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VIETNAM NATIONAL UNIVERSITY, HANOI
UNIVERSITY OF LANGUAGES AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES
FACULTY OF POST-GRADUATE STUDIES

---------------------

NGUYỄN THỊ HƯỜNG

A STUDY ON USING MOVIES IN TEACHING LISTENING
SKILLS TO STUDENTS AT HANOI LAW UNIVERSITY
NGHIÊN CỨU VỀ SỬ DỤNG PHIM TRONG GIẢNG DẠY KỸ NĂNG NGHE
CHO SINH VIÊN TRƯỜNG ĐẠI HỌC LUẬT HÀ NỘI

M.A. MINOR PROGRAMME THESIS

Field: English Teaching Methodology
Code: 60140111

HANOI - 2015



VIETNAM NATIONAL UNIVERSITY, HANOI
UNIVERSITY OF LANGUAGES AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES
FACULTY OF POST-GRADUATE STUDIES

---------------------

NGUYỄN THỊ HƯỜNG

A STUDY ON USING MOVIES IN TEACHING LISTENING
SKILLS TO STUDENTS AT HANOI LAW UNIVERSITY
NGHIÊN CỨU VỀ SỬ DỤNG PHIM TRONG GIẢNG DẠY KỸ NĂNG NGHE
CHO SINH VIÊN TRƯỜNG ĐẠI HỌC LUẬT HÀ NỘI

M.A. MINOR PROGRAMME THESIS

Field: English Teaching Methodology
Code: 60140111
Supervisor: Dr. HOÀNG THỊ XUÂN HOA

HANOI - 2015


DECLARATION
I hereby certify that the minor thesis entitled: “A study on using movies in
teaching listening skills to students at Hanoi Law University”, which is
submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts
in English Language Teaching Methodology at Faculty of Post-Graduate Studies,
Hanoi University of Languages and International Studies, Vietnam National
University, is the result of my own work. I have provided fully documented
references to the work of others. The material in this thesis has not been submitted
for any other university or institution wholly and partially.

Hanoi, 2015

Nguyen Thi Huong

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS


This research paper would not have been completed without the help of people
to whom I would like to express my deep gratitude.
First and foremost, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Dr Hoang Thi
Xuan Hoa, my supervisor, for her wholehearted support, continuous motivation and
precious guidance which were decisive factors to the completion of the thesis.
I would like to extend my special thanks to all the research participants. Without
their valuable opinions and ideas in the questionnaires, the study would not have
been accomplished.
Last but not least, I owe my parents their continuous support. Their patience and
love have helped me go beyond what sometimes looks like an insurmountable task.

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ABSTRACT
The aim of this action research was to improve listening skills for students at
Hanoi Law University by using movies in teaching listening skills. More
specifically, the researcher tried to (1) examine the effects of using movies in
teaching listening skills for the first- year students (2) find out the students’ attitudes
towards using movies in listening lessons.
The research was implemented with 30 first year students who major in
English in Law at Hanoi Law University during five weeks. When the theoretical
background for the study was finalized, the researcher began designing the data
collection instruments, which included two questionnaires, a pre test and a post test.
The overall result was that the listening skills of the experimented group did
greatly benefit from the intervention. The students not only got motivated in
listening lessons but also made progress in their listening skills.
.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
DECLARATION ....................................................................................................... I
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ..................................................................................... II
ABSTRACT ............................................................................................................ III
TABLE OF CONTENTS ....................................................................................... IV
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS, TABLES AND FIGURES ................................. VI
PART A. INTRODUCTION .................................................................................... 1
1.1.Rationale .............................................................................................................. 1
1.2.Aims of the Study ................................................................................................ 2
1.3Objectives of the study ........................................................................................ 2
1.4

Research questions ......................................................................................... 2

1.5

Methodology .................................................................................................... 2

1.6 Scope of the study.............................................................................................. 3
1.7 Significance of the study ................................................................................... 3
1.8

Structure of the study ..................................................................................... 3

