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Any suggestions for good movies to show ESL students?

 
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m_prime



Joined: 28 Dec 2008
Posts: 52
Location: Taiyuan, Shanxi, China

PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2008 6:13 am    Post subject: Any suggestions for good movies to show ESL students? Reply with quote

Hi All

I am looking for some good ideas of movies to show ESL students in China. I am always telling them to watch English language films so they can practice their listening skills but when they ask which ones my mind goes a bit blank! Basically looking for some movies that fulfill the following criteria:

- No sex scenes, nudity, gore or excessive swearing.
- Clear narrative
- Good, clear English. No heavy regional accents or slang.
- Culturely appropriate (this is China, read between the lines).
- Something that will be of interest to both boys and girls.

They are all university students, so age restrictions are not an issue.

I would be interested to hear from any ESL teachers or ESL students who have movies they found to be particularly effective / enjoyable.

Many thanks
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Bob S.



Joined: 29 Apr 2004
Posts: 1767
Location: So. Cal

PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 8:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For family friendly fare, you can't go wrong with most anything by Pixar. I'd say there's just a few things to watch for:
In The Incredibles, Mrs. Incredible, a.k.a. Elastigirl, is voiced by Holly Hunter who is from Georgia (or Jaw-juh) so has a southern accent.
In Cars, the character Mater is voiced by Larry the Cable Guy (Daniel Whitney) whose stage persona has (fakes?) a very thick regional accent and some corny catch phrases.
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m_prime



Joined: 28 Dec 2008
Posts: 52
Location: Taiyuan, Shanxi, China

PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2009 4:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Bob - you're probably right, animation is a pretty safe bet.
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teacher-simon



Joined: 15 Jan 2009
Posts: 18
Location: Beijing, China

PostPosted: Sat Jan 17, 2009 12:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd have to recommend 'Wall-E'. We just used this recently and it was really effective. The English is not too complicated and the idea of the film itself can lead to great discussions on what kind of life we'll be living in the future. I guess the only down point is it takes a fair while before you meet the first human so there isn't a lot of talking in the beginning.

What we did was pause the film at several locations and asked the students questions from a prepared list of questions. Worked really well.
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peterteacher



Joined: 13 Apr 2009
Posts: 87
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2009 5:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What level are the students? Do you use the English subtitles when you show them?

I used to teach an English-with-movies class and it was interesting what movies worked well with the students and what didn't.

The other posters are correct about the animation and computer graphics movies. They are always safe and easy to understand.

Shrek was always popular at my school. There are also lots of cultural references to Western fairy tales that might be interesting to study in class.

For live action movies, I've found A Knight's Tale (starring Heath Ledger) works well. Adults will enjoy it even though there is no (graphic) sex, violence or swearing Wink

I DON'T recommend this one because it has lots of violence but Conan the Barbarian (one of Arnold Schwareznegger's early movies) is interesting from an English teaching point of view. It is quite easy to understand because there is very little dialogue. This was intentional because at the time, the main actor (Arnold) didn't speak much English either!
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Stigandr



Joined: 27 Apr 2009
Posts: 2
Location: Antalya, Turkey

PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think best movie is Kungfu Panda for you, it probably related Chinese culture and when I watched it, I could easily understand most of the sentences, although I'm intermediate.
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m_prime



Joined: 28 Dec 2008
Posts: 52
Location: Taiyuan, Shanxi, China

PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 2:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the suggestions.

I've been teaching the class for a few weeks now and have found that it tends to be animated and light-hearted family movies which work the best. Stigandr, you're right KungFu panda works very well.

Just to share some of the other succussful movies

Cats n Dogs
Ghostbusters
Ugly Betty
Who framed Roger Rabbit?
Any Wallace and Gromit animation
Some nature documentaries
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scottish_tiger



Joined: 16 Jul 2003
Posts: 90
Location: Scotland

PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2009 6:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I was teaching in Korea the students loved Disney movies like:

101 Dalmations,
The Lion King,
Aladdin,
Lady and the Tramp.
Snow White & the 7 Dwarfs,
Robin Hood

But I generally found anything containing songs were great for holding the attention of the girls, and boys liked a little slap stick comedy.

With older children and adults I showed:

Liar Liar (starring Jim Carey, his facial features & body language are great),
The man with the Golden Gun (one of my favourite James Bond movies which has wonderful scenery and drama)

It always helped to introduce the story a few weeks before by getting the book for them to read, or to use the storyline within your lesson plans to give the students a chance to learn a little more about the vocabulary, characters and plots (or learn the songs so they can sing along). The problem you may have, which I came across in Korea, was trying to find movies that do not have subtitles - as this means that the students are reading the text rather than listening to the English.

I agree with other suggestions, and hope that we have been able to help with your quest to find movies suitable to show students in China.

Scottish Tiger
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scottish_tiger



Joined: 16 Jul 2003
Posts: 90
Location: Scotland

PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2009 6:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh yeah!!!! & don't forget the world's favourite clown: Mr Bean (though I dislike it myself, children of all ages love it)

Scottish Tiger
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Snake777



Joined: 05 Nov 2005
Posts: 301
Location: Ho CHi Minh , Viet Nam

PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 4:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mr.Bean ????
You must be kidding =/
It just has a few conversations >.< What can I learn from it ?? Confused

If your students like Ugly Betty, then they will probably like other TV series, such as How I met you mother and One tree hill
They are favorites Smile
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scottish_tiger



Joined: 16 Jul 2003
Posts: 90
Location: Scotland

PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 5:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Snake777,

I believe the point of showing a movie within a classroom situation is to get the students speaking & learning, and in my view any teaching materials (that includes movies) should be worked into the curriculum, lesson plans & classroom activities - not just a way to keep a class quiet for a while.

Scottish Tiger
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