Teaching grammar through films
Асадуллина Л. И., Дусеев И. Р. Teaching grammar through films // Молодой ученый. 2015. №11. С. 1258-1261.
Video can bring variety and flexibility to the language classroom by extending the range of resources (e.g. photo stills from the video, audio-only extracts, scripts, etc.) and teaching techniques around film analysis, helping students to develop all four communicative skills. This, in turn, provides a framework for classroom communication and discussion in which the teacher and students can select the direction. The different roles of video in the language-learning classroom can supply the teacher with a variety of choice so that they are not limited to practising just one skill or language point. There are four main roles of video in language teaching:
1. For language focus: When new or recently introduced words are encountered in context in a video sequence.
2. For skills practice: When a video can be used to practise listening and (to a lesser extent) reading, and as a model for speaking and (to a lesser extent) writing.
3. As a stimulus: When video acts as a springboard for follow-up tasks such as discussions, debates, role plays, extended projects, etc.
4. As a resource: When the video provides students with the content for subsequent tasks or projects. 
Even though movies are a nice and useful way to make the lessons more entertaining and motivate the students, the use of movies is not necessarily always easy and there are several factors that need to be considered when using movies in foreign language teaching. A crucially important factor when planning the movie lessons is choosing the movies. There are also other important points that need to be made sure before using movies in foreign language teaching. These are for instance:
1. Compliance with the students’ language proficiency level owing to its great visuality may help the weaker students to follow the film and understand what is happening. There are a lot of non-verbal signals in a film, for instance gestures, facial expressions, eye contact, posture, proximity, appearance and setting that facilitates non-stop watching of meaningfully complete parts of the film and gives learners confidence in their ability to cope with the real situations they may face that.
2. Clear message of the film which is handled very versatilely and deeply, involves every student into discussion that lets every student get oral practise.
3. Relevance of the topic to students’ needs provokes the students’ interest and keeps them motivated during the whole stage.
4. The humour, as one of the motivating factors for some students, can make it easier to follow the story and provide a lot of language structures to be taught according to the curriculum.
5. The length of the film should meet the requirements of classroom scheduling, course objectives and be shot enough to allow classroom time for pre-viewing, while-viewing and post-viewing activities.
Stoller points out that the use of films requires attention and the teacher must play an important part in an effective film lesson in order for the film to be more than just a time filler. It is also important to remember, that the films are neither a substitute for the teacher nor for instruction, but real classroom aids when used properly. 
Using audiovisual methods, such as movies, can motivate the students to study grammar in a different way. This was noticed already in the 1960s. For instance Van Abbé points out that using audiovisual methods makes the teaching more efficient and motivates the students to attend the classes. He refers to a course in which audiovisual material was used and as a result of the course the students were able to take in grammatical structures which they could never have learned during the traditional and more formal grammar lessons. Since grammar can be taught in numerous different ways, also using versatile materials is useful. Thus, using films to teach grammar is also worth trying. Moreover, grammar assignments based on a film could be for example gap-fill exercise, an introduction to new grammar topic, a revision of already learned grammar topic or coming up with a grammar rule based on a scene of the film. 
Video brings a slice of real life into the classroom. It presents the complete communicative situation. Language learners not only hear the dialogue, they also see the participants in the surroundings where the communication takes place. This visual information not only leads to a fuller comprehension of the spoken language, but can also benefit learners in a number of other ways.
According to Scrivener , after creating a context, you might elicit language from the students to see if they already have any idea about the target language. You can elicit target language structures by asking a question, miming, showing a picture, giving a keyword, that will encourage the students to say something themselves. This may help to involve students in a lesson, as they will be doing more than simply listening to you speaking. Eliciting can help to reduce the amount of unnecessary teacher talk in class. It’s obvious that students will learn little or nothing if they do not find the work involving. It needs to attract them, fill their minds and hold their attention. This may be because the topic of the film is relevant, the activities are stimulating or the end result appeals to them. One important thing to remember while designing video activities is to adapt the level of challenge appropriately — neither too high nor too low — and of course this level will vary for different people in your class and at different times. Creating the right challenge level may, for example, involve the teacher varying the difficulty of questions as they ask different people around the class. When modelling grammar structures should take care to speak as naturally as possible and not artificially exaggerate any features. In spite of being ‘non-communicative’ exercise, drilling a sentence (perhaps to exemplify a specific grammatical item) then getting the students to repeat — often chorally (i.e. as a whole class) can help students notice, focus on and improve things like verb endings, word order, pronunciation etc. If a student repeats incorrectly during a drill it is usually helpful to correct. Don’t worry too much about drilling being an unrealistic or — or that the students might be rather unnaturally over-using target items. This type of controlled manipulation of language items is very useful. Design several pair-work activities as pair work allows lots of students to speak and work simultaneously, maximising interaction time in class. Mingling can be used at the post-viewing stage to provide additional interactive grammar practice.
