5 Great Movie Scenes to Teach Pronunciation to Your ESL Class

November 23, 2021
 Min Read

Being quite abstract and mainly based on practice, pronunciation can be a tough skill to teach your ESL students – if not your greatest challenge, depending on the size of your group and its native language.

Though the problem never really lacked solutions (e.g., repetitions exercises, annotated vocabulary lists, …), their repetitive nature eventually ends up being a barrier that keeps us from motivating our students and getting results.

We asked ourselves: How can we solve that? Starting from what already existed, we did our best to put together engaging activities by dusting the ones we knew well and finding the perfect balance between teaching and entertainment. We wanted our students (and yours, obviously) to have fun while practicing their spoken English skills.

Did we succeed? You tell us 😬 Keep reading and find out how we mixed shadowing and pop culture, in our freely downloadable folios.

Learning through shadowing

Core to our speaking activities, shadowing is a repetition technique that helps students improve their pronunciation, intonation, and rhythm by mimicking how native speakers would say certain words.

As teachers, you are most likely familiar with the fact that each language comes with its own sound, tone, and speed. And not getting to know the melody of it all might result in miscommunications and unnecessary struggles.

Our activities will help you teach your students the use of sentence stress, by demonstrating to them how important it is to emphasize the right content words (most often nouns, verbs, adjectives, and/or adverbs) – be it to express emotions, …

"Love" is used here to express emotions

… put the light on new or significant information, …

Another example of focus words

… correct something, …

… or create a contrast.

When shadowing, the ideal would be to instantly repeat what the audio says – like a professional interpreter, really. Well. We couldn’t resist playing with that idea and added a little twist to the exercise. You’re welcome!

Download your brand-new shadowing activities for ESL class…

For each clip, find an instruction sheet, the original script and an annotated one, to show your students how to work on their voice. Notice that the hardest part of the job is already done, so you won’t have to break a sweat!

Our favorite Class activity to teach Focus Words

Now, just hit the download button, select the clip that fits your needs best (e.g., level, length, accent, …), and start your class! Feel free to scroll down and browse through our scenes selection below beforehand to help you in your choice.

Or use them all, we won’t mind.

… and get started!

Still wondering where to begin? Get inspiration from these simple steps – also available in our instruction sheets – and create a lesson perfectly tailored to your students.

No. 01 ¬ Watch the clip. Select and play one of our movie or series scenes linked to the activity. Check out the following list to visualize our amazing clips now.

La La Land | Movie (2016) | U.S. | Beginner |  1’02”
Follow Mia and Sebastian’s (not-so-successful) first conversation.
The Good Place | TV Show (2016 – 2020) | U.S. | Intermediate |  1’49”
Michael welcomes you to the Good Place.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince | Movie (2009) | U.K. | Intermediate | 0’50”
Harry and Hermione discuss their dates to professor Slughorn’s Christmas party.
The Devil Wears Prada | Movie (2006) | U.S. | Beginner | 1’54”
Witness Andy’s overwhelming job interview at fashion magazine Runway.
The Matrix | Movie (1999) | U.S. | Beginner | 2’10”
Will you choose the blue pill or the red pill?

BONUS for the boldest!

Sherlock | TV Show (2010 – 2017) | U.K. | Advanced | 1’33”
The great detective Sherlock Holmes experiences doubts for the first time.

No. 02 ¬ Circle focus words. Give students the original script and play the clip again once or twice, so that they can circle focus words and draw intonation patterns.

No. 03 ¬ Pair up! Then, inform them that they will be performing the clip to their peers. Put them into small groups, depending on how you want this incoming step to be done.

No. 04 ¬ Practice the script. Here’s where the shadowing comes into action. Give students some time to practice performing the movie script – first with, then without the audio – and point out the important parts.

No. 05 ¬ Act it out! Without holding anyone at knife point, ask one or two pairs to act out the scene. Make it fun! Do this by using the video and muting it, so that their voices will replace the original sound.

Invite them to focus on different words and play with the meaning of the clip. Why not try to reverse the intentions of the scene?

Now, what?

Enjoyed our activities? Know that our textbook is filled with more of them! They are all completely ready-to-use and waiting for you to try. At Flowchase, we want to be your best ally in helping ESL students improve their spoken English.

Wish to see more? Visit our website and book a product tour now!

Subscribe and receive new teaching resources twice a month.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.