Sylvia Guinan´s Review

Calling all creative teachers. Feast your eyes upon this array of stunning video lessons; the like of which I have never seen published anywhere else.

It was when I started working online and networking with other online teachers that I gained a deeper appreciation of the creativity and dedication of fellow colleagues. This review is my professional tribute to Maria Inés Brumana Espinosaon and Mónica Segura and creators of a fine bank of materials designed to save teacher time, as well as challenge the best of us to embrace the richness of movie magic in ELT.

I have seen many video support materials created by the established publishing giants in ELT and I have even paid quite a bit to provide my students with what I hoped would be amazing multi-media support.

It was also only when I started working online and creating my own stuff completely from scratch that the relatively shallow and linear nature of these products struck me. Publishing companies were charging a fortune for basic lesson plans that did not exploit videos in the myriad ways that students deserve and have a right to enjoy.

I’m sure you know that those on the market don’t emphasise group dynamics, student TPR / roleplaying or even bother to move away from typical exercises. What the publishers do is sell ‘seperate’ books on roleplay etc., and no one has taken teachers step by step through this kind of eclectic multi-sensory experience until now. It takes time for teachers to fine tune all of these elements, so I think it’s unique and much needed in the ELT world.

The traditional approach to movies is to see them as a source of authentic listening practice with visual support. While this is true, of course, movies can do much, much more for your students. Maria Ines has tapped into a field of creative energy that can inspire the most burnt out and cynical amongst us.

“ELT goes to the movies” makes optimal use of group work, student centred activities, lots of speaking, predicting, funny guesswork and cool games. Many teachers don’t know how to put classes like that together or lack the time, and the big publishers charge up to 100 euro for a video component to match course books…

To fully appreciate this you need to read the book. Each lesson plan is worthy of its own review. However I will say that if you’re the kind of teacher who wishes to awaken potential in students, engage them in multi-sensory ways that promote ‘whole-brain’ language processing, and enrich your own perspectives on educational multi-media, you will be anxious to browse through these detailed and superbly structured lesson plans.

I, myself, am a teacher who likes to challenge my own creative boundaries and step beyond them. Yet from a practical point of view, I know when not to re-invent the wheel if others have done it before me. From what I’ve seen so far, both online and offline, I would go so far as to say that Maria Ines has invented a ‘movie wheel’ that can traverse steep and unexplored educational terrain that unwieldy publishing giants have not yet marked on their maps.
When you have studied and applied these lesson plans you will then be ready to carve out your own magic movie maps. Here’s to launching Film Fantasia in the grassroots of ELT.

Thank you, Maria Ines, for your professional dedication and for providing us with this amazing resource.

Sylvia Guinan      
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