PART B. DEVELOPMENT ..................................................................................... 5
CHAPTER I. LITERATURE REVIEW ................................................................ 5
1. THEORETICAL BACKGROUND ..................................................................... 5
1.1 Listening ............................................................................................................... 5
1.1.1 Definition of listening ....................................................................................... 5
1.1.2 Characteristics of listening .............................................................................. 6
1.1.3. Teaching listening skills .................................................................................. 7
1.1.4 Listening difficulties for foreign language learners. ..................................... 9
1.2. Using movies in EFL teaching............................................................................ 9
1.2.1 Benefits of using movies in language teaching ................................................ 9
1.2.2. Challenges of using movies in EFL teaching ................................................ 11
2. PREVIOUS STUDIES ........................................................................................ 18
CHAPTER 2: METHODOLOGY ......................................................................... 20
2.1 Research questions ............................................................................................ 20

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2.2 Participants ........................................................................................................ 20
2.3 Research types ................................................................................................... 20
2.4 Research approach............................................................................................ 20
2.5. Data Collection Instruments .......................................................................... 22
2.5.1 Pre- test and Post- test ................................................................................... 22
2.5.2 Questionnaires ................................................................................................ 22
2.6 Data collection procedure. ............................................................................... 23
2.6.1 Pre intervention. ............................................................................................. 23
2.6.1.3 Collecting ..................................................................................................... 24
2.6.2 While intervention .......................................................................................... 25
2.6.2.1 Listening Materials ..................................................................................... 25
2.7. Data analysis ..................................................................................................... 29
CHAPTER 3: DATA ANALYSIS: RESULTS, DISCUSSIONS ........................ 30
3.1 Preliminary investigation .................................................................................... 30
3.2 Evaluation ........................................................................................................... 32
3.1.1. The students’ improvement .......................................................................... 32
3.1.2 The students’ attitudes towards learning listening with movies ...................... 33
1.Recapitulation ...................................................................................................... 37
2.Implications for teachers ..................................................................................... 39
3.Limitations of the study ....................................................................................... 39
REFERENCES ........................................................................................................ 41
APPENDIX ................................................................................................................ I

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LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS, TABLES AND FIGURES
List of Abbreviation
L2: Second language
EFL: English as a foreign language
HLU: Hanoi Law University
List of figures
Figure 1: Action research model ....................................................................... 21
Figure 2: The students’ evaluation of listening materials used ..................................... 30
Figure 3: Experience of using movies in studying English............................................ 31
Figure 4: Effectiveness level of the experimental teaching course. .......................... 33
Figure 5: The students’ attitudes towards studying with movies at class ................. 34
Figure 6: The students’ satisfaction with the course after the intervention .............. 35
List of tables
Table 1: Data collection procedure ........................................................................... 23
Table 2: The Syllabus................................................................................................ 27
Table 3: Student’s experience of using movies in studying English ........................ 31
Table 4:Statistics for the group’s performance in the pre test and post test ............. 32
Table 5: Results of the Pair Sample T-tests .............................................................. 32
Table 6: The students’ preferences in movies ........................................................... 35

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PART A. INTRODUCTION
1.1.

Rationale
Listening is considered the most frequently used skill in everyday life.

According to Burley-Allen (1995), more than forty percent of our daily
communication time is spent on listening, thirty five percent on speaking, sixteen
percent on reading, and only nine percent on writing (cited in Miller, 2003). In fact,
listening can help students build vocabulary, develop language proficiency, and
improve language usage, improve pronunciation and develop speaking skills
(Bacon, 1998). Therefore, listening is a very essential element in successful
communication.
Despite the acknowledged value of listening in language acquisition/learning
and its complexity, the skill is still not receiving the attention it deserves in the ELT
world as compared to literacy skills (Thanajaro, 2000). In Vietnam, many students
have difficulty understanding spoken English when communicating with native
speakers in spite of a long time studying at schools, which leads to communication
breakdown. Moreover, some students often panic when they hear the English
language on television, radio, or in situations in which speech is fast and nothing is
repeated. This results from students’ lack of exposure to such real language
listening. Thus, there is an increase in the need of using authentic materials to teach
listening. According to Martinez (2002), authentic materials help learners improve
English communicative proficiency. Authentic materials refer to teaching resources
that are not purposely produced for language teaching such as newspaper articles,
movies advertisements, maps and comic books (Nunan, 1989). Therefore, the
researcher decided to use movies in listening lessons.
According to Garcia (2011), using movies is the best way to learn English,
improves the learners’ listening skills, and increases their vocabulary and English
language expressions. Besides, watching movies helps the learners to improve
pronunciation.

