Tag Archives: learn a foreign language

“Movie-like“ learning with the help of movies

learn spanish with movies

“Movie-like“ learning with the help of movies

Movies are only used for a short while as didactic tools in the lessons. The main reason for this is, as you can imagine, that it has “recently” become more and more popular to integrate multimedia teaching material into language teaching. This includes for example the use of projectors, computers and much more. At first glance, this seems to be very simple because in principle, you only need a television and a video recorder for the presentation of a video. But in fact, it is not that easy. Many schools do not have these materials or they have too little of them and they cannot often be used by a class because they should be available to all teachers. That concerns the technical aspect. From a didactical point of view, the presentation of a movie demands a good preparation of the teacher because he has to search for and to choose suitable material.

When all of this is done and all of these more or less important difficulties are overcome, you will be rewarded with a large number of teaching material and many possibilities. The use of audiovisual media in class – so also of videos to learn spanish – is really enriching and motivating because they make it possible for the students to get to know learning from another perspective. Regarding the movies, it can be, on the one hand, of course exhausting, if you do not understand everything, but on the other hand, this medium represents a good possibility to train the listening comprehension. What do I want to say with that? The videos show real communication – of course only within the scope of fiction.  But through these videos, you can improve your communicative competences. Beyond that, it is possible to develop the listening comprehension and much more, if the right scenes are shown.

Even if you have already watched movies in class, the student can also improve his oral competences at home through this type of teaching material. But how can you use videos and movies to learn languages? The foreign language student who is reading this will think at first glance that this is very easy. But usually, we watch movies at home to relax. Contrary to that, to deal with a movie whose language we do not speak can be very exhausting. I do not want to deny that at the beginning, you have to get used to it, you have to be more concentrated and maybe, you should start with a movie with subtitles – if you want in your native language and later, you can go on with subtitles in the foreign language. When you have passed this “training phase” in favour of the development of these competences (especially the training of the listening comprehension, but also of the oral expression and of the interaction), the success will be considerable. And you can even learn while you are having fun. The use of this medium for children is also a good idea because the language which is used is mostly not very complex. The clever (or trained) ones can also just go to the cinema and watch movies in foreign languages. Like this, you can connect learning and a popular leisure activity.

Movies and videos show the language in a charming and completely other way than they seem to be for most students in class. The learning process, which is stimulated through this, is effective. The conversations and situations, which are shown, are authentic, and beyond that, the movie is also a teaching material which motivates. The reason for that is that it is freed from all the negative things, which are always associated with teaching in class or with autonomous learning.

Production or interaction or both?

Production or interaction or both?

Besides the reading comprehension, one of the skills concerning the writing has always been the text production. But today, you talk more and more about the so-called “written interaction”; a development which is also reflected by the current official language test. The existence of this written interaction is connected with the emergence of the “interaction” as fifth competence regarding a foreign language. In this way, we can distinguish between written texts which are essays and those which are intended for the written communication, as for example chat conversations or postcards.

In the traditional language teaching, this competence was only seen as a proof that the student has understood the grammatical contents or rather that he is able to translate. That is the grammar translation method. At that time, the people assumed that the ability to write only depends on the fact that the student knows the grammatical rules and structures. Of course, these contents are also important for the writing process, but we rather assume – and it could often be shown that this is true – that still other aspects are important for the text production, which are not only grammatical, but also textual.

But which are these elements we have to pay attention to? They are surely not numerous, but very important. We take the view that the text has to be understandable and appropriate to the context of the communication. It has to be coherent regarding its structure and that can be achieved by linking the ideas with so-called connectors in a way that makes sense. If you want to write a text, you have to take care that you will emphasize various contents and subordinate others. But that are only some examples. All of these aspects have a place in the category I have mentioned.

Today, we all know that already for a long time, the oral has not been enough anymore in our globalized world to occupy certain positions or offices. A large number of the necessary communications either take place by correspondence or by the Internet; but the former is becoming more and more rare. The communication with the help of the Internet forces to write e-mails and to have chat conversations. That is the reason why it is that important to train this ability, if you learn a foreign language. The messages and chat conversations, which we write and have respectively in the second language, must not fail in their goal because they are very important for our image, which we want to convey to the other person.

This change of rhythm in the world we live in is responsible for the fact that everything is becoming more and more globalized, computerized and faster. This speed forces also us to write many messages in a very short time in order to interact in writing and for example to write reports or something like that. The world of the Internet has become a part of our everyday communication and in many cases, it renders unnecessary to talk to each other face-to-face. The difference between the face-to-face conversations

and the chat conversations is the certainty that we will not be interrupted when we are talking; because that is not possible in written medias.

We will still talk about these questions in future. You can distinguish very clearly between that what one has seen for a long time as written expression and the new concept of the written interaction. The latter is much closer to the communication and the necessities which the new era involves.