Teaching with movies in class – Updated 2021

Are you wondering how to use movies to make your English classes more exciting and enjoyable? This article explores why teaching with movies is an ideal method to adopt while teaching English. 

Using movies to impart the language has been in use for many years now. Movies can make even the laziest students buck up and listen in the class. It is the best way to improve pronunciation, tone, and accent while speaking. Spoken English classes apply this approach to train the students to get fluent in second language learning. If you want your students to be able to express themselves confidently in English, then teaching with visual cues is the best way to go. We will discuss a few creative ways to include movies in your English language teaching curriculum.

Teaching English with movies tropical background

How are movies more effective in teaching the language?

To answer that question, first we will look at some of the reasons why you should be using visual-based learning while teaching as a second language to students.

Exposure to natural speech

Movies will give the students exposure to the language used in real-life conversations. This will teach students what natural conversations sound like. Most students who are taking up English lessons usually do not come from an English-speaking environment. Hence, learning English from movies provides them an opportunity to experience and identify the nuances of the language from the native speakers. 

Make learning more enjoyable

Lectures and theory classes can get monotonous after a while. To bring back the interest and participation in the group, movies can be introduced at regular intervals. This will keep the students motivated and improve their willingness to learn the new language.

Access to a variety of accents and dialects

Learning from movies can also help students know of the various dialects and the appropriate pronunciations in a particular accent. For instance, movies about the middle ages will explain how the language was used in ancient times. Contemporary movies can better help them in using the language for daily communication with colleagues, friends, and teachers. There are many native English accents and dialects around the world and even within one country. Non-native speakers also have distinct accents. More exposure to different accents and dialects helps understand them better.  

The scottish are know to have a strong accent that is not easy to understand. 

scottish accents

Better learning with visual cues

Teaching through movies is more effective as the students will get to witness the facial expressions and responses in a conversation. This will help them understand the use of words according to the context. Films can also bring students’ attention to the verbal but also non-verbal exchanges more effectively. 

Wide range of teaching techniques

Teaching through movies or films presents unlimited methods of imparting the language nuances to your students. Apart from serving as the effective medium of developing speaking skills, it can also be used for a host of task-based learning activities. You can use the whole movie or sequences for listening, and reading activities or can use it for a variety of follow-up activities such as debates, group discussions, taking up role-plays, dialogue delivery, etc.

4 Interesting Task-Based Learning Activities Using Movies

Now we know how using movies can make a language learning syllabus more interesting and can help make the classes more interactive and enjoyable. This is the reason why both teachers and students love to have the classes through this medium. The internet also provides easy access to unlimited teaching resources. Hereunder we will discuss 4 interesting task based learning activities using movies.

Describe the movie scene

This is an effective method that could help students express what they understood from a movie clip in English. Teachers use this activity to promote sentence formation, ability to understand and comprehend, and, most importantly, speaking skills. In this task, the class can be divided into two groups. One group will be watch the movie without video (they can only hear, but not see anything). The other will only be allowed to watch the video but won’t hear audio. The second group should describe what they saw in the clip to the first group. The second team stands to win if the other team can guess which movie it is. For this activity, it is best to select popular movies.


Predicting the next sequence

This activity will need some preparation before presenting it before the class. You can divide the class into small groups. Play a movie scene. Give the class some time to come up with their versions of the next scene. This activity provides a lot of learning by developing their listening skills, comprehending skills, and the ability to come up with content in English. After the teams are done presenting their parts, you can show them the next sequence to help them analyze if they got it right.

Predicting the next scene - movie take

Enacting the scene

You can divide the class into two or three groups and give each student one character to do a role play. Allow the class to watch the clip together. Then they can take turns to enact the scene. This can be made more fun by including actual costumes, props, etc. After all the groups are done enacting, you can rate each performance and announce a winning team.

Definition – Vocabulary match

Make a list of the definitions of the terms that come in a particular sequence. Show the sequence to the class. Now give each student one of the definitions so that they can guess what the word is. For instance, if it was an office scene – a piece of furniture used for storage – Cupboard, people who work together – colleagues and so on. For every right answer, you can give the students points. Whoever gets the highest number of correct answers will be the winner.

Final Thoughts

We have given you several reasons to include movies in the learning curriculum and how you can use them effectively. While designing the tasks based on movies keep in mind the following points:

  • Appropriate content.
  • Student’s level of understanding the language.
  • The complexity of the language in the movie.

These considerations are essential to ensure that the clips or movies selected match the interests and understanding of the class.