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As a teacher at Hanoi Law University, the researcher finds that the first-year
Law students who major in English must encounter a lot of listening problems. They
complained that they had had few chances to listen to English frequently in class at
high school and their listening skills had been scarcely developed, leading to the
frustration and pressure about listening examination. Exposed to real English
through movies, the students are believed to learn English in a natural and effective
way as they learned their mother tongue. To some extent, it makes students more
interested in listening English when they acquired the language for the purpose of
entertainment, not merely for completing a compulsory subject.
1.2.

Aims of the Study
As mentioned above, using movies in lessons may assist the student’s

listening comprehension. Therefore, the study aimed to improve the students’
listening skills by using movies in listening lessons.
1.3

Objectives of the study
There were two main objectives which were set for the study. Firstly, the

study was expected to investigate whether using movies in teaching listening could
improve their listening ability. Secondly, the researcher expected to find out the
attitudes of the students towards watching movies to improve their listening skills in
class.
1.4

Research questions
This survey aims at addressing the two following questions:
1. To what extent does using movies in teaching listening improve the students’

listening skills?
2. What are the students’ attitudes towards learning listening with movies?
1.5

Methodology
Action research was chosen as the primary research method in order to meet

the aim and objectives of the study. This method is also justified to offer significant
benefits for the researcher, who is also an EFL teacher.

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The target population of this study was from one class K39B with 30 firstyear students majoring in English in Law at English Department, Hanoi Law
University.
To attain the aim of the study, two data collection instruments were used:
tests, questionnaires.
1.6 Scope of the study
Within the frame of this study, the researcher would like to work on using
movies to improve listening skills for the first year students who major in English in
Law at Hanoi Law University. The study restricted to the first-year students from
class K39B to whom the researcher was in charge of teaching listening. Their level
of English was intermediate. It meant that this research mainly focused on the
intermediate students.
1.7 Significance of the study
The study is expected to contribute to the development of teaching and
learning listening skills. It aims at helping students improve their listening skills by
using movies. The significance of this study is that it will provide teaching
implications for EFL teachers in teaching listening. In other words, this is
significant for educators in providing implications for developing their listening
syllabus, methods of teaching and assessment. Besides, this research can be used as
a reference source for those who are interested in this issue and a supplement to the
previous studies on using movies to teach English.
1.8

Structure of the study
The study is composed of three main parts: Introduction, Development, and

Conclusion.
Part 1 includes Chapter 1 which states the rationale, aims, objectives,
research questions, scope and significance of the study as well as its methodology.
Part 2 consists of two chapters, namely theoretical background and method.

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- Chapter 1 provides the background of the study, including an overview of
listening skills, and watching movies for teaching and learning and the summary of
the previous researches on using movies for teaching.
- Chapter 2 demonstrates the research methods applied in the study with
details on how and why these methods were implemented. Besides, the data
collection procedure and data analysis methods are also illustrated in this chapter.
- Chapter 3 presents data analysis, the results and discussions
Part 3 summarizes the main issues covered in the paper, presents the
limitations of the study and some suggestions for further studies in the research area.
Following this chapter are the References and Appendixes for the whole research.

