Technologically and linguistically adventurous EFL teacher, trainer, writer and manager

A couple of weeks ago we were talking about films in my teen class. I asked them to write the names of a few English-language films they knew on the board. The five, normally completely apathetic, teens (2 girls, 3 boys) then proceeded to fill every last centimetre of my 1.5 x 3m board with about 100 film titles.

Since then I’ve been wondering how I can harness this enthusiasm and this language, and haven’t come up with anything, so I thought I’d ask for help.

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Comments on: "Harnessing teen enthusiasm" (10)

  1. Have you read my post on using videos in the classroom?

    You may like to watch Flipping Education while you’re at it, too.
    Cheers!
    Chiew

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  2. Just off the top of my head, maybe a quiz?

    Which film involves a teenage boy carrying a teenage girl up a tree effortlessly? Sort of thing. I mean a student generated quiz to ask each other. (A bit ashamed to admit I know *that* film, actually.)

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  3. I have an interesting problem every time I try this. Movies get titles in Hebrew here (even though they are shown in English with Hebrew subtitles). Sometimes the names are very different from the original English (names designed to draw audiences). I am familiar with only some of the movies my students prefer and unless I prepare carefully in advance am not able to recognize the original film and have nothing to say about it!
    When you do know the name though, IMDB.com is a valuable resource!

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  4. Hi Naomi,
    Films are released with Czech titles here and, as with Hebrew, the titles are often quite different. However, films are one of my four big passions (teaching, travelling and languages being the other three!) so I’m generally familiar with most of the film titles even if I’ve never seen them. This was the most frustrating thing – I know a fair amount about the films and had no idea what to do with the list of names to make it into a more dogme-style lesson.
    I love IMDB!
    Sandy

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  5. O.K, back on track here!
    List of names of movies on the board. Then:
    * Ask the students which movies they would watch on a date, which are better to watch with guys / girls only, etc. Have them explain.
    * Write (or say, I always think “write”, you know) a sentence such as : “Two people meet, fall in love, quarell and then get married” Which movies have a plot line similar to this? Then YOU group a few movies and help the students create a sentence to describe that kind of plot line (lots of shooting and car chases / only one person can save the world, etc.)
    * Have students describe their “movie watching” habits: do they eat popcorn, do they chat during the film, are they able to watch the same movie several times, etc.

    Hope that helped!

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  6. You’ve got a big selection there. I’d probably try some kind of story telling exercise. First have a show of hands to find out two or three of the most popular movies. Divide the class into groups so that everyone is in a group with other people who have seen the same movie as they have.

    Then, with a note-taker, they have to rebuild the story from memory. Teacher moves around providing vocab and help (if they’ve seen the movie) and the the movie storyline is presented to the rest of the class. Teacher could mark on detail provided, vocab, structure, pronunciation, etc? Or if they are a creative bunch they could try a little scene reenactment and give out class “Oscars”.

    First of all it would probably be a good idea to teach “spoilers” and “twist endings” and try and get the activity to avoid people from “giving away” an ending to a movie that others in the class haven’t seen.

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  7. Thank you for the blog. Great idea.

    Alternatively, if you wanted the teens to work on comparatives or giving opinions (politely!) then they could try to make a case why their favourite film is the best film and better than the rest.

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