On the Pedagogical Values of Films (and Zines) in ELT Classrooms

An excellent job done by our teacher, Edia Connole, with her students.

In a recent study on ‘The Pedagogical Values of [Films] in ELT Classrooms’ (Ismail: 2017),[1] the author concludes that the latter play their biggest role — offering considerable advantages — in developing students’ listening skills and knowledge of cultural aspects. Further, the author finds that when the integration of skills is facilitated (listening, speaking [about the film, collectively afterwards], reading [-up on others’ opinions of the film], and writing [about one’s own]) — through, for example, the production of individual film reviews — students’ vocabulary not only develops but their grammar is enhanced too.

Having followed the author’s proposed methodology, we — as a class — have found this to be true, and, to this end, hope you enjoy our A2 Film Review (2019); the ‘zine’ format was a logical choice for us because in ELL — from Foundation to Proficiency Level — the targeted reader of ‘reviews’ is usually the reader of ‘websites’ and / or ‘magazines,’[2] and zines match this criteria while remaining self-published (self-publishing allows marginalised voices to express themselves beyond the constraints of mainstream media, while also allowing the authors to take control of the publishing process).[3]

You could check the finished project here.

Below, you can find some of the testimonials from our students regarding this activity:

“The experience of participating in a film review was great, being able to learn the structure and the correct way to write a review is an excellent exercise to improve our writing, I learned many things thanks to Edia, I’m very grateful.”

— Ledread Jaque

“It was my first time to write a review in English, so I was a little worried but the process and the results were amazing. We watched a film together, talked about it and then made a zine. Some people might think it is just a review for studying English, but for me, it was a good experience!”

— Seunghui Yu

“This review was an amazing experience. Reading in my case is not only entering the world created by someone, it’s also learning many new words and slang. Writing about this was even more difficult, but this became something fun thanks to the teacher’s help. This started with a reading and finished in teamwork.”

— Silvia Mamani


[1] Nyak Mutia Ismail (2017), ‘“That’s the biggest impact!” The Pedagogical Values of Movies in ELT Classrooms,’ in Studies in English Language and Education, 4.2, available from https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/701b/459bb52b4f923a322154e7c1e4e4a04669b4.pdf (accessed 16-12-19).

[2] Cf. Trinity College London, for example, ‘Guidance on Writing Genres — Writing Genres,’ available from https://www.trinitycollege.com/qualifications/english-language/ISE/ISE-Foundation-A2-resources/ISE-Foundation-A2-reading-writing (accessed 16-12-19).

[3] On how to construct a sixteen-page zine, see: Dear Colleen, ‘How to construct a 16 Page Zine from a Single Sheet of Paper,’ available from http://dearcolleen.blogspot.com/2013/08/how-to-make-16-page-zine-from-one-sheet.html (accessed 16-12-19). Cf. Marshall McLuhan (1964), ‘The Medium is the Message,’ from Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, available from https://web.mit.edu/allanmc/www/mcluhan.mediummessage.pdf (accessed 16-12-19).

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