LEARNING ENGLISH AT THE UNIVERSITY THROUGH ORIGINAL VERSION MOVIES
English is widely recognized as an essential communication tool in all sectors of today’s world and, specially, in the new European Higher Education Area (EHEA). The acquisition of a good level of English is not a simple task for non native students. This is particularly true for students from Spain, and also from other Mediterranean countries, where the learning of foreign languages has traditionally been undervalued. The grounds for this could be found in the power and universality of our own language as well as in various social and political factors. One of the facts that have influenced the language education of several generations of Spaniards is that all cinema and TV movies have been dubbed into Spanish for decades. In this sense, several research studies have proved that the current levels of English of university students in our country are significantly below the European average.
Being able to communicate in international contexts is an important transversal competence in the EHEA. Spanish regulations must comply with in Bologna requirements and academic authorities must guarantee that students have accredited a certain English level (at least, B1) before graduation. However, most universities do not include English subjects in their degree curricula, so students are many times left alone. Extra-academic activities can, to a certain extent, make up for this lack of formal education in English.
What could be better than learning English while enjoying a good movie? The project consists of scheduling a complete cinema season of twelve movies in original version (English or American English), in order to enhance oral and writing skills. The main features of the project are:
- The project was organized by a group of lecturers, among them a lecturer in English, and several Erasmus students.
- Both classic and contemporary movies were selected. We showed one movie per week, gradually increasing the level of difficulty: first, they were shown with Spanish subtitles, then with English subtitles and, finally, with no subtitles.
- An online course was created in the university’s Virtual Campus so as to make additional material (original scripts, movie reviews, quizzes, questionnaires, etc.) available to the students.
- Students could obtain 1 ECTS if they fulfilled the project requirements.
The Project has been implemented in the last two academic years, achieving excellent results:
- More than 50 students registered each academic year, coming from 7 different university degrees.
- Data elicited from the final questionnaire showed that students assessed the project positively, obtaining 9 points out of 10.
- 97% of the students would recommend the activity.
- 100% of the students declared their intention to participate in the project, if it was implemented again.
- The majority of students expressed their intention to see original version movies from then on.