This EFL lesson is designed around a short film clip from Avalon directed by Barry Levinson and an infographic titled The Advantages of Learning Languages by Kaplan . The lesson encourages students to overcome the difficulties of learning English and to find strategies and tools which help them in their language learning. In addition, it helps learners reflect on the many advantages of learning languages.
I would ask all teachers who use Film English to consider buying my book Film in Action as the royalties which I receive from sales help to keep the website completely free.
Language level: Intermediate (B1) – Advanced (C1)
Learner type:All ages
Time: 90 minutes
Activity: Watching short film clip, speaking reading and writing
Topic: Learning strategies and advantages of learning languages
Language: Confusing words, may and can,and vocabulary related to language learning
Materials: Short film clip, infographic and article
Support Film English
Film English remains ad-free and takes many hours a month to research and write, and hundreds of dollars to sustain. If you find any joy or value in it, please consider supporting Film English with a monthly subscription, or by contributing a one-off payment.
Write confusing words on the board, and ask your students if there are any words which they find confusing in English. Write their confusing words on the board and ask them to explain what the difference is . If your students don’t mention them write up the following words which are commonly confused:
there their they’re
Ask students if they can explain the difference between the words and ask them to give sentences using the words.
Tell your students they are going to watch a short film clip in which a young boy has problems with 2 verbs which are very commonly confused by native English speakers. As they watch the film they should identify the 2 confusing verbs and the rules for using them. Show the film.
Get feedback from your students; they should be able to identify the 2 verbs as can and may. Ask them to tell you what the rules are for using can and may. If they’re not sure show the film again and pause when the teacher and principal say the rules.
“Can” is whether you’re capable of doing something.
“May” is asking for permission.
You may like to point out that “may” is often considered too formal now by many native speakers when asking for permission, and they tend to use the more informal “can”.
Ask your students if they liked the clip and how it made them feel. Write the following quote from the film on the board:
“This English is very difficult. I never realised how difficult English is.”
Ask your students if they agree with the quote. If they agree, ask them in what ways they think English is difficult. Write what your students consider to be the main difficulties on the board. Next put them in small groups and ask them how they could overcome each difficulty. For example, if students say they find pronunciation difficult, ask them how they could improve their pronunciation. You may also like to suggest strategies such as watching films and TV series in English to help them improve their pronunication.
Try to get them to come up with ideas and strategies for overcoming the difficulties of English. Help them to see that there are a wealth of strategies and resources to help them in their English language learning.
You may like to suggest some strategies and tools for each diificulty which students mention. For example:
Strategies: watching films and TV series in English, and listening to podcasts
Strategies: watching films and TV series in English, and checking the pronunciation in a dictionary
Strategy: Speak as much in possible in class, don’t be afraid of making mistakes
Tool: English Central
Write The Advantages of Learning Languages on the board. Put your students in pairs and ask them to brainstorm as many advantages of learning languages (not just English) as they can in 5 mintues. Next get feedback from the whole class.
Ask students if they know what an infographic is. If they don’t know tell them that an infographic (an abbreviation of information graphic) is a graphic visual representation of information data or knowledge. Tell them that they are going to look at an infographic titled The Advantages of Learning Languages. Ask them to compare their answers in the previous step and to select the 5 facts which they find most interesting or surprising. When they’ve finished reading the infographic they should tell their partner their 5 intersting or surprising facts.
Tell your students they are going to read a short article in which the writer talks about the most important benefit of learning languages. Give them the text, ask them to read it and then answer the 5 comprehension questions.
Tell your students you would like them to write a composition similar to the one they have just read titled:
The Advantages of Learning Languages
Has learning a foreign language helped to improve your:
- Travelling experiences
- Love life
- Brain power
Argue which is the most important benefit.
I hope you enjoy this English language lesson.