How to use Films inside classroom effectively?

 Because of the advancement in technology, present day generation are more interested in visual stuff like television, cartoon movies and mobile phones. It is generally observed that most kids all over the world spend long time in front of these electronic devices watching with unabated  interests . I was just wondering how we could use this interest to promote and facilitate the teaching of English as a second language.

As it is known that most people like films, therefore using it as a tool for teaching English as a foreign language could be a brilliant idea. However the question that arises is how effective could teachers use movies?

It would be advisable for a teacher who wants to use movies to teach to take into consideration students’ taste. In this case, the teacher should check how interested the students are in film, because there is a tendency that not all of them might be interested.

If it is discovered that majority of the students  are interested in film, the next issue to consider is the type of film to be used to teach them. In this respect, one might take into account the students’ culture. The film that is introduced in class must be carefully selected to avoid any scene that might be inappropriate to students’ cultural sensitivity .This is to prevent negative backlash that will be detrimental to the process of teaching and learning English. A culturally accepted film will effectively promote the teaching and learning process.

On the other hand, identifying films or movies containing characters which are generally loved and accepted by students can positively promote students understanding and therefore the learning process. For instance, if you know that your students love Mickey Mouse ,Tom and Jerry, then these can be used for class presentation.

After completing the above steps, and you have chosen the most appropriate and acceptable movie or film, then you would like to use it in a manner that students would derive benefits from it. The following activities can be used by a teacher to make using movies in  class academically rewarding:

Firstly, I would like to show the movie in one session if it is a short one to give the students a general overview of what it is about. Nevertheless, before starting, I would like to ask them to look for how certain words are used by the characters in different situations. And also for them to predict what would happen in the next scene or at the end of the movie. This is to make them focus while watching.

A teacher might even transcribe the words of the movie in the form of text. This can allow the teacher to treat the scenes of the movies like paragraph by paragraph and gives students the chance to read what they have watched. In this way, when the movie is played scene by scene, each scene would be analyzed in class to extract grammatical, lexical as well as practical usage of the language in real life situations.

In conclusion, using movies in a class by setting specific goals for the students prepares and enables them to progress even out of the classroom, because they would have acquired the skills that  help them to deduce language benefits from any movies that they might watch. I would be most appreciative for any comment about how to use movies effectively in classroom.

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Designing Course Books for Future Needs

For those preparing course materials for students learning English as a second language, careful deliberation should be taken to understand the special circumstance of the students. There are many obstacles in learning a foreign language; especially to those who start it late. In my country Saudi Arabia for instance, students start learning English at intermediate school, so mostly it is not easy for them to cope; except with special effort. In addition to this, in secondary school, students are divided into two areas of studies: Arts and Science. I am going to look at suitability of the English Course being taught to these students and suggest how it could be redesign to make it fulfill it real purpose.

 Problems of the Course Book

The division of students to Arts and Science is done based on their academic performance, consequently students with higher grades find themselves in science and those with lower grades go to arts. For the arts students their difficulty is apparent; as the course is not easy for them considering their low standard and also it is not meeting their special needs.

Moreover, science students have much serious problem as they will have to pursue medical or engineering course and the medium of teaching is English language. Since this English Course is not design to cater for their area of science, most of them often face problem of understanding in medical school.

 Solution  

Having studied the problem carefully, I am wondering if students are going to overcome it and make tremendous progress; there should be a redesigning of the English Course book to make it suitable to the needs of both the Arts and Science students. The reason for this is that at secondary level all other subjects are taught in Arabic and English language is taught only as a foreign language. So a newly designed course book might help students reach their learning goal. Do you have any other method to share with us that can assist student of EFL overcome their learning difficulties? Your ideas will be warmly welcome.

Using Facebook to Teach English

When considering the technological advances in this our age, I was wondering if I could start teaching my students English as second language by using Facebook as the medium. Well, you might be tempted to ask; how intend to go about it?

In this connection, I will first of all create a group in Facebook by using the Groups tool in Facebook and clicking on the Create A New Group button. Follow the steps including making the group public. It will be made public because I would like students can find it easily.

Secondly, inside the group, I can post topic for my students to write on, then I will choose the best three for voting. This competition style stuff will make them prepare well and I hope will improve their writing skill.  Videos, links, and other “wall” items will be posted to assist them in their preparation. In fact, this is a means to continue the classroom in other settings with much flexibility.

Thirdly, using my own personal network, I will invite “guests” into the group so that they can contribute to the discussion boards. There is a real benefit to get other experts talking to your students. The students might establish fraternity with other students and much benefit can be exchanged.

Fourthly, I will make sure my  students always respond to my original post for a grade, and then give points for when they respond to others in the discussion board. Your guests will have to become members of the group to post to the Discussion Board, so let your “guests” drop out of the group early if they are only to contribute to one discussion.

Finally, I would I encourage the students to post a topic of their choice in order to ignite their creative. I would appreciate any suggestions on how to use Facebook for effectively teaching English as second language. Actually, I didn’t do that until now but I am just imagining.

Any comments will be received gratefully.