Last September, I presented a workshop in collaboration with my colleagues in which we demonstrated how we had applied CLIL at our school.

It was at the XXXIII FAAPI Congress for Teachers of English. The objectives of the workshop were:

• Present and analyse some of the practical activities designed to introduce our students to CLIL.
• Demonstrate how a film can be the source of new contents to enable students practise and acquire new language at the same time that they develop specific knowledge on different content areas.
• Show cross-curricular contents in Literature, Biology, Medicine, Ethics, Art and Music.
• Hand in flexibly devised materials which can be used in their original form and/or adapted to different teaching-learning situations.

We also explained the reasons why we had decided to work with a film. Harmer (2001:282) asserts that there are many reasons why videos can add a special, extra dimension to the learning experience. Among them we can mention:


• Students do not only hear language, they see it too.
• Videos offer unique opportunities for students to have a look at situations far beyond their classrooms.
• Most students show an increase level of interest when they have a chance to see language in use as well as hear it, and when this is coupled with interesting tasks.


Stemplesky (2003:365) states that films are closely associated with leisure and entertainment and therefore a great source of motivation for adolescents. Teachers need to lead students to develop viewing skills which they can apply not only to language learning, but to their film and television viewing experiences outside the classroom.

Film watchers do not normally concentrate on paralinguistic features, gestures, non-verbal signals, intonation, cultural details, etc., which give valuable meaning clues and help them to see beyond what they are listening to and watching and thus interpret the text contained in the film more deeply.

It is the teacher’s job to get students focus their eyes, ears, and minds on the video in ways that will increase both comprehension and recall and add to the satisfaction they gain from viewing. Adding up to the entertaining aspect students will also recognize how this medium can be used for learning.

The movie we had worked with is “I am Legend” (directed by Francis Lawrence and starred by Will Smith). We started our workshop by showing the audience the movie trailer and making them work with its script in order to extract which the main content areas in the film are, namely: Medical and Biological Sciences, Psychology, Ethics, Science Fiction, Literature. The first problem solving activity introduced integrated listening and writing and consisted of a puzzle in which the audience had to match the trailer’s script so as to have the complete text to work with. By accomplishing this activity, our audience that day could also experience the joy of working on different topics, some new and some already known, as our students had had.

Some of you might have also worked with this film or with any other, in ways that are innovative or that have helped to develop special skills or knowledge in your students. If it is the case, please fell free so as to comment on your experiences and let us know what has been going on in your country as regards innovative practices within the realm of ELT. I will be waiting for your posts!!!
Kind regards from Argentina,

Paula

Comments

Dear Paula  ,
 While thanking you very much for bringing up this topic, I would also like to mention that teaching English through showing films is very useful for the students.
Students usually love films and are curious to learn more about other countries or other ways of lives which are sometimes different than their own. They learn correct pronunciations & intonations by listening and watching an interesting film. The English learning classes are more vital and live by showing films and students may not find it monotonous.
Have a nice time and best wishes

Dear Amazinanian:

Thanks for your comment! I do agree that films have that very special power of motivating even the most "difficult" to motivate students. Children and adolescents have been brought up sorrounded by images and sounds and therefore, they really enjoy this activity very much. Moreover, in cases like the film I commented about, they really enjoyed the excitment of the genre, especially because they knew about Sci-fi theory and could understand the rationale of the genre. I really suggest choosing films our students will enjoy because of their genre, theme and values. You have to bare in mind their age, background and academic level, but above all surprise them with films little predictable, with spectacular scenes and special effects and whose stories help them to think and reflect about their own reality.

Receive my kind regards,

Paula

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