to use movies as just a stepping stone. Students at the start think they'll get to watch a movie in English. But if they did, they'd be passively learning English and not actively.

    Therefore, I'll show a part of a movie that has something they'll be doing in it, and from there I'll take the discussion into other related areas.

    For example:

    A scene from "Radio" depicting inside a school hall.

    Do you notice the schools have lockers? Why are there lockers instead of backpacks?
    Do you notice the students don't wear uniforms to public school?
    How will you find your way around in all those people? What is the polite way to ask for directions...


    It helped me to view a movie as a tool rather than a thing that will teach the class for me.

    -Pappa

  4. #4
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    Default Re: What are the criteria for choosing a movie for teaching?

    Thanks for your advice. It really sounds reasonable to use separate episodes and work on them during the class. My biggest difficulty seems to be that I have to design a year course which would include a range of topics, i.e. Education system in the USA, Race issues in the USA, etc. What would be more appropriate to do: to use 1 movie or episodes from 1 movie for 1 topic or parts from different movies on the same topic?

  5. #5
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    Default Re: What are the criteria for choosing a movie for teaching?

    If you have to address certain ideas (i.e. school environment, home environment) than you'll find it easier to weave several bits from several movies together into one sequential topic rather than watching several movies just to link the relevant parts together and discard the rest.

    -Pappa?

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