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PART B. DEVELOPMENT
CHAPTER I. LITERATURE REVIEW
1. THEORETICAL BACKGROUND
1.1 Listening
1.1.1 Definition of listening
Researchers and linguistics have presented different definitions on the
concept of listening, ranging from the simple to the complicated ones. According to
Rankin (1952, p.874), listening is “the ability to understand spoken language”.
Underwood (1989, p.17) defines that listening is a process of “paying attention to
and trying to get meaning from something we hear”. More expansively, listening is
a process of attending to the speech sounds and trying to understand the message.
While Field (1998, p.38) sees that listening is an invisible mental process, making it
difficult to describe.
The most comprehensive definition of listening is that of Purdy (1997, p.8)
listening is “the active and dynamic process of attending, perceiving, interpreting,
remembering, and responding to the expressed (verbal and nonverbal) needs,
concerns and information offered by other human beings”. This is one of the
broadest definitions as it describes listening as a complicated process that involves
the interrelated activities of both speakers and listeners. Listening is not the
unilateral activity of listeners. The language of speakers, verbal and nonverbal, has
great impacts on the listening ability of the listener.
Rost (2002) also broadly relates listening to a four-stage process regarding
receptive orientation (receiving what the speaker actually says), constructive
orientation (constructing and representing meaning), collaborative orientation
(negotiating meaning with the speaker and responding), and transformative
orientation (creating meaning through involvement, imagination and empathy).
As can be clearly seen, from the simple to the complex definitions, listening
is understood as an abroad term that covers listening comprehension. In other
words, listening comprehension is not a separate process but a component stage in

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the multi-stage listening. Throughout the thesis, listening comprehension is
understood in the same light as listening.
To sum up, listening is not simply hearing and perceiving spoken sounds but
a multi-stage process in which listeners actively grasp the facts and feelings by
attending to what the speaker says, to how the speaker says it, and to the context in
which the message is delivered.
1.1.2 Characteristics of listening
Listening is considered the most basic of the four main areas in teaching and
learning foreign languages-listening, speaking, reading and writing. In the past, it
was characterized as a passive activity (Bacon, 1989; Morley, 1990); however,
according to modern theorists, it is an “active process of constructing meaning from
a stream of sounds” (Berne, 1998; McDonough, 1999, cited in Thanajaro, 2000, p.25).
Byrnes (1984) further proposes that “listening comprehension is a complex,
problem-solving skill” which covers a set of sub-skills in regards forming
hypotheses, drawing inferences based on the context and the language used.
Listening requires not only hearing and perception of sounds but also understanding
of the speaker’s intended message as Byrnes (1984) indicates that listening requires
“an interplay between all types of knowledge” (p.322). Listening comprehension is
also described as an “interactive, interpretive process in which listeners engage in a
dynamic construction of meaning” with the involvement of linguistic knowledge,
background knowledge, meaning construction and responding. Thanajaro (2000)
emphasizes the role of background knowledge, discourse competence as well as
guessing ability in facilitating effective listening. Shrum and Glisan (1999) denote:
“Listening is a cognitive process in which listeners and readers draw upon

four types of competencies as they attempt to comprehend a message:
grammatical

competence,

sociolinguistic

competence,

discourse

competence, and strategic competence”. (p.124)
Vandergrift (1997) further stresses on the active character of listening by relating
it to a mental activity in which

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“listener must discriminate between sounds, understanding vocabulary and
grammatical rules, interpret stress and intonation, retain what was gather in
all of the above and interpret it within the immediate as well as the large
sociocultural content of the utterance” (p.398)
Furthermore, as Edwards & McDonald (1993) argue that input of the listening
process is spoken language which must be comprehended instantly, especially when
the text cannot be repeated; listeners do not have time to consult a dictionary or
review the previous message, constant attention are also required to gain
comprehension. Flowerdew (1994) also points out “listening text exists in time
rather than space” (p.10). This unique characteristic indicates listening as a realtime processing activity in which listeners must comprehend the message as it is
uttered. In other words, listening involves “attention to a continuous stream of
speech which is not under the timing control of the listeners” (McDough, 1993,
p.34, cited in Flowerdew, 1994). Schwartz (1998) shares the same ideas by
characterizing listening as a transaction between a sender and a receiver involving
short-lived message and the receiver’s lack of control over what he or she hear.
In total, the process of listening comprehension is highly complex. It as a
real-time process leaves listeners at a lack of timing control and, at the same time,
requires them to utilize different cues, both linguistic and non-linguistic in order to
gain comprehension.
1.1.3. Teaching listening skills
According to Underwood (1989, p.90), there are at least four common
methods of teaching second or foreign language listening: grammar translation,
grammar method, audio lingual method and task based method.
In grammar translation method, students listen to a description of the rules of
the second language in the first language. As a result, when the second language is
used, the focus of any listening is on translation of lexical items or grammar
structures.
To follow grammar method, the teacher requires students to look at a written
text while they listen to a recording. This forces them to do several things: identify

