Benefits of filmmaking for EAL/D students

Benefits of filmmaking for EAL/D students

Students who have English as an Additional Language or Dialect (EAL/D) require scaffolded learning experiences that allow them to build the necessary English skills to access the general curriculum. They must also learn the language structures and vocabulary specific to particular Key Learning Areas. EAL/D students are drawn from varied multilingual and educational backgrounds and display diverse levels of English proficiency. They bring with them their own cultural knowledge and experiences. As highlighted by the ACARA English as an Additional Language or Dialect Teacher Resource, “(t)he particular challenge for EAL/D students is that they need to concurrently learn English, learn through (or in) English and learn about English.”

Filmmaking provides EAL/D students with the opportunity to:

  • Learn how to use spoken English to communicate formally and informally and to see English modeled by their peers and educators.
  • Plan, practise, revise and review their use of language in a meaningful context.
  • Experiment with vocabulary use and recast their understandings.
  • Show their understanding of curriculum content and concepts via visual means.
  • See that their own understanding of their worlds is valued and meaningful. This contributes to an inclusive learning environment, as well as deepening the intercultural understandings of the whole class.

Considerations relating to EAL/D students and filmmaking

  • Many students will come from educational systems that place emphasis on independent work over collaboration. This means that the collaborative, small-group skills required by the filmmaking experience need to be discussed and explicitly modelled.
  • Speaking in front of large groups may be confronting for the new English Learner. Students need to be given ample time to practise and to work in small groups that they feel comfortable in.
  • Students may come from backgrounds where critical and creative thinking skills are not encouraged in the classroom. These students will need to be carefully guided towards the cultivation of these skills.
  • Not all cultures value the sharing of feelings and an individual’s thoughts in a public setting. Thus the feedback and constructive criticism component of the filmmaking process may be confronting for some EAL/D students.
  • It is important to not assume that EAL/D students possess the everyday and real-world knowledge necessary to complete learning experiences.

Click here for an example of students from EAL/D backgrounds creating a short film to demonstrate their understandings of metaphors.

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