What are the criteria for choosing a movie?

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What are the criteria for choosing a movie?

Unread postby Nightingale8 » 06 Mar 2007, 11:51

Dear Lucy,

I am currently writing a thesis on using video resources and Internet technologies in teaching English for students specialized in the English language. I am preparing a one year course programme "America through movies". I have picked up several topics (e.g. Family life in USA, Religion, Race & ethnicity, etc.) and am going to look for movies for each topic.
So, my question is whether you could advise what are the possible criteria for choosing a movie? There's a variety of movies, for example, on business culture in the USA, but definitely I can not use them all.. and can not watch them all. Probably, it would be reasonable to use only parts of the movies, devoted to this or that topic?
Thanks in advance!
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What are the criteria for choosing a movie?

Unread postby Lucy » 11 Mar 2007, 19:22

Dear Nightingale8,

One thing to consider is the language used in the film (or part of the film). I suggest you choose something where the people articulate well; it can be very frustrating for students to watch a film and understand very little of it. Also go for a variety of accents so students can compare how people speak in different parts of the country. Try to choose films where the language is above the students’ level of speaking. I suggest this for two reasons: people can understand much more than they can produce and there is an element of challenge. Using a film where everything is at their level, will be too easy and so not very motivating.

You are right to be choosing a range of topics; make sure you include a variety of opinions and viewpoints. This could be political, economic or social. You could also show films that show topics through different decades; e.g. youth culture or street gangs today and in the 1950’s.

It is also important that the films are intellectually and visually stimulating. Also try to choose topics that are relevant and useful to the students. For example, if they are business students, you can go for the business videos. If not, go for something more relevant to the students’ aims for learning English.

As for your question about whether it is okay to use part of the movie; I think this is the most sensible way to approach it. It would be impossible to do a whole film in one lesson and if you spent too many lessons on one film, the students might lose interest. I think it’s better to cover a larger number of topics.

Good luck with this. It sounds really intereting.

Lucy
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