Friday, February 22, 2008

iTunes Movie Rentals: Can such services help English Students?

Apple recently started its own movie rental service to provide downloadable movies that users can view for a short period of time. My question is how useful such a service will be to students and teachers learning ESL or EFL. Currently, the service is only available in certain areas and you can only view the movie during a 24-hour window. On the plus side, you can download these movies to newer-generation iPods, so a learner or teacher could view the movie away from the computer.

Personally, I'd probably buy the movie from iTunes (or other places) instead of renting one, but the idea of its portability is interesting. As a teacher, I can imagine showing parts of the movie to help students improve their listening, vocabulary, and better yet, their discussion skills because I wouldn't just watch the movie (a very passive skill with popcorn), but I'd have students discuss the movie content as a way of building thinking skills.

So, what is your opinion on using movies to improve your language skills? Share your experiences and ideas.

Randall

25 comments:

park said...

I think the movie receved by iTunes
can help English Students. It doesn't mean the movie is the best way of learning English for them.

Bruno said...

I used to rent a lot of movies when I was young. I'd always watch them twice. First, I'd try to watch them without the subtitles, and then I'd turn this feature on so that I could make notes of new vocabulary and expressions I was not familiar with.
I also agree that just watching a movie won't help anybody improve their English. I've always been encouraged to discuss its content with other people so that I could also have the opportunity to use the vocabulary and expressions I learned from the movie.
Another advantage of watching movies is that you can associate /see the situation/context and the kind of language you're expected to use.

deadbeat said...

I think it can help English students.
I am learning English and sometimes rent movies. When I watch movies, I see with native language subtitle and sound is English. Then, I can know many vocabularies and it becomes practise of hearing English.
It is one of the best ways of learning English.

Anonymous said...

I think using movies is one of good ways to learn English. It's more intimate than writing vocabularies and answering questions on paper.

Anonymous said...

I think the movie receved by iTunes can help English sutudent.Because movie is the best way of learning English.

B.L.G said...

I THINK IT DOES HELP YOU WITH HEARING THE PRONUSATION AND WITH SOME NEW WORD THE YOU MINGHT NOT KNOW.I THINK THE ITUNE STORE IT JUST TRYING TO MAKE MORE BUSSINESS THET WHY THEY DO THAT TO MAKE MORE PEOPLE TO BUY OR RENT

Tzu-Ling said...

iTunes provides free downloadable movies and music, but it has time limits on those downloadable files. Therefore I agree with that itunes is nothing more than a commercial way to make more benefits on consumers.
As for movie to English learning, I'm crazy about watching movie and learning English at the same time, because watching movie can be not only a reational activity during free time, but also a good way to learn a language and a culture. I agree with Randall saying that watching movies solely is a passive way of learning English. However, I usually watch movie alone because frequently stopping the movie to write down English expressions will make my friends unwilling to watch movie with me,so I usually don't know what I should discuss after finishing the movie. I think if there're a list of questions for discussion with every movie, many movie viewers will love to discuss their thoughts on movies.

Anonymous said...

It depends on the level of your english. There are some movies that I can't understand anything. Perhaps isn't it better listening to tunes having the thext?

Anonymous said...

I really agree your idea of having student discuss the movie content as a way of building thinking skill.Otherwise,i don't think just watching movie can improve the listening skill,vocabulary ..etc,even you downloaded some movies to your portable device like PSP,Ipod.Frankly speaking,I'm a movie buff,i like the horror,comedy,science fiction film ,almost i like all of the movie and watch all the the movie.But i really feel watching movie never improve my language skill.Maybe it need some watching skill.for example ,you need know the film script before you watch it or you watch a movie 5 times at least or such like that.but for me,every time,i just read the Chinese script when i watch it.So.....

Best,
Evan.J

mijia said...

I think watching movies can help me improve my listening stills if I do not turn on the subtitles when watching it the first time . As I have great difficulty understanding the actors' words, I sometimes can't concentrate on listening ,instead,I only understand them by reading the subtitles all the time without hearing anything.

Samaneh said...