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words by their position in the sentence, work out the relationship between words
and phrases, use forward and backward inference cues, and make intelligent guesses
based on textual cues.
Audio lingual method of listening emphasizes first listening to pronunciation
and grammar forms and then imitating those forms by way of drills and exercises.
Dialogues and drill are the basis of classroom practice with this method. Students
are encouraged to listen carefully either to the taped recording, or a teacher reading
out, a dialogue, or a drill. They then record their own version or respond to cues
from the teachers to repeat parts of the dialogue or drill. Basically, the more the
students repeat a correct phrase or sentence, the stronger of their memory of the
structure will be.
Task based method places stress on activities or tasks that the learners do in
class in order to develop their communicative competence. A task- based syllabus
should be constructed according to the difficulty of the tasks required the learners at
different stages in a course.
In short, the four methods of the teaching listening are not mutually exclusive
and in reality, they may be mixed in any particular course or class. However,
nowadays, with the appearance of Communicative Language Teaching, teaching
listening seems to be more of meaningful to students due to the fact they have
chance to develop their listening skills and other language skills as well. As many
students feel afraid of listening, teachers should be a guide to help them and
encourage them.
According to Gardner and Lambert (1972), the way the teacher presents the
contents must be dynamics and interesting to get students’ attention. Besides,
teachers should have to look for activities and employ different techniques. Brown
(1994) also shares his view that before the class, teacher should help students think a
schema for what they will listen to. Underwood (1989, p.22) states that teacher
needs to provide planned and systematic opportunities for their students to learn
how to determine what an utterance or conversation is about; establish who is
talking and to whom and recondite the mood and attitude of the speakers. Part of

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teacher’s role is to ensure that the lesson proceeds in an orderly and productive way
so that the students feel secure and relaxed and unthreatened by the listening tasks.
1.1.4 Listening difficulties for foreign language learners.
It can be seen second language learners at beginning level have to deal with a
great deal of difficulties in listening comprehension as listening is a receptive.
Considering various aspects of listening comprehension, Underwood( 1989) points
out the seven listening problems as follows :(1) lack of control over speech at which
speakers speak ; (2) not being able to get thing repeated;(3) the listeners’ limited
vocabulary ; (4) failure to recognize “ the signal” ; (5) problem of interpretation; (6)
inability to concentrate; (7) established learning habits. She sees these problems as being
related to learner’s different backgrounds; such as their culture and education. She points
out that students whose culture and education included a strong storytelling and oral
communication tradition are generally better as listening comprehension than those from
a reading and book- based cultural and educational background.
Goh (2002) investigates listening comprehension problems in students in
college EFL studies. Findings include ten listening comprehension problems in
relation to three cognitive processing phases: perceptions, parsing and utilization.
First, in the perception stage, learners reveal that their most difficulties such as do
not recognize words they know, neglect the next part when thinking about meaning,
miss the beginning of the texts, and unable to concentrate. In parsing stage, Goh
(2002) finds that listeners complain of problems such as quickly forget what is
heard, unable to form a mental representation from what is heard and do not
understand subsequent part of input. Third in the utilization stage, understand the
words but not the intended message and confused about the key ideas in the
message are mentioned (cited in Cheng, 2005).
1.2. Using movies in EFL teaching
1.2.1 Benefits of using movies in language teaching
Movies seem to have a magical ability to grab students’ attention, so they
motivates students to learn English. According to Stempleski and Tomalin (1990),

