Thursday, March 15, 2012

Guest Blog Post from Alla Sobirova-- The Power in Teaching with Film and Video

By Alla Sobirova

In this blogpost, Alla shares how she teaches with film and video to learn new languages.

I have taught video in the university for almost 2 years and noticed that my subject was one of the most popular among students.  It happened not because there was something special about me but because all students love to watch films! Even those who did not want to study very much were doing great at my lessons.

English is called so called a “global” language for “international communication”. And my students often asked me a question: “How would I understand, for example, an Indian accent if I have never heard it before?” The duty of a teacher is to help solving this problem. 

Watching films is a great solution that also kills two birds with one stone. I not only help with listening problems but also enlarge the general knowledge on such subject as country study. Students also develop their critical thinking and learn how to distinguish what is true and what is false. Listening to the everyday language helps learners to start speaking faster and with better pronunciation. After talking about the advantages of teaching with video, I would like to give an example on one film.

National Treasure - The Book of Secrets

The summary of this film you can find here: (

 I would also like to share what my students learned after watching this film. They learned the following:

  • Found out in details about Civil War (1861-1865)
  • Read (voluntarily on their own!) the book “Gone with the Wind”
  • Learned about Buckingham Palace and White house
  • Got to know American Presidents more
  • Learned that there is more than one Statue of Liberty (!)
Found out about the Library of Congress (the largest library in the world)All this information was discussed as lessons and we learned that some facts in the film were not real. Most importantly, students were able to find the facts on their own and they expanded their vocabulary with words that were easily memorized after watching the film.

Of course, there may be disadvantages in watching films, but no doubt, it does help students learn. Best of all, our classes not boring!

How do you use film and video in your tutoring sessions or classroom? Please share your strategies with us. 

Alla Sobirova started to teach English on-line after she delivered her baby in 2009 and could not teach English in traditional face-to-face  way. It was a new field for her and she had to read and learn a lot in order to organize oral practice lessons that helped her students.

You can find some examples of my work at

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