I haven't any experience on the effect of movie on my language bet I see someone who improve their language by watching movie.

Jason said...

Using movies to improve english is good suggestion. However, some students say that does not work to improve their english.
So i must reiterate that watching moveies only can improve the oral and listening, especially build english sense. Moreover, students have not to choose complicated-content and deep films at the first time. It must base on your levels and keep to the working routines. Besides, you should write down some common-used speech and grammar during watching movies. Importantly, following their speaking, you should notice their pronounce.
Finally, you can choose the movies you like. If you have time, watch it again.

Russell said...

Many people in my country learn English by watching some famous TV series, such as "Friends" and "Sex and the city". In my point of view, it is a good way to improve English skills and relax at the same time. I can realize different cultures from that as well!

Oleg said...

I suppose Apple INC didn't create this service to improve english skills of foreign students :) but it is good idea to use it for learning, for example in my city it's to hard to get any video with english speech especially to rent it... So i support this idea! (but new problem, i can't login in the I-tunes store thereof i don't have credit card is supported by them)

Anonymous said...

I think it will be okay. All resources can help students to improve their skills

bebeyp said...

For a kid, she need listening and speaking ,then the reading and writing for learning any language.
I think that watch the movies could improve our listening, but it is better and helpful if we could pratice with people after watch them. Sometimes I need watch several times for parts that I could not understand. So,is it better that I could buy a classical movie rather then rent many of them.

vishwanath said...

In India,Classical and devotional music are popular among the lot.I try listening to them to soothe my nerves.They have a tremendous impact on our culture.Devotional music enhances our way of thinking,purifies our mind and keeps our mind unperturbed even in the midst of situations.You can bring down the house,with a good display of music.

A-Tse said...

I think it does help me to improve my English. Because I very like to watch movies, I often watch movies on TV or in movie theaters. I always pay attetions to listen what the actors or actresses say, and then translate the dialogues in Chinese in mind. As soon as I try to check the translation and the subtitles on the screen, I see if I make mistakes in the translation. By this way, I can improve the audition in English. Besides, I also try to guess the meanings of the words I don’t know on the screen, and then check their meanings by the subtitle in native langague. If I guess the wrong meanings, I will remember the words very deeply. Therefore, It is the best way to learn English or improve some ability in English.

Anonymous said...

Hello!I'm Anna!

well... There are a lot of ways to study English, its so, and every student should use all of them to complete and improve his knowleges. Watching English movies, listenning English songs or even just dialogs can help u to learn English well, but in my opinion at first u students should use simplier kinds of studying.

from Russia.

Anonymous said...

Learn English From Watching Movies!

Watching movies is one of the ways you can learn and improve you English skills. On the movie, actors and actresses have a lot of regular conversation you want to know, then once you are into the movie, you can easilly concentrate without getting bored. This is far good way, especially for the people who think studying just sitting on a chair and taking a note is really painful. Also you can learn some bad words that you can never be taught in your English class. Most importantly you can make huge progress in your listening. You can have a fun and also learn, therefore watching movies is a good way for English learners.

From Japan,

Anonymous said...

I think the movie can improve my english language. Especially listening skill. Watching the movie help me learn a lot of sentences that use popular in our life.

Julianna said...

Many friends, that speak english, tell me that the best way for to learn english is the movie. I think that they can be right.

Anonymous said...

Hello,

I'am agree with the help of movies like good tool to improve the languages, and at same time learn more about the background of the language.

I hate when I'm finding a movie and I watch a warning saying some thing like that: this video it's not playing in your country! why?? what's the idea of the internet? It's not be accross the borders?

Anonymous said...

hello I'm Diana from Colombia

It is a way interesting because the students practice all the skills overall. in my case I have many problems with the oral compression and it is a good way to practicwe such skill.

Aprajita Guha said...

Hi I am from India our accent is totally different then usa English accents..I always want to improve my English vocabulary as well as speaking skill so I used to rent a lot of English movies first I watch it without sub titles I listen each and every dialogs very carefully and try to understand it then i use to watch that same movie onces again without a sub title by doing this what i feel i am improving little bit now atleast i can understand us English...

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