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they are quickly attracted because of two reasons. Firstly, language is experienced in a
lively way. Secondly, the combination of moving pictures with sound can present
language more comprehensively than any other teaching media.
Nunan (1999) explains that practicing with authentic materials such as video
or film clips encourages learners of a second language to experience the target
language. Katchen (2003) also emphasizes the authenticity of the language in films.
Since the films are often made to sound natural to native speakers of the language,
they thus represent authentic language. Littlewood (2010) supports this idea further
by explaining that authentic materials contribute to social interaction and functional
communication activities, which support students to communicate immediately
outside the classroom. Stempleski and Arcario (1992) state that film clips present
communicative situations and bring native speakers into the classroom. In addition,
film clips show students culture, so they can learn how people live, what they eat,
what they wear. Using videos brings a great advantage in communication to language
learners. Video clips make students more ready to communicate in the target language
(Stempleski and Tomalin, 1990).
Watching videos enables students to listen to different varieties of English in
terms of pronunciation, intonation, vocabulary, idiom and usage and also to observe
non verbal gestures in relation to particular situations and cultures. Images
contextualize in videos or on its own can help to reinforce the language, provided the
learners with immediate meaning in terms of vocabulary recognition (Canning Wilson, 2000). Learning from video clips is also a chance for students being exposed
to the non verbal communication such as facial expression, body language as well as
pronunciation, stress.( Murugavel, 2005).
According to Allan (1985), films actually get students to talk and they can be
stimulus to genuine communication in the classroom by bring out different opinions
within the group. The realistic verbal communication also helps the students to pick
up the language more spontaneously. Stoller (1988) points out that the use of films in
a content-based curriculum gives the students an opportunity to explore several

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aspects of a given thematic unit. While watching a film, they can develop their
background knowledge.
Sherman (2003) adds that video and movie clips contain everything needed in a
class. Teacher can use them for discussion, debate, listening or writing assignment.
1.2.2. Challenges of using movies in EFL teaching
1.2.2.1 Lesson preparation
Even though using movies can diversify the curriculum and motivate the
learners to study a foreign language, using movies is not always straightforward and
trouble-free. According to Stoller (1988), using movies requires for instance
extensive preparation and thus some teachers may feel that using movies is too
demanding. Since teachers usually are rather busy, preparing film lessons is
considered too time-consuming and it is perhaps easier to follow a text book instead
of preparing the film and the related assignments. Moreover, Champoux (1999,
p.240 ) points out that using films is not only time-consuming for teachers, but it can
also take time away from other classroom activities.
Champoux (1999) points out that an important factor which may hinder the
use of films is the copyright law. Copyright restrictions have to be taken into
account when planning the film lessons. Furthermore, at least in Finnish schools it
can sometimes be unclear even for the teachers whether or not they can show films
in the classrooms. In these cases it useful to have a common custom at the school so
that everyone knows what is legally acceptable. The teachers should find out the
rules and regulations or for instance the principal of the school could inform them.
In addition, Stoller (1988) mentions poor equipment as a factor which may
complicate the use of films in teaching. However, nowadays the language
classrooms are rather well equipped, and almost every classroom has either a
television or a computer, which allows using for enable for instance gist listening or
retelling the main elements of the plot.
1.2.2.2 Teachers’ role
Stoller (1988) points out that the use of films and videotapes requires
attention and the teachers must play an important part in an effective film lesson in

