Movies are an enjoyable way to study English and a powerful tool to vary the learning process. Every now and then a lot of teachers use short movies in their lessons. How about organizing feature-length movie lessons for your students? Movie Clubs for English learners will definitely help them enlarge vocabulary, improve listening skills, get exposure to real-life conversation, the natural flow of speech, spoken grammar, common idioms, and slang. What is more, they learn the information from interesting contexts, as a result, they remember it better.
How exactly can you conduct movie clubs?
Below I will describe several different ways to organize an informal lesson with a movie watching.
1) In class language-focused movie club
The purpose of this type of movie club is to enrich students’ vocabulary, expose them to grammar, and practice listening skills. Students watch the movie and do while-watching tasks. You can divide the movie into parts and check tasks and have discussions after each part. Alternatively, watch the movie during several classes, following the same stages as in practicing listening skills.
Watching the movie in the classroom is the best way to make sure that every student goes through the entire movie. The results will be great.
If you don’t have enough time to watch the whole movie in class, you can:
- choose several episodes and work with them;
- assign watching the movie and doing vocabulary exercises (a list of vocabulary from the video to learn and use in the lesson, worksheets with practice tasks, Quizlet cards to memorize the words) at home and then have a language or grammar analysis and practice, pronunciation work and a productive discussion in the class.
2) Outside classroom language-focused movie club
An online movie club is also a great way to let your students have extra practice outside the classroom. Create a Facebook group/WhatsApp chat etc. where you will create a poll with a list of movies and let your students choose what to watch, organize a pre-watching discussion, set the deadline for watching the whole movie, and doing vocabulary work/while-watching tasks. You will also share tasks, lesson plans, hold interesting discussions there, students can post their reviews as well. You can use that ‘movie group’ to inspire students to watch something else connected to the topic discussed, ask students how the movie made them feel/what new vocabulary they’ve learned, add extra information/activities after the lesson. Here are the examples of worksheets.
3) Culture-focused movie club
This type of movie club is not about the language. It is about watching a movie to raise your student’s cultural awareness, discuss social/political issues, develop critical thinking, become more confident in expressing opinions. You can let your students watch the movie with subtitles as they need to focus mainly not on the language, but the context. During the film, press ‘pause’ at critical points in the plot, and discuss, explain what happened and why. This is a great way to keep students involved in the story.
I held such movie clubs while working as a Russian Teaching Assistant in the USA. I was surprised that a lot of students attended them even though those movie clubs were not part of the curriculum and didn’t give any points or credits. Students just loved to discuss and learn more about Russia and the culture.
These are the ways of organizing movie clubs that I have tried with my students aged 13-35. Share in the comment section below your experience of using movies in lessons.
Speaking activities are, obviously, essential for English language speaking classes. A lot of students join classes particularly to develop their communicative competence, become more fluent, versatile, adaptable, and confident communicators in English. However, designing speaking activities might be time-consuming and nerve-wracking for any teacher. We have prepared a memo with superb ready-made speaking tasks that will make your student talking. Download it here.