Библиографическое описание:

Асадуллина Л. И., Дусеев И. Р. Teaching writing through films // Молодой ученый. — 2015. — №11. — С. 1247-1250.

Extended writing is a skill in itself, one which many learners will need in target situations. It also provides opportunities for creativity and self-expression, which many learners appreciate. And it is, of course, an important part of overall language learning—it provides opportunities for conscious reflection that can play an important role in consolidating recent learning.

According to Katchen writing is considered as an active skill, since it is a productive skill, unlike for instance reading and listening. Even though also reading and listening require the active involvement of the brain, it is emphasized in writing. Thus, alongside speaking, also writing needs to be practised versatilely in order for the learners to be able to develop their productive language skills. [1] Gebhard lists some important points which writing include. These are word choice, use of appropriate grammar, syntax, mechanics and organization of ideas into a coherent and cohesive form. [2] However, writing also includes a focus on audience and purpose, and a process of discovering meaning. Since one has to take in to account several different aspects when writing, teaching writing may sometimes be rather repetitious and uneventful. Choosing different text types can make writing more versatile and fun also for the learners. Moreover, films can bring variety to writing tasks.

Some teaching strategies can be useful in teaching writing in general:

1.                  Choosing an appropriate writing style. Basic styles of writing such as reviews, argumentative essays, narratives, and different types of description can be used depending on learner’s level, curricula demands and film content.

2.                  Analyzing the text format. If you know that your learners need to produce, for example, a film review, then get hold of some examples of such reviews and see if you can discover any typical patterns of language use and structure. Share these insights with your learners.

3.                  In-class writing. Writing in groups, or checking and editing each other’s drafts, are valuable learning activities and a good use of class time. This type of activity may also be an opportunity for learners to write to a real audience: to peers, to their teachers, to a University website, to a personal blogs, etc.

4.                  Writing drafts. It’s simply not realistic to ask learners to go from a blank page to a final product in one go. Drafts are an opportunity to write without inhibitions, and learners themselves, their peers and teachers, all have a potential role in providing feedback to be incorporated into revisions.

5.                  Specifying the reasons for writing and the target audience. Asking learners to respond in writing to something they have read or watched gives a reason for writing and clearly specifies an audience. These are two important characteristics of writing in the world outside the classroom.

6.                  Developing context through multiple drafts. Learners can sometimes think that rewriting is just a matter of incorporating corrections and producing a clean copy. Help them to see that drafts are a useful way of developing content, too.

7.                  Emphasizing quality in the final product. In the world outside the classroom, demands on written products are high: we expect an appropriate range of vocabulary and sentence patterns, as well as accuracy. Learners need experience of getting to this final, polished stage where work is considered ready for formal public scrutiny.

8.                  Accepting mistakes in early drafts. This is particularly the case for less proficient learners, of course. Help learners to see texts with lots of mistakes as a natural stage. Try to build up an atmosphere where peer as well as teacher feedback is seen as useful on the way to a final product.

9.                  Giving feedback on content. When learners engage with a task, their main motivation for writing is to convey a message—they may have put a lot of thought into the content of their writing. Respond to their writing as communication first, and language practice second.

10.              Inventing a “correction code”. Especially with more advanced learners, you can use codes like t (tense), w.o. (word order), or v (vocabulary) to indicate the place and nature of an error, while still giving learners the chance to correct the word themselves. When learners get the work back they can attempt to make their own corrections. Sometimes they will do this easily, at other times they may need to ask you and/or a classmate what the problem actually is. In either case, the process of self-correction draws attention to the error and helps to make the correction memorable. All of this helps learning.

11.              Concentrating on the most basic mistakes. Learners like to be corrected, but will be demotivated by seeing a page of their work covered in red. Neither will they be able to learn from such extensive feedback. Concentrate on the most basic errors, those that impede communication and those that you think learners are most ready to learn about.

12.              Demonstrating the learners’ progress. At appropriate moments, encourage learners to look critically at earlier writing tasks, and perhaps work on something similar again. They will be motivated by seeing how much they have improved, and may be reminded of important bits of learning.

According to Stoller 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. [3] Allan 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. This brings variety to the film lessons and ensures that films are used versatilely. [4]

Stoller 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. [3] Prewriting tasks can be used before watching the movie: the students can for instance write down what they expect the movie to be about based on the title. In prewriting the students practice different ways to get started with their writing: brainstorming, clustering, strategic questioning, sketching, free writing, interviewing and information gathering. 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.

