ESL Educators use Harry Potter Movies to Teach English


Expecto Patronum! The Harry Potter movies are the most popular films shown by ESL (English as a second language) educators to teach English during class, according to a new study. Research by Kaplan International Colleges, a leading provider of English courses, revealed that 76% of surveyed ESL teachers show movies in class to enhance lessons and help students improve their understanding of the English language. Pop Culture in Education is extremely effective, also featured in this months Teaching the AvatarGeneration iPad Magazine.

Kaplan discovered that the Harry Potter films were most used by ESL teachers with 18% stating that they showed the movies based on the best-selling books by J.K. Rowling during lessons. Wallace and Gromit came in second place with 14% and James Bond completed a British top three with 9%. Teen favourite Twilight and Tolkien epic Lord of the Rings were both shown by 5% of ESL teachers. Dr Carmen Herrero, Head of Spanish at Manchester Metropolitan University and Co-director of Film in Language Teaching Association (FILTA), explained how movies can play an important role in language education.

She said: “Due to the increasing importance of visual and media images, films have a great potential in the language classroom. Films are rich multimodal texts containing linguistic meaning, but they also incorporate other modes that are sometimes more difficult to illustrate or provide in the standard language lesson, such as the gestural component.

“Films are perfect vehicles for introducing students to different types of popular culture and engaging them with critical questions about the relationship between information and power, through the critical analysis of socio-political issues and intercultural relationships.”

Kaplan surveyed more than 500 ESL teachers from 40 countries to discover what tools they use to enhance their lessons. The results of Kaplan’s “How to Teach English” survey have been published as an infographic. The infographic page has quotes covering all aspects of the research.

how to teach english

Other survey results include:

  • 86% of ESL Teachers have used music in class: The Beatles being the most popular band (used by 40% of those surveyed).
  • 81% have used English-speaking celebrities to engage students: Barack Obama being the most popular.
  • 75% have used Newspapers in class: The New York Times being the most popular.
  • 60% have used TV shows in class: Mr Bean being the most popular.
  • 34% have used the Radio in class: The BBC World Service being the most popular.
  • 33% have used Comics in class: Spider-Man being the most popular.
  • 24% have used Computer Games in class: The Sims being the most popular.

Kaplan surveyed 503 ESL teachers from: the UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, Russia, India, South Korea, Turkey, Georgia, Germany, Brazil, Canada, Hong Kong, Ireland, Greece, Vietnam, Spain, Cuba, France, Taiwan, Thailand, Azerbajan, Pakistan, Tunisia, Mexico, Iran, Ukraine, Jamaica, Malaysia, Romania, Poland, Argentina, Czech Republic, Latvia, Uganda, Malta, Singapore and Chile.

In a previous study conducted in 2012, Kaplan found that the Harry Potter movies were the most popular films for helping people learn English outside of the classroom with 79% of those surveyed claiming that watching movies enhanced their English language skills.

Source: Press Release