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Visual Perception Strategy: Showing students movies in English

The power of visualization can't be underestimated. Though it can be equated to a self-help mantra, evidence and research papers show that mental imagery improves performance and accelerates learning for all sorts of skills. Visual representation is crucial for imagination and memory in education among students.

Visual perception strategy

The importance of using movies as an English learning strategy
In the classroom, mental imagery is pertinent when learning essay writing, word meanings, and reading comprehension, which are cornerstones for literacy. Film-based studying makes one an incredible listener. You develop a keen ear for diction, pronunciation, and dialect. You pick up cool phrases and slang.

From movies back to text
Visualization in reading is a strategy which should be explicitly taught in schools and college. The assumption that kids are naturally imaginative isn't applicable to all students, and the few with a vivid imagination need to learn English with classroom movies and guidance in creating "brain movies" to understand what they read.

Steps to introducing movies to students:

  1. Select a poem, book, or passage with visual, vivid, and rich language to read out loud.
  2. Introduce concepts or words that might be new vocabulary before reading, and share websites, images, and photographs to set the stage for study.
  3. Have students share movies based on books they have read, discuss the differences between watching a movie and reading the book. Emphasize imagination and creating one's own "brain movie."
  4. Recommend that learners create their brain movies based on imagining the action, setting, and characters. Students might visualize as you read, gaze outside the window, or shut their eyes.
  5. Read with emphasis and inflexion on striking language, with the best English movies.
  6. Students will find that imagining what they read aids them in remembering and understanding the subject matter.
  7. Encourage learners to conjure movies in their minds as they continue reading. Learning to use brain movies requires attentive and careful reading.

The benefit of learning English through films
You learn English with little help from the teacher, and hence develop strong mastery skills. And you don't have to be in a native English-speaking country since you can always buy a research paper online that has vast amounts of relevant material for self-study. Film-based learning is also a good option for shy people who are afraid of being criticised for making mistakes. It's relatively cheap since you can get your content and information from the internet while complementing with what you are taught in class.

Teaching English in Japan
It can be tricky since Japanese students are often shy about speaking English for fear of potentially making grammatical or pronunciation errors. To help with this, students can be given a question and then allowed to dissect it in groups before answering. They can be given a chance to code switch if they don't understand a word, and recast it back in English. A bit of Japanese can help them build confidence and relax.

English-speaking natives teaching Japanese students usually have a strictly English Only policy during their lessons. In certain situations, such as when discussing or explaining vocabulary or grammar points, it might be worth allowing students to look into it from a Japanese perspective in order to increase their metalinguistic awareness.

English teachers are there to provide an image of how this foreign language actually lives, to show how words should be correctly pronounced. Their presence allows students to come into contact with the culture they are studying. One important task for the native English teacher is to assist the Japanese English teacher to master the language.

Learning English from watching movies
Self-motivation is the rollercoaster that determines successful second language learning by Japanese students. English language teachers there have been utilizing films in their classrooms for decades. Television shows and films, though usually dubbed outside the classroom, are integral in students' lives and therefore familiar and a very good way of bringing the language into the classroom.

Films provide learners with varied and authentic language sources. Students are given real-life situations from outside the classroom. The Japanese students are presented with an English speaking environment and learners are given a real-life language input. Watching English language films is increasingly popular among the Japanese students who are really interested in learning a second language. It is assumed that perceptual learning of English will improve perception skills among these Japanese students.

Blending a movie into classroom instruction is perceived as a welcome and pleasant change, increasing student motivation and interest in the topic. But introducing films to a classroom can be a double-edged sword: students should be made aware of inaccuracies in some movies. But if adequately utilized, its benefits surpass the perils. If not, you risk fiction becoming truth, which is counterproductive in education!