The typical pre-viewing activities are based on the following:

-        Reading (summary, article about the video etc.)

-        Class discussion (brainstorming)

-        Vocabulary and dictionary consultation (learn necessary vocabulary)

-        Silent previewing of video

-        Previewing questions

Accordingly, the following writing tasks can be suggested at the pre-viewing stage:

Stage

Task

READING

Read the quotation of the main character of the film and predict the main qualities they will demonstrate in the film. Write a list of positive or/and negative qualities and compare your lists after watching the film.

CLASS DISCUSSION (BRAINSTORMING)

In these pictures you can see four characters from the film we are going to see. Imagine what the film will be about and write a brief summary of the plot.

VOCABULARY AND DICTIONARY CONSULTATION (LEARN NECESSARY VOCABULARY)

The plot of the film is focused on crime investigation. Make a list of as many types of crime, criminals and people in investigation as you know. Add some new words and collocations.

SILENT PREVIEWING OF VIDEO

Watch the first episode without sound and write a characteristic of the main hero of the film.

PREVIEWING QUESTIONS

Write your answers to the questions predicting the ending of the film.

 

Stoller 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 [3].

The typical while-watching activities may include the following:

-        Chart completion

-        Note-taking

-        True/False questions

-        Gap-filling

-        Guessing what will happen next

Accordingly, the following writing tasks can be suggested at the while-viewing stage:

Stage

Task

CHART COMPLETION

Watch the episode and complete the chart.

NOTE-TAKING

Watch the episode and write down the recommendations of an expert on how to avoid mugging.

TRUE/FALSE QUESTIONS

Watch the episode and write 3 True/False questions to be asked after watching the film.

GAP-FILLING

Watch the film and fill in the “Wanted” leaflet with the criminal’s details.

GUESSING THE CONTENTS

Watch the episode without sound and write the script of the conversation in the episode.

 

Finally, Stoller 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 may have been missed, and it is essential to understand the main points of the film. [3]Post-viewing activities can be for instance film summaries, alternative endings, discussions, comparisons, speed writing, using notes for writing practise, role plays or debates. These activities are designed to extend learning and deepen understanding of the film and its themes. They relate to several curriculum expectations, especially in life sciences and citizenship, and provide opportunities for cross-curricular connections in geography, social studies, civics, health, language, the arts, media and environmental studies. Students are called on to use a variety of skills, including: research, critical thinking, problem solving, communication, map and document analysis. Some activities are more appropriate than others for younger students, but may be adapted to suit most grade levels.

The typical post-viewing activities may include the following stages:

-        Summarizing

-        Discussing

-        Peer correction

-        Reviewing

Accordingly, the following writing tasks can be suggested at this stage:

Stage

Task

SUMMARIZING

Develop and implement a social campaign leaflet to spread the social message or idea of the film.

DISCUSSING

Write a For Against essay on the legalization of capital punishment.

PEER CORRECTION

Read your essays to each other, and suggest improvements.

REVIEWING

Match viewers’ feedbacks on the film with their headings and write your own feedback to be posted into an informal blog.

 

As we can see, commercially produced films can be used as an effective tool for developing writing skills in English as a second language. It is suggested that the adaptation of pre-viewing, while-viewing, and post-viewing activities to the selected film, student needs, and instructional objectives encourage natural language use and language skill development.

 

References:

 

1.         Katchen, J.E. 2003. Teaching a Listening and Speaking Course with DVD Films: Can It Be Done? In H. C. Liou, J. E. Katchen, and H. Wang (Eds.), Lingua Tsing Hua. Taipei: Crane, 221–236. Retrieved from: http://mx.nthu.edu.tw/~katchen/professional/festschrift.htm.

2.         Gebhard, J. 1996. Teaching English as a foreign or second language: a teacher self-development and methodology guide. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

3.         Stoller, F. 1988. Films and Videotapes in the ESL/EFL Classroom. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Teachers of English to speakers of other languages. http://www.eric.ed.gov/PDFS/ED299835.pdf

4.         Allan, M. 1985. Teaching English with video. London: Longman.

5.         Асадуллина Л. И. Жанр ситуационной комедии в обучении иностранному языку (на примере ситкома «Выбирайте выражения») [Текст] / Л. И. Асадуллина, И. Р. Дусеев // Молодой ученый. — 2015. — № 10.

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