Today’s post will be about using Film in the MFL classroom and sharing some of the tips and advice I learned from a CILT A Level conference in 2010 run by Tyneside Cinema on using short film in MFL and a recent workshop run by Adalgisa Serio and the Manchester Association for Language Learning on the same topic. From both workshops I picked up a whole load of resources and ideas, far too many to mention here so I’d like to just include the ones that stood out for me.
Firstly Adalgisa introduced the idea that “film is one of the closest mediums to a real life” – (setting, dialogues, interaction, regional accents and time periods). I really liked this idea and how the students when watching a film/clip take a lot of these things in unconsciously especially if you have just one focus.
Film is ideal for introducing cultural, socio-political and historical elements perfect for A2 and encourages students to reflect & analyse social phenomena such as the difference between immigration vs emigration. When students watch and listen to a dialogue within film, it provides an excellent model for ‘speaking in context’.
Obviously using full length films is an option more suited to GCSE and A Level but there are so many other things you can include into your day-to-day lessons such as short films, cartoons, silent clips and microshorts (which are films of 60-90 seconds in length-see filminute) which can be used for icebreakers, quick language points, listening skills, and as a discussion starter.
Here is a great short called Oktapodi that was nominated for an Oscar in 2009 for Animated Short Film of the year:
Ideas for activities before during & after to ensure active watching:
- Use still images to elicit ideas & try to predict story line/characters
- Show the first scene, what came before/will come after?
- Video without sound or just listen with no visual
- Tick boxes to check comprehension in Target Language while watching film
- Map the changes in character/mood, is there a relationship between them?
- Spot the function/grammar
- Play soundtrack & have a tick list for moods – joyeux/terrifiant/angoissant
- True/False activity
- Cut off final few frames for prediction
- Re-order the plot
- Who said what – match the characters & the quotes
- Dramatize using still images as prompts – no script to encourage spontaneous language
- Open dialogues – imagine the other character (eg dialogue on the telephone) or imagine what the people in the scene are thinking
- Rewrite a scene from the film – how else could it have started/ended?
- Interview the director/characters = to improve questioning skills
There were so many ideas that I came away with a head buzzing with them and knowing that just 2 or three could take up a whole lesson. What I liked about Adalgisa’s workshop was that she had thought about how to get the very most out of using films and film clips in the MFL classroom and this was shown through the abundance of activities to cover different points of the lesson and film watching to make sure the students were fully engaged and not watching passively. If you have any more ideas please do post below
Some useful websites:
- Best French Short Films
- Movie Segments to Assess Grammar Goals
- Spanish Films – VideoMaria
- CILT A Level language conference including notes for Film workshop
- FILTA (Film in Language Education) excellent resources but you do have to request to join for some reason