Movie-based activities are a fantastic way to liven up adult ESL classes and provide opportunities for language practice. Whether using movie posters, trailers, soundtracks, or creating a student-led game, there are endless possibilities for using movies to enhance your adult ESL classes. Not only do these movie-based activities provide a welcome break from traditional classroom activities, but they also offer a wealth of opportunities for language practice.
So, do you want to bring the magic of the movies to your adult ESL classes? Well, good news – movies can be a super practical tool for language learning!
Just remember, there’s no need to make your students sit through a three-hour epic (unless you’re secretly trying to punish them). Short movie trailers or just a few key scenes will do the trick. Trust me; your students will thank you for sparing them from a movie marathon. And who knows, you might even discover a few film buffs in your class.
Movies can be a powerful tool for language learning because they offer a variety of benefits to learners.
If you need convincing (or you need to convince someone else), this should do it, so grab your 3D glasses and a bucket of buttery popcorn.
Movies support language acquisition and development.
That right there is enough reason, but if you are like me, you need more of the how.
Engagement: Movies can be highly engaging for adult learners. Teachers can tap into learners’ interests and motivation to learn using real-world and authentic materials, such as movies.
Authentic language input: Movies provide learners with authentic language input, which can be more motivating and engaging than artificial materials or exercises. By exposing learners to how language is used in real-world contexts, movies can help them better understand how to use it in natural and appropriate ways.
Vocabulary acquisition: Movies can be a great way to introduce and practice new vocabulary in a meaningful context. By exposing learners to vocabulary in the context of a story or plot, they can better understand the meanings and uses of the words and phrases they are learning.
Cultural knowledge: Movies can also provide learners with valuable cultural knowledge and insight into the customs and values of the people who speak the language. By watching movies and engaging in discussions about them, learners can develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of the cultures and societies where the language is spoken.
Listening comprehension: Movies can be an excellent way to develop listening comprehension skills, particularly for learners who may be more visual learners. By watching movies and paying attention to the dialogue and other audio elements, learners can practice their listening skills and improve their understanding of spoken language.
Overall, movies can be a highly effective and engaging way to support language learning, whether used as a standalone activity or as part of a more extensive language-learning program. By taking advantage of the benefits of movies, teachers can create dynamic and engaging learning experiences for their adult ESL learners.
Put on your popcorn pants and get ready to dive into these movie-based activities for language-learning !
The Big Screen Method: Four Movie-Based Activities for Adult ESL Learners
#1 From Prediction to Discussion: Using Movie Trailers to Enhance Adult ESL Listening Comprehension
Ready for your close-up? Let’s get the show on the road with these movie trailer listening activities for adult ESL students!
First, spark conversation by asking your students about their favorite flicks and genres. This will give you insight into their interests and get them pumped for the activity.
Next, screen the trailer and pause at key moments to let students use their listening skills to predict what’s coming next. Encourage them to use their language skills to describe what they see and hear.
After the trailer, test their comprehension with a series of questions. This will help solidify their understanding and boost their listening skills.
For some vocabulary practice, have students work in pairs or small groups to define or give examples of any new or challenging words they heard in the trailer.
Then, let the discussion begin! Have students share their thoughts and reactions to the trailer, using the vocabulary and structures they’ve learned to express their opinions and make predictions about the movie.
Finally, encourage students to bring their own movie trailers for a class show. This is an excellent opportunity for them to hone their listening skills and discover new movies.
#2: From Vocabulary Practice to Creative Writing: Movie Posters as a Teaching Tool
Get your students’ creative juices flowing with these fun and engaging movie poster activities for adult ESL classes!
For a vocabulary boost, show students a movie poster and challenge them to guess the meanings of unfamiliar words or phrases. This activity can introduce new vocabulary in a memorable and interactive way. Encourage students to teach each other by sharing words that come to mind when looking at the poster.
