How to Teach English With Movies

Written by lauren griffin
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How to Teach English With Movies
With a DVD and a lesson plan, teachers can create an interesting way to learn English. (a dvd-r disc image by wayne ruston from

Movies provide a way for students who are learning English to develop an ear for the spoken language, expand their vocabulary, and connect with the culture of English-speaking countries. While offering several of the benefits of travelling, watching movies is a great learning tool for schools with a limited budget as it is significantly less expensive. With a well-chosen movie and a proper lesson plan, it is easy for a teacher to create an interesting and interactive way to teach English.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Movie
  • DVD Player
  • Television

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  1. 1

    Select an English-speaking movie to watch with your class. Be sure to comply with your school's video policy, if it has one. Choose a film that will keep the attention of your students. Popular computer-animated movies, such as "Up!" or action films like "Indiana Jones" are sure to be popular with students.

  2. 2

    Provide students with a sheet of basic information pertaining to the movie they will be watching, with a brief synopsis of the plot and list of the main characters. This can help students understand the gist of the movie and follow the characters. You can find informational sheets designed for this purpose online.

  3. 3

    Introduce the students to new vocabulary words. Before the movie, explain some words that the students may not be familiar with. Giving the students a list of words and letting them create definitions by using the context of the movie is a good way to ensure that students are paying attention and getting useful information from the film.

  4. 4

    Pause the movie occasionally at the end of a scene to check with your students and make sure that they are understanding the plot. It can be difficult to follow along with a movie in another language, so keeping your students on track with the plot of the film can be extremely helpful. Also, invite students to ask about any words they are unfamiliar with during these breaks.

  5. 5

    Highlight parts of the movie that showcase dialogue to teach students conversational English. Teaching about tone and body language can also be useful. For instance, in the film "American Beauty," a wife asks her husband to "make her a little later," in a sarcastic tone. While her words say one thing, it's clear from the context of the film that she is upset that her husband is causing her to be late.

  6. 6

    Have students create their own skits using words and themes from the movie. This will allow the students to use their new vocabulary and practice their conversational abilities.

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