There has been much debate about explicit grammar teaching—arguments about whether it does any good, or about what approach might be most effective. Yet it remains a valuable mainstay of many language courses, and institutional context is a major influence on the policies adopted by individual teachers. Learners also usually expect to concentrate on grammar at some point during a course. The following tips are options for you to consider and adapt where necessary.
1. Balance the conditions for grammar improvement. Meaning-focused work, restricted practice, explanation and analysis all have a part to play in building up the grammatical knowledge that learners have spontaneously available. Different conditions will help different learners at different times. So the important thing is to ensure that lessons or series of lessons contain a good balance.
2. Capitalize on learners’ existing knowledge. Especially if they have previously learnt in a formal way, your learners will no doubt possess a grammatical metalanguage which you can tap into. Find out how they express the ‘rules’ that they already know, and work from there. Even if the rules they know are incomplete, they are probably still useful for the learners; so if you find you need to contradict them, do so sensitively.
3. Consider explicit practice activities. These are activities where language is more controlled—the prime purpose of the activity is to practise a recently studied form. Such activities usually have a meaning-focused dimension, but learners are told what language they should use to express the meaning. For example, learners might be invited to discuss weekend plans using the ‘going to’ future. These kinds of activities can be especially beneficial for less confident learners, and for those whose previous learning has been highly form-focused.
4. Correct errors carefully. In both meaning-focused and form-focused activities, errors will persist. As always, your attitude to correction and feedback should depend on the purpose of the activity and on what you think your learners are ready to learn.
5. Expect grammatical errors. They are a normal part of language development and you can’t get rid of them by pointing them out. Learners might produce a new form correctly in a controlled practice activity, but get it wrong again the next day—this is normal, too. With lots of opportunities to use language for meaning, and focus on accuracy at appropriate points, they will improve over time.
6. Give clear and simple explanations. At times you will be called upon to summarize the correct use of a grammatical form. Research your explanation, ideally in more than one grammar book—and then give an explanation that you feel best meets the current stage of your learners’ language awareness. Show them that explanations are really just workable simplifications; exceptions to ‘rules’ will inevitably be found. They are an opportunity to refine one’s understanding of the rule in question.
7. Keep on providing rich exposure. Even in a grammatically focused course it’s important for learners to read and listen to texts where complexity goes beyond the structures they have learnt about. Modify tasks to make texts like this accessible. Subconsciously learners will start to get used to the unfamiliar structures, and will be more receptive if the structures are focused on again at a later point.
8. Make grammar presentations meaningful. You may choose to present explicitly a new grammatical form; certainly, this is a widely used technique. If you do, make sure your presentation highlights the meaning dimension—elements of the semantic significance of the target form. You can check whether learners have understood this by using ‘concept’ questions, which highlight an aspect of the situation which makes the meaning of the target form clear.
9. Provide learners with opportunities to use their full grammatical range. This means providing meaning-focused production activities, where learners can choose what language they produce within the role play, task, etc. You may choose an activity which creates an opportunity to use recently studied grammatical forms, for the benefit of learners who are ready to consolidate in this way.
10. Use discovery techniques. An alternative to grammatical presentation is to show learners examples of a grammatical form in various contexts and to encourage them to work out its significance. The contexts can be drawn from both ‘authentic’ and ‘non authentic’ sources. Many modern textbooks use a combination of discovery and presentation techniques; experience will help you find the right balance for your learners. 
1. Donaghy K., Whitcher A. How to write film and video activities. Training course for ELT writers. 2015. ELT Teacher 2 Writer at Smashwords. 42 p.
2. 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
3. Van Abbé, D. 1965. Audio-lingual methods in modern language teaching in Dutton, B. (ed.) Guide to modern language teaching methods. London: Camelot Press.
4. Scrivener J. Teaching English grammar: What to Teach and How to Teach it. Macmillan Education (5 July 2010).
5. Using Video In The Classroom. An Activity Guide. English central. Retrieved from: http://ddeubel.edublogs.org/files/2011/06/Using_Video_In_The_Classroom-20mn397.pdf.
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