2012/01/05

Film English | Learning English Through Film

I want to start the new year with this optimistic lesson  based on a short film School Portrait by director Nick Scott  which tells the story of a jaded, cynical school photographer who tries to give each child a harsh vision of what their future will really look like, but a little girl with an infectious smile teaches him an important life lesson. The lesson also includes images from  a beautiful book Everything Is Going To Be OK which uses positive artwork from a variety of artists, graphic designers and illustrators.  I discovered the book on Maria Popova‘s wonderful Brainpickings

Step 1

Write School Portrait on the board and ask your students if they know what it means. If they don’t know explain that it is a photograph taken at school by a professional photographer. Ask your students if they had an individual school portrait taken at their school. Ask about their experience. If you have your own school portrait show it to your students.

Ask your students if they can remember what the photographer said to them and how he encouraged them to smile.

Step 2

Tell your students that hey are going to watch a short film called School Portrait. Ask them the following question:

How is the photographer different from a normal school photographer?

Step 3

Cut up the sentences which the photographers says in the document  below. Put students into small groups and give each group one set of sentences. Tell them they are going to watch the film again  and that they have to put the photographer sentences into the correct order.

school portrait

Check answers and get feedback.

Step 3

Put your students  in small groups and ask them to discuss what the message of the film is.

Step 4

The message of the film is that smiling and being optimistic is extremely important in life. Show students the images below taken from a beautiful book Everything Is Going To Be OK  . Ask them to discuss each image and its message.

You can also show the images using this PowerPoint presentation.

Follow up

Ask students if they know what an infectious smile is. Ask them if they know anyone with an infectious smile. Show them the photo below.

Ask your students the following questions:

Do you like this woman’s smile?

Does she smile a lot?

What kind of person do you think she is?

What kind of philosophy does she have about life?

What does she do?

Tell your students they are going to watch a short film about this woman. Ask them to watch the film and check their answers.


Homework

For homework give students the link to this TED video in which Ron Gutman talks about empirical research which shows how important smiling is in life.

Ask students to watch the video and make notes about research which shows that smiling has a positive effect on our lives.

Give students the transcript of the talk.

Ron Gutman transcript

Check answers in the following class.

I hope you enjoy the films and the lessons.

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