To practice creative writing and storytelling skills, show students a movie poster and have them come up with a story based on what they see. Here’s how to structure the activity:
- Show the students a movie poster and give them a few minutes to observe the characters, setting, and other details.
- Divide the students into small groups and have them brainstorm ideas for a story based on the movie poster. Encourage them to think creatively and develop unique and interesting plot ideas.
- As a group, have the students decide on a basic outline for their story, including the main characters, setting, and plot points.
- Have each student write a paragraph or two based on the outline they developed as a group. Encourage them to use descriptive language and focus on developing their characters and setting.
- Have the students share their writing with the class and receive feedback and suggestions for improvement.
To guide the students’ writing, ask questions such as: Who are the main characters in your story? What are their personalities and motivations? What is the setting for your story? How does the setting impact the plot and characters? What is the central conflict or problem in your story? How do the characters try to solve it? How do the characters change or grow over the course of the story? What is the theme or message of your story? How does the story illustrate this theme?
To spark discussions about a movie, show students a movie poster and ask them questions about the film’s plot, characters, and themes. This activity can encourage critical thinking about movies and practice speaking skills.
For a description practice activity, have students work in pairs or small groups to describe the movie depicted on the poster to each other. This can help students build their description skills and improve their use of vocabulary and language structures.
And finally, use movie posters as a warm-up activity to get students thinking and talking about movies before watching a film in class. Ask students to make predictions about the plot, characters, and themes based on the poster and then see how their predictions match up with the actual movie.
#3: Movie Soundtracks Are The Music of Language Learning
Get your students’ toes tapping and their language skills soaring with these fun and creative ways to use movie soundtracks in adult ESL classes!
For a listening comprehension activity, play a song from a movie soundtrack and challenge students to jot down as many details as they can based on what they hear. Then, dive into a class discussion to practice speaking and comprehension skills.
To introduce new vocabulary in a memorable way, play a song from a movie soundtrack and have students guess the meanings of unfamiliar words or phrases.
Encourage students to flex their writing muscles by playing a song from a movie soundtrack and having them write their own lyrics based on the theme of the song. This activity can get students to think about the emotions and themes in movies.
To spark discussion about a film, play a song from its soundtrack and ask students questions about the film’s plot, characters, and themes. This activity can encourage critical thinking about movies and practice speaking skills.
Finally, have students work in pairs or small groups to describe the movie or scene depicted in the song to each other. This activity can help students build their description skills and improve their use of vocabulary and language structures.
And the best part? Your students will be humming these tunes long after the class is over!
#4: Movie buffs unite: Creating a student-led trivia game for adult ESL movie lovers
Ready to take their movie appreciation to the next level? Try creating a trivia game with your adult ESL students! Here’s how:
- Brainstorm a list of movies with your students. Encourage them to suggest favorite films or ones they think would be fun to use in a game.
- Tell students to break into small groups and then have them divide the movies into categories. They could go by genre (like action, comedy, drama) or decade (like movies from the 1980s).
- Switch up the groups and have them craft trivia questions based on the movies. Encourage students to focus on plot points, character development, themes, or any other aspect of the movie that you think would be interesting for your students.
- Play the trivia game in class. Divide students into teams and have them take turns answering questions, or have students play individually and see who gets the most right.
By involving your students in the creation of the trivia game, you’ll tailor it to their interests and language level. This will make the game more engaging and relevant, and your students will be more motivated to participate.”
Okay, it’s time to roll the credits on this. From watching trailers and discussing films to creating role-play scenarios and tackling trivia questions, the options for incorporating movies into your lesson plans are endless. So why not make your next class a blockbuster hit by incorporating one or more of these movie-based activities into your lesson plan? Your students will love the chance to engage with films and practice their English in a new and dynamic way. Plus, you’ll get to experience the magic of movies in the classroom alongside them! So don’t be afraid to add a little Hollywood flair to your adult ESL classes – your students (and you) will be glad you did.
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