The current age abounds with varied mass media forms. In the field of film-making alone, trailers, posters, acts or scenes, still pictures, opening and closing credits, musical scoring, screenplays, cinematography, scripts, live advertisements or promotions, songs and music video are conventional authentic materials that can be employed in the teaching process by resourceful teachers who design creative tasks aligned with learning objectives.
This perception of using contemporary inputs specifically attempts to encourage language educators to employ varied practical activities in the classrooms. With the use of film posters and trailers as inputs, interactive and collaborative lessons are developed.
Furthermore, these two inputs are viable authentic materials for language teaching based on Richards (2001)’s concept which he discloses in his book, Curriculum Development in Language Teaching. In his book, he articulates that authentic materials aid students to understand the connection between the language taught in the classroom and the language that are used in the real world. Similar to other appropriate authentic materials, the film poster and trailer motivate learner’s interests. Both materials contain applicable social and educational information that can be explored in the classrooms. They too deliver learners acquaintance to English medium being taught.
Additionally, there are significant interplays between these two materials since the initial manipulation of the film poster highlights the content of the film trailer with interactive activities. Interactive activities refer to the collaborative tasks that require learners to employ their skills such as viewing, reading, listening, reading, and writing alongside with language contents and language functions.
The method of employing these two materials will start with the film poster as a way of scaffolding knowledge. Some possible activities on film posters in conjunction with macro skills, language use, and expressions used as target languages are individually exemplified.
Film Poster Activities
Initially, the students will classify the genre of these movie posters into animation action, science fiction, adventure, action adventure, documentary, comedy or drama through the posters presented. One film poster will be chosen by the teacher to be used for activities in film poster and in film trailer activities. The teacher will introduce a speaking exercise through predicting or guessing using expressions of doubts with modals.
Secondly, writing and speaking through visualization, word clustering, word formation and enumeration of ideas will follow. The teacher is going to introduce enumeration expressions such as the following are, the words are namely and such as. In here, students are going to create noun clusters base from their perceptions of the posters.
Thirdly, the teacher will introduce speaking skill through derivation of conclusions by expressions of assurance or certainty and conjunctions of reasons such as because, since and for.
Fourthly, a writing activity through creating conclusions with the use of the expressions of assurance will be performed using appropriate modal, articles and vocabularies. The students will be asked to study the clusters that they have earlier made by groups as bases in assimilating ideas in written forms after creating possible titles based from the cluster of words.
The Fifth integrates writing or speaking skills through word transformations for describing and categorizing. Nouns and adjectives play an important part in the transformation of nouns into adjectives or vice versa. For example, American film, horrible American film, American action film etc…
The sixth is a writing activity that involves classifying and defining ideas that are structured to determine the kinds of movies. The students are taught to follow the formula: title of the movie + Country (made into an adjective) + the film genre thus, American Beauty is an American action film.
The seventh task is writing involving a poster review. The poster review will be the chosen poster that was used in the film poster activities. The said activities will deal with the following parts such as theme of the movie, genre or kind of the movie, nationality of the movie, title of the movie and content words that represent themes and the film genre.
The eighth is a speaking task that provides students’ overview of the film as media forms. The students will describe the nature of the movie through its film genre, film outfit and movie theme.
The Film Trailer Activities
The students will continue performing the tasks revolving around its film trailer. The teacher will provide the students a transcription of the preview to read before watching. After seeing the film with notes in hand, the teacher will instruct them to reread the script to obtain more insight about the preview and to strengthen their previous knowledge obtained from the trailer’s poster. Below are some conceivable tasks with language functions, language focuses, macro skills use and some examples of expressions as main components.
Task one (1) is sequencing events. The students will divide the major events that they have witnessed into eight (8) parts to be arranged chronologically with the use of transitional expressions such as first, second, then, next, after that… finally. This task requires reading, listening and speaking.
Task two (2) is thematic representations by interconnecting common ideas through clustering. The learners are going to identify and list the themes of the film to be presented in noun forms. With a graphic organizer to guide, the teacher initiates the students to indicate their ideas in the cluster. Some possible answers such as training, rescue, raid, war, death, explosion, fight, pain, injuries, fire, attack, plan, screams, freedom, escape, hopes, prayer, among others may be written. The students’ perceptions shall be collaboratively deliberated in the class to arrive at common related themes. This task needs interactive reading, speaking and listening skills while the teacher moderates.
Task three (3) is a group interpretation or definition of themes and students are advised to review the previously constructed word clusters as the bases of group discussion. Students share ideas by defending their claims regarding the themes they have framed. They are expected to use expressions such as refers to, mean, means, is defined as, indicate, indicates, signify, signifies, is, denotes, denote and many more. The teacher should be aware that there would be varied answers based from different groups’ ideas. The clustered words are going to be interrelated to form responses as basis for comprehending the earlier clusters made by every group. In this portion, the students may disagree or agree with their corresponding justifications to establish mutual understanding.
Task four (4) is on writing and speaking to be done by creating predictions or assumptions that illustrate the events through a sketch revolving around the question, “What happens if war continuously takes place?” Other than this, the teacher initiates them to provide a caption of their sketches. The students are going to employ modals in speaking and in writing, such as will, can, may, might, going to, shall among other modals earlier discussed in class. The descriptive drawings done by the group will be presented in class to allow them to write the captions before deliberating. Some possible responses can be “There might be more deaths,” “It can create massive destruction of a country,” ” A country will be in chaos,” ” There will be extreme hunger or famine,” “It can cause widespread of disease,” and ” It may destroy the society’s hopes and aspirations.” There can be more activities to be designed out of movie trailers aligned with institutions’ learning objectives.
The poster activities and film trailer’s activities that intertwined here were based from the film, The Great Raid with its corresponding poster.