To DVD or not to DVD
- Is that the Question?
by Deniz Dündar & Adam Simpson
5. The Curriculum - To DVD or not to DVD?
By way of conclusion, we will comment on the role of films
in the modern language curriculum. While there are many noted
pedagogical advantages to the use of films, there are also
several considerations as to why they should not be included
in a curriculum.
Firstly, as Canning-Wilson notes, there is little evidence
as to the long-term benefits of film use as a language learning
'It can be argued that video instruction should be discouraged
because there is scant empirical proof to verify comprehension.
For example, how can long-run effects of video be measured
and how much exposure to video would make a significant difference
in the language learning process?'
So, how can we prove that watching movies aids the language
learning process? After all, King further suggests that time,
feasibility and the perceptions of teachers are important
considerations when thinking about using films:
'The use and feasibility of feature films in the classroom
have inevitably evoked controversy among classroom teachers
who have a curriculum to follow and limited time to allocate.
Since some teachers still view movies as a medium of entertainment
that has no place in a pedagogic setting, or, at most, as
only outside classroom assignments or as a treat.'
Having worked in intensive preparatory school prgorams for
numerous years, we can recognise some truth in this statement;
some teachers don't view films as valuable tools. This obviously
relates to the issue mentioned in section 1.1, exemplified
by learners' initial jubilation at getting to watch a film.
Watching movies is something that learners do in their freetime,
when they are not studying. However, this in istelf shows
the value of movies; going to the cinema/watching movies on
TV are things that learners actually do.
A dichotomy therefore arises; watching movies is an activity
that learners regularly engage in, yet incorporating movies
into a curriculum may meet with resistance from teachers already
overloaded with material. Furthermore, showing a small segment
of a film will create the 'just for the language classroom'
phenomenon noted in section 1.1. It will also destroy the
meaning of the film. If the film is seen as a commmunicative
vehicle, from which the learner is to derive meaning, then
surely watching a film in its entirety is necessary. Nevertheless,
doing so would be to risk sensory overload. So, we can see
that the main issues when deciding whether to DVD or not DVD
are related to time, finding appropriate films in terms of
content and comprehensibility, and whether showing a segment
or the whole film is most beneficial. Consequently, we have
tried to eliminate all of these potential constraints by making
movies available as extracurricular activities rather than
as a set part of the curriculum.
Barne, S. (2002), Video Lessons, ESL LOUNGE
Burt, M., (1999), Using Videos with Adult English Language
Learners, NATIONAL CLEARINGHOUSE FOR ESL LITERACY EDUCATION
Canning-Wilson, C., (2000), Practical Aspects of Using Video
in the Foreign Language Classroom, THE INTERNET TESL JOURNAL,
Vol. VI, # 11, November 2000,
Chun, V., (1996) DVD: A new medium for language classrooms?,
JAPAN ASSOCIATION FOR LANGUAGE TEACHING, Vol. 20, # 9, September
Kikuchi, T,. (1997) Review of research on the education use
of English captioned materials
King, J. (2002), Using DVD Feature Films in the EFL Classroom,
ELT NEWSLETTER, Article #88, February, 2002
Kortner, A., (1999) Mass Media Use in the Classroom. NATIONAL
CLEARINGHOUSE FOR ESL LITERACY EDUCATION
Mejia, E., (2003), Video in Language Education: Making News
Broadcasts Work for You
Peterson, E. & Coltrane, B., (2003), Culture in Second
Language Teaching, CENTER FOR APPLIED LINGUISTICS WEBSITE,
Ryan, S., (1998), Using Films to Develop Learner Motivation,
THE INTERNET TESL JOURNAL, Vol. IV, # 11, November, 1998
Stempleski & P. Arcario (Ed.) (2000) Video in second language
teaching: Using, selecting, and producing video for the classroom,
Yoder, C., (1988), Using Video in the Foreign Language Classroom,
VCCA Journal, Vol. 3, # 1, Spring/Summer 1988, 40-42,
Some Useful Resources for Teaching with Movies
Below we have listed some of the websites where you can find
materials or information relating to movies.
- The Internet Movie Database - http://www.imdb.com/
This is the ultimate database for movie lovers. Get plot
summaries, reviews, quotes, and much much more for over
- The Greatest Films - http://www.filmsite.org/
An award-winning, unique resource for classic film buffs
and all who are interested in films - since mid-1996, with
interpretive and descriptive, detailed synopses, review
commentary, an unparalleled wealth of film reference material,
and historical background for hundreds of classic English-language
films in the last century.
- Drew's Script-o-Rama - http://www.script-o-rama.com/
Whole movie scripts can be downloaded. Many films are available.
- ESL Notes - http://www.eslnotes.com/
This site provides exhaustive materials: Each individual
movie guide is a detailed synopsis of a popular movie that
consists of the following: a summary of the plot, a list
of the major characters, an extensive glossary of vocabulary
and various cultural references that even advanced ESL learners
would often not understand and questions for ESL class discussion.
- Jurassic Punk - http://www.jurassicpunk.com
This site offers lots of information about films, and a
large number of high quality cinema movie trailers can be
- ESL Partyland: Teaching with Film and Video - http://www.eslpartyland.com/teachers/nov/film.htm
Featuring both general teaching resources as well as fully-developed
lessons on various films and videos.
- Onestop English Magazine: Teaching English Using Video
Some practical ideas for incorporating films into the classrooom.
- Simplyscripts - http://www.sipmplyscripts.com
This site offers scripts of movies and a lot of information
Below we have listed two books relating to teaching
- 'Using Authentic Video in the Language Classroom' by
Jane Sherman (CUP) ISBN 052179961 9
- 'Film' by Susan Stempleski and Barry Tomalin (OUP) ISBN
Dündar has been the head of the computer
assisted language learning department of Bilgi University's
English preparatory school for the past two years, and
is interested in the use of modern technology in language
learning and teaching. This is an area of interest shared
by his former assistant in the CALL Center, Adam
Simpson, who now works in the School of Languages
at Sabanc? University, also in Istanbul.
To the beginning
of the article
the article index