Pre-viewing and Critique
Before showing a film, it is best that the educator familiarize him/herself with the film. The teacher should make a list of words, phrases that students might have difficulty with or that might need explanation. Creating a vocabulary handout prior to viewing the movie familiarizes the students with words and phrases so that they do not need to struggle to deconstruct the dialogue. After all, enjoying the movie is essential to developing strong listening skills.
It is also helpful to give the students some background on the movie. The teacher can discuss things like the period around which the movie was made, why the director decided to use a particular location, who the actors are and why they made the movie. With DVD's, there are often "Special Features" that give bits of trivia that the teacher can share with the class.
During the viewing, ask the students to watch for themes within the movie. (They may take notes to help them remember.) Allow them to watch the movie completely through without interruption. Once the movie is over, allow students to sit for a few minutes, silently processing what they have seen and heard. Have them write down any questions they may have.
Begin the movie debriefing by going over questions and vocabulary that were problematic. Then ask students to call out the themes they found within the movie. Note: There are always several themes within a movie. For instance: To Kill a Mocking Bird touches on the themes of racism, family relationships, childhood, friendship, trust, compassion, and the Great Depression, to name a few.
Finally, students may be asked to analyze the movie. All ESL students can participate in this activity; younger students can draw pictures of their favorite scene and label things in English, older students may be asked to write a short critique of a character or scene.