“Do Hollywood Movies promote students’ speaking confidence?”

12Jul07

The above topic is absolutely fascinating because most students really want to improve their speaking confidence. They are hoping that there will be an actual way for them to put into practice. Thus, it can be considered as a good research question, which is expected to provide the positive results. The word “Hollywood” is so popular in the world that even small kids have ever heard of it. It is in America, and it makes English-language movies. Hollywood movies do provide students several benefits especially about speaking confidence.

First, by watching Hollywood movies, students will get lots of correct English sentences into their heads. Then they can imitate them and make their own sentences easily and effectively. In addition, there are important differences between Hollywood movies and books. With books students only learn how native speakers write in English. However, with Hollywood movies they learn how those people speak English. In fact, they learn what words those native speakers use. When speaking, they use words and phrases that students often won’t find in books. Spoken language is somehow different from book language. For example, the price of five dollars was acceptable, and I decided to purchase it (in books). But in spoken language, it says, “I was, like, five bucks, so I was like ‘okay’.” Moreover, in many Hollywood movies, the dialog is like real spoken English. Hollywood movies also let them learn informal, idiomatic, and slang words which are not yet in English dictionaries. For instance, in a movie students might hear “Give me the freaking keys!” but won’t find the word “freaking” in a dictionary. Also, they learn how they say those words. Hollywood movies let them improve their pronunciation, not only grammar, but vocabulary, and listening skills. If they listen to Americans speaking English, they can learn to speak like those people. Finally, they learn to understand spoken language for Hollywood movies are made for native speakers and actors talk fast, just like native speakers talk in real life. (Szynalski & Wajcik, 2007)

Second, watching Hollywood movie is one of the practice of the twelve ways to build speaking confidence for it can make students adopt the way actors speak and behave while speaking. Then, they can learn from it by the ways actors use. Witt (2007) points out one way to built speaking confidence, “Seek out supportive audiences. Speak in small forums where less is at state — at a staff meeting or a PTA meeting. Or take a Dale Carnegie course. Work with a coach. Just get up in front of people over and over again. Keep doing it.” Thus, students can learn and adopt styles of actors’ speaking.

Third, Kaufmann (2006) says:

When reading, or listening to an audio book, you are completely dependent on the language. The intensity of the learning experience is much greater. It is easier to repeat your reading and listening and it is easier to do, whenever and wherever you want. People then tell me that they want to be able to speak and understand English. That’s why they watch a lot of movies. Well, my friends and I have been watching Japanese movies for years. None of us was able to learn Japanese simply by watching Japanese movies. Yeah, you get a feeling for the way the language sounds and you become familiar with the unfamiliar rhythm and sounds. But besides, you won’t learn very much.

He also adds that during his time in Japan he met a lot of Japanese students who hardly spoke English at all even though they had studied English for years. Probably, they had spent more time watching Hollywood movies than him. It’s so strange that neither of them could read English context in proper speed. They needed time to think. Thus, watching Hollywood movies seems to be useless for them to improve their speaking skill.

Forth, King (2002) states that using DVD feature films in the EFL classroom is the best way to stimulate students’ English knowledge for such teaching videos are intended to keep students busy by eliciting specific responses or answers from what they watch; this is done in ways that require students to analyze numerous details of language consciously, rather than absorb language and get the general gist of what is said. Another reason is that it is a refreshing learning experience for students who need to take a break from rote learning of endless English vocabulary and drill practices, and replace it with something realistic, a dimension that is missing in textbook-oriented teaching. Choosing films that are age- and culture-appropriate and suitable for both genders is also important. Romances, romantic comedies, and less-violent action movies with relatively simple plots and subplots are also good choices for college students. From the previous experience and observation, the value and benefits of using captioned films for language learners can be summarized as follows:

  • Motivate students to learn English, especially to listen to the dialogs in movies
  • Bridge the gap between reading skills and listening skills
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  • Reinforce students’ understanding of English context-bound expressions
  • Follow a plot easily
  • Learn new vocabulary and idioms
  • Develop students’ concentration in following lines
  • Learn how to pronounce certain words
  • Develop word recognition
  • Process a text rapidly and improve rapid reading
  • Enable students to keep up with the captions that accompany the spoken dialogs
  • Comprehend jokes and have a few hearty laughs
  • Learn different strategies and styles for processing information
  • Easily get a clear image of related dynamic verbs and sound effects words in brackets appear on the screen, synchronized with corresponding actions and sounds such as slam the door and giggle.

From this study, watching captioned films help language learners improve their language skill effectively especially listening as well as vocabulary and pronunciations, which are crucial points for a good speaker. Thus, watching movies provides more benefits for language learners.

Fifth, Liu (2005) presents a case study of teaching English as a foreign language by using English language movies. Emphasis is placed on a specially designed movie course for students of Master of Education in Teaching English as a Foreign Language in Beijing Normal University in China. Based on the data and results of the survey, it is found that studying in this kind of authentic context helps students in several ways: (1) improve their English competence through watching, listening, speaking and writing, (2) gain self-confidence in speaking English in front of audiences, (3) improve their presentation skills, and (4) develop an awareness and understanding of cultures in English-speaking countries. Finally, some suggestions are given to middle school teachers to use movies in classes.

In conclusion, according to the previous researches and experiences, Hollywood movies do promote students’ speaking confidence through many ways. Thus, at this time our group will design a potential research to prove the good influence of Hollywood movies on promoting students’ speaking confidence by using a lot of methods and strategies from what we have learned. In perspective, watching Hollywood movies will be promote students’ speaking confidence in one level but how much effective it is depends on the measurement of assessing students’ speaking performance before and after the program is introduced.

References

Colwell, H. (2006). Using films with mixed level ESL classes. Retrieved on June 20, 2007,

from http://www.eltnewsletter.com/back/February2002/art882002.htm

Frieden, J. (2005). Teach with movies. Retrieved on June 20, 2007, from
http://www.teachwithmovies.org

Kaufmann, S. (2006). Reading or watching movies to learn English. Retrieved on June 16, 2007, from http://thelinguist.blogs.com/how_to_learn_english_and/

King, J. (2002). Using DVD features films in the EFL classroom. ELT Newsletter, Article
#88 February 2002. Retrieved on June 20, 2007, from http://www.eltnewsletter.com/edumn.shtml

Liu, Y. (2005). A case study on using English language movies in teaching English as foreign

language experiences. In Processing of World Conference on Educational

Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2005 (pp. 52-58).

Stemplesk, S. and Tomalin, B. (1990). Video in actions-Rrecipes for using video in language teaching. Prentice Hall.

Szynalski, T. and Wajcik, M. (2007). Watching movies in English. Retrieved on June19, 2007, from http://www.antimoon.com/how/movies.htm

Toastmasters International. 10 tips for successful public speaking. Retrieved on June 24, 2007, from http://toastmasters.org

Witt, C. (2007). 12 ways to build confidence speaking. Retrieved on June 25, 2007, from
http://www.wittcom.com/12ways_to_build_confidence_speaking/.

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