Post navigation

Learning a Language

Posted on January 8, 2017 by kierandonaghy

learning-a-language

This ELT lesson plan is designed around a short film commissioned by Allegro, a Polish online shopping auction platform and the theme of learning a new language. Students discuss why they are learning English, come up with reasons why people learn a new language and the benefits of learning a new language, watch a short film and discuss ways to improve their language learning.

film_in_action_thumbnail

 

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) – Upper Intermediate (B2)

Learner type: Teens and adults

Time: 90 minutes

Activity: Speaking about reasons for and benefits of learning a language, and watching a short film

Topic: Learning a language

Language: Vocabulary related to language learning, present continuous and gerund as subject of a sentence

Materials: Short film

Downloadable materials: learning-a-language-lesson-instuctions

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.

Monthly subscription

One-off payment

Step 1

Pair your students and ask them to explain to their partner why they are learning English. Give them some examples such as:

  • I’m learning English to help me get a job.
  • I’m learning English because I need it to get into university.
  • I’m learning English because I need it when I travel.
  • I’m learning English because I need it for my job.

 

Step 2

Hold a plenary discussion based on your students’ reasons for learning English.

 

Step 3

Put your students into small groups and ask them to come up with as many reasons why people study a new language as possible.

 

Step 4

Hold another plenary discussion on the reasons people learn a new language.

 

Step 5

In their same groups ask your students to answer the following questions:

What are the benefits of learning a new language?

Give them some example answers such as:

  • Learning a new language helps you to communicate with lots of different people.
  • Learning a new language helps you to understand other people and their cultures.
  • Learning a new language makes you more open-minded.

 

Step 6

Hold a plenary discussion based on the benefits of learning a new language.

 

Step 7

Tell your students they are going to watch a short film in which they see a man learning a new language. As they watch their task is to notice the different strategies and techniques the man uses to learn the language.

Show the film until 02:00.

 

 

Step 8

Pair your students and ask them to compare their answers.

 

Step 9

Get feedback on the techniques and strategies the man uses (he reads grammar explanations, he repeats the conjugation of verbs, he listens to and repeats short expressions, he labels objects with Post-it notes, he watches films and repeats expressions).

 

Step 10

Ask your students how effective they think each of these techniques and strategies are for learning a new language. Ask them to come up with any other strategies which they find useful when learning a new language.

 

Step 11

Ask your students why they think the man is learning English.

 

Step 12

Tell them they are going to watch the rest of the film in which they will see why the man is learning English. Show the rest of the film.

 

Step 13

Elicit that the man is learning English because his son lives in Britain and he has a granddaughter he has never met before who he wants to communicate with in English.

 

Step 14

Explain that the short film was commissioned by Allegro, a Polish online auction shopping platform.

 

Step 15

Ask your students to discuss the following questions:

  • What adjectives would you use to describe the film?
  • How does the film make you feel?
  • What is the film’s message?

 

I hope you enjoy this ESL lesson.

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.

Monthly subscription

One-off payment

15 thoughts on “Learning a Language

  1. Hello,

    My name is Karolina and I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate all the work you do.I have been working as a teacher for over 7 years and I’m in constant need of inspiration and ideas and your blog always delivers. I chose to write today since you published a lesson plan based on an ad I really love ( I’m Polish too) and I thought I would share an activity of my own called Ir(regular) Xmas based around the same advert.I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you again for your great input and lesson ideas.

  2. You couldn’t not use this film. It s great. And so relevant. I like the task where you ask them to list his learning strategies. I might also first ask to brainstorm their own learning strategies, board them and then they tick the ones the protagonist uses. Great lesson Kieran. Happy new year and thank you for sharing your ideas. Jean

    • Hi Jean,
      I’m really happy you like the lesson. I love your brainstorming strategies idea. A very happy new year to you too 🙂
      All the best,
      Kieran

  3. Another brilliant lesson, which I’ll be using this week! Thank you Kieran for all your generous help and time in making all this available. I’m a relatively new EFL teacher, still building my confidence and I worried about finding good lessons. Your site, in particular, makes life so much easier and the students always enjoy the lessons. I’ve also bought your book, FIlm in Action, which I highly recommend. Thank you again and long may you continue! Best wishes and happy new year. Kitty

    • Hi Kitty,
      Thanks a lot for taking the time to comment and for the kind words. I’m really happy that Film English helps you and that your students enjoy the classes. Thanks very much for buying my book, Film in Action, too. Great to know you like it. A very happy new year to you too 🙂
      All the best,
      Kieran

  4. I love all your suggestions! Your lessons are great!!! However I can’t buy your book, Film in Action, because it is not avaiable in Amazon, to Brazil, where I live. What shall I do???? Can you help me?
    Vânia Sampaio, an English teacher and an English school owner in Juiz de Fora.