Co-authors: Eduard Pardo, Elah Gawan

After a stressful week of academic and professional duties, students and teachers often need a fun moment to relax and continue learning. What’s a frequent solution? Watching a movie while enjoying delicious popcorn!

Using movies to relax is an activity both students and teachers love. Whether as part of an elaborate set of planned activities or as an afterthought, movies are a common teaching strategy, and we always want to get the most out of their use.

How often do we consider the importance of cinema in language learning processes?

If you are a fan of movies in the classroom, you must have already thought about these or other benefits of films in the pedagogical field. According to an article published by the journal of Theory and Practice in Language Studies, students who explore films have a higher motivation, which enhances their learning in four aspects: language skills, authenticity, autonomous learning, and culture. Participants of the study reported progress in fluency, pronunciation, and vocabulary, including an improvement in their writing skills through the use of subtitles. (Albiladi & Abdeen, 2018)

The cinematic world offers an authentic approach to communication compared to traditional learning materials. Movies are a rich source of natural expressions that can be used in the students’ own environment.  Movies can also increase motivation and remove the “obligation” of performing a learning task. Movies also make the flow of the lesson more inviting and pleasant, generating a more significant and communicative involvement.

Finally, language does not exist alone. It brings with it the culture behind the societies that use it, leaving an inescapable trail of cultural DNA. Using movies for learning contributes to the development of linguistic skills while positioning the learner in a more enriched and contextualized environment. Well selected movies clips empowers teachers to approach the target language in its native context and explore its cultural components.

There are many advantages of utilizing movies for language learning, but their adaptation into the curriculum must be a careful process, carried out in such a way that there are always cognitive benefits and clear learning objectives. With movies, any class can become more productive and motivating, which increases student engagement and success.

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