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order for the film to be more than just a time filler. It is also important to remember,
that the films are neither a substitute for the teachers nor for instruction, but real
classroom aids when used properly. In addition, it is the teachers’ responsibility to
promote active viewing and the film should also promote active participation from
the beginning of the lesson in order for the students to be more than just passive
listeners and watchers.
1.2.2.3 Choosing the movies
Topics
Stoller (1988) emphasizes that planning the lessons well beforehand and
approaching the use of films systematically are significantly important. The films
should be previewed and selected carefully. It is also important that the students
understand the instructional objectives of a film lesson, since it is probable that they
do not necessarily consider the film as a teaching tool, at least not in a similar way
as they would consider a textbook. Thus, it is important to give understandable and
simple instructions to the students, in order to make them understand that the film is
not just an entertaining way to pass time but that it has certain pedagogical goals.
However, Allan (1985) emphasizes that it is important to choose topics that are
relevant to the students. The stories should interest and appeal in order for the
students to stay motivated. All in all, the topics should be both interesting and
pedagogically rich, which can be a challenging combination.
Level of the students
Additionally, one important factor that should be taken into account when
selecting appropriate movies is the proficiency level of the students and the
comprehensibility of the film. The film should be sufficiently comprehensible so
that students can complete the language related tasks and that the teachers does not
have to work too hard in order to help the students to understand the language. The
comprehensibility of the film is not determined only by the degree of difficulty but
also by the specific demands made on the students by the assignments. Moreover, it
is important that the students gain confidence (Stoller 1988). In addition, Allan

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(1985) points out some concrete factors which should be taken into account when
choosing a film for certain proficiency level. Firstly, the density of language is
important. There should be enough pauses in the dialogue in order for the students
to be able to follow along. Secondly, the film should provide the students with
enough visual support. This means that the visual messages support the verbal
message and it is also possible, at least to some extent, guess what is happening in
the film. On the other hand, for the more advanced learners there should be perhaps
less picture support, in order for them to receive a greater comprehension challenge.
Thirdly, delivery of the speech is also a factor that affects understanding. If the
characters speak too quickly or there are various different accents, it can be difficult
for the students to understand the language. However, for instance different accents
are again a simulative challenge for the more advanced learners. Fourthly, it is
important that the teachers selects good pause points, bits of film that can stand on
their own and still be comprehensible.
Link to syllabus
It is also important to link the film into the syllabus in order for it to be more
than a time-filling element. It can be rather challenging at times, and it may even be
one reason why some teachers consider using movies too difficult and timeconsuming. However, Stoller (1988) states that films can be linked into syllabus in
various ways: by language items, by functions or by thematic units. It is also
possible to use content-based curriculum, in which case the subject matter of the
selected film must be related. In this case students can benefit from their previously
learned information in the film-related activities or vice versa, reflecting true-to-life
demands. Allan (1985) in turn, points out, that it is important to think about linking
the film into syllabus already during the previewing phase. It is essential to know
the goals in order to be able to plan the assignments accordingly and to be able to
reason why using the film is useful for the course or class. By doing this one can
avoid the situation, where the film is just a time-filling element without any
particular pedagogical goals. Moreover, if the film is left for something ”extra” it is

13


also much easier to forget. In addition, Allan (1985) points out that there are several
different ways to link the film to the syllabus. It can be linked through language
items, for instance language structures or functions. The film can be linked into
syllabus through a certain topic, or by activities, for instance listening skills or
writing assignments. It is also possible to have a ’video slot’, where no specific link
is needed, for example a Sherlock Holmes story once a month.
Stoller (1988) emphasizes that the type of film chosen should also complement
one’s overall instructional and curricular objectives. Academically for instance
following categories could be considered appropriate: documentaries, historical
narratives, historical drama, educational films, social issue films, drama, mystery
and suspense and animated films. Allan (1985) points out more detailed notions of
certain types of material. Dramas include all kinds of examples of people
communicating and also segments that can stand on their own, in other words short
scenes that can be used without watching the whole film. The content of dramas can
be certain kind of behaviour or simply just entertaining, good story. However,
especially the short clips do not necessarily always work, since often some
necessary information is stated earlier on the film or the plot has been established
earlier. Also the flow of the conversation can be too quick, and the students cannot
follow and pick up for instance some useful expressions When choosing a
documentary, it is important to consider whether the topic is the students’ interest.
The visual support is also a point to consider, since sometimes the students may
concentrate too much on the information given verbally. On the other hand,
visualization can be also distracting for some students. Also cartoons can be used in
the EFL class. They are usually short, and they have a clear storyline. The humor
can also be a motivating factor for some students. It makes it easier to follow the
story if the characters are familiar to the students, and it also provides the teacher
with more material. The visual support is often rather good in cartoons, and it may
be possible for the students to retell the story even though they could not follow the
speech. Sound effects can also help to follow the story. However, cartoon can

