There are numerous ways in which you can use video clips and short films in your ESL lessons. Whether as a warmer to pique your students’ interest or as a main activity for the class, using media can enrich your lessons and capture your students’ attention.
While you may be sold on using video clips in your classroom, finding free, online, appropriate media isn’t always so easy. Take a look at these top recommended websites for finding videos to use in your ESL classes.
PLEASE NOTE: Not all the content on these sites or channels will be appropriate for all viewers, so know exactly which video you want to use and have the correct one queued up before class.
Where Can You Watch The Best Foreign Films Out There?
There are several benefits to watching foreign films, like learning new languages, appreciating cultural diversity, and finding universal human experience. There are many lists out there on the best foreign films of all times that have analysis and reasons why they’re the best, so check them out.
If you’re interested in watching foreign films but don’t know where you can watch them, Ofer Tirosh, the CEO of Tomedes Translation Services, wrote a list of streaming services with the best foreign films from each website. Through the translation of these films, the audience can better understand the film’s cultural context in which they originated. Watching these films can be a good way for ESL learners to practice reading English faster and for those learning a new language to pronounce it better.
This website is a number one choice for ESL teachers’, whether you are teaching children, teens or adults. On the FILMS short website, you can easily find what you’re looking for because the films are sorted into different genres, as well as country of origin. One of the handiest features is that you can easily tell which films have dialogue and which don’t (particularly useful because, for use in an ESL classroom, dialogue-free videos offer so many options for potential activities). Just look for the ‘*’ in the title and you’ll know that video is dialogue-free. They also have listings of award-winning films and frequently update the website.
Check it out here: FILMS short
Short of the Week
Another must-see website for finding the perfect film clip is Short of the Week. If you want access to the latest short films, sign up to get updates delivered to your inbox every week. If you’re looking for something specific, click on ‘Channels’ to browse by genre, country or topic. If your students are tech-savvy and tend to have already seen whatever you rustle up from Youtube, this website is a great place to find new material as they showcase videos by up-and-coming film-makers.
Visit here: Short of the Week
While Future Shorts have their own website, the best place to view their work is on the Youtube page. They release seasonal catalogues of brand new films and the variety is immense. Browse by genre or check out the ‘Best of Future Shorts’ if you don’t know where to start. Be wary of graphic content – always check the films before you show it in class! Future Shorts films are a real conversation starter and many of them are just a few minutes long – perfect for a warmer to start your class.
Watch some here: Future Shorts
Another Youtube Channel not to be missed is the CGBros – the number 1 stop if you’re looking for CGI animated shorts. As well as the latest CGI clips, you can also find tutorials and other videos of interest relating to CGI – great potential if you’re doing a film-making class.
Click the link to visit the channel: The CGBros
Looking for short clips from your favourite Hollywood movies? Look no further than Movie Clips, a Youtube Channel which helpfully splits up great scenes from top films into bite-sized chunks. Whether you’re showing your students clips of a new release or introducing them to something you watched decades ago, Movie Clips can provide the links.
Here is where you’ll find them: Movie Clips
Want more learning tips? Visit our Teaching Tips blog.
About the Author
Celia Jenkins is a freelance writer and TEFL-trained English teacher who spent five years teaching in Asia. She specialises in travel writing and writing for children, and has a penchant for knitting. Celia is the author of Knitted Sushi (easy knitting patterns for beginners) and Ben and Maki – Let’s be Friends (an English/Japanese bilingual picture book). To contact Celia about freelancing work, check out her Upwork profile or contact Celia through her website.
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