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sometimes be too colloquial and the voices may be distorted. This can make the film
more difficult to follow, at least for some students.
1.2.2.4. Activities associated with using movies in teaching English
According to Stoller (1988), the film lesson and its activities should consist
of pre-viewing, viewing and post-viewing activities. This ensures that the students
stay focused and motivated throughout the lesson, and the goals of the lesson are
clear to them. The nature and the length of the activities depend naturally on the
selected film, the needs of the students, their age and proficiency level and
instructional objectives. Allan (1985, p.36 ) in turn points out that there are different
techniques for using films. The whole film can be viewed, it can be broken into
sections or only one section can be used.
Stoller (1988) emphasizes that the pre-viewing activities prepare students for
the actual viewing. Some examples of pre-viewing activities could be student polls,
interviews, problem solving discussion of the title of the film, brainstorming
activities, information gap exercises, and dictionary or vocabulary exercises and so
on. Pre-viewing is important in order for the students to be able to follow the film
and understand the storyline and characters. Pre-viewing can make it easier for also
the weaker students to benefit from the film and its many beneficial aspects.
Stoller (1988) points out, that viewing activities during the film, on the other
hand, facilitate viewing of the film. The activities help students to deal with specific
issues and focus on characters or storyline also at crucial junctures in the film. Some
examples of viewing activities are directed listening, information gathering, film
interruptions and second screening. For instance, a film interruption helps the
teacher to control whether the students have understood what happens in the film.
Thus, viewing activities are a simple way to keep students focused on the viewing
despite the length of the film.
Finally, Stoller (1988) highlights also the importance of post-viewing
activities. They are meant to stimulate both written and oral use of the target
language utilizing insights and information from the film. Post-viewing activities
should extract the main ideas, concepts or issues of the film, since the small details

15


may have been missed, and it is essential to understand the main points of the film.
Post-viewing activities can be for instance film summaries, alternative endings,
discussions, comparisons, speed writing, using notes for writing practise, role plays
or debates.
Allan (1985) in turn emphasizes that films can be used in various different
ways during a language class. A whole lesson can be built around it, or it can be
used as a springboard for a set of activities which follow it. Films can be used for
instance when the teacher wants the students to focus on the language, or practise it,
for presenting certain topics or producing a commentary.
According to Allan (1985), films can be used for elicitation, since they
encourage the students to talk. An example of a task could be silent viewing and
then delivering the dialogue. This could be done at the beginning of a lesson. Films
can also be used at the presentation stage to present some examples of language.
Films can also work as a revision and thus reinforce the things that have already
been learnt. Moreover, films usually present more vivid, varied and current
language than textbooks. Films actually provide the most realistic examples of the
language in use. Thus, they support the textbook and its language but also add an
extra dimension to language learning.
Films can be used also for language practice and use of visual prompts can
be useful. This can be executed for instance with video workbooks which have
still pictures of the film and some expressions which have to be combined. This
activity is suitable for previewing but can also be used for recalling. Also
different role plays are a fun way to exploit the film. Other activities are for
instance video drills and comprehension exercises (multiple choice, true/false
questions, gap-filling tasks).
Films can be used also for presenting topics. Suitable activities are for
instance collecting information or debating a topic. Collecting information can be
done with view and check exercises or listen and draw/check/compare exercises.
These assignments are very versatile and easy to vary depending on whether the

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students are expected to develop for example their listening skills or oral skills.
Moreover, especially the debates are a useful way to get the students to talk and
express their opinions about a certain topic. Furthermore, films are an excellent way
to encourage the students to produce a commentary. The students can for instance
produce their own scripts and find out how the films are produced. Using materials
which tell stories enable for instance gist listening or retelling the main elements of
the plot.

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