Using Movie Trailers to Improve your English

Why Use Movie Trailers?

If you’re visiting this website for the first time, you may wonder why we’re recommending that English learners use movie trailers to help them learn the language. While movie trailers certainly won’t teach language fundamentals like alphabets and proper grammar, they’re incredibly useful for students looking to enhance their speaking and listening skills for the following reasons:

1. Entertainment Value
Whether you’re an English as a Foreign Language (EFL) tutor or student, you probably know that EFL exercises can often become tedious and boring. Therefore, teachers and self-learners should take care to add in fun exercises, such as enjoying movie trailers, that still develop English skills. Adding engaging and entertaining exercises to your learning routine will help you develop your skills without playing the same matching game over and over again.

2. Cultural Importance
Movies are a major part of culture in many English-speaking countries, so movie trailers can offer a window into the pop culture and history of countries like the United States or Great Britain. In the United States, for example, many films focus on past historical eras, offering a brief glimpse into American history. Forrest Gump shows American History from the mid-1900s until the 1990s, and the main character’s slow and simple style of narration makes it an easy movie to understand (provided your audience is old enough to understand some of the mature content). Other movies tackle important social and cultural issues of the day. Take, for example, the trailer for Black Panther:

Linguistically, this trailer features relatively simple and easy to understand dialogue – even for low-level learners. However, Black Panther has intense cultural significance for being one of the few non-comedy American films to feature a majority-black cast without tokenizing or stereotyping the characters. Therefore, this movie trailer serves not only as a good way to test listening and comprehension skills for learners of all levels, but it also acts as a teaching moment for race and culture in the United States.

3. Hearing Native Speakers
As anyone who has learned a foreign language will tell you, actually listening to or conversing with a native speaker is far more difficult than with a teacher or fellow student. In learning environments, a foreign language is often spoken slowly and with perfect, proper grammar. However, in the real world, speakers talk quickly, casually, and colloquially. Therefore, using media like movie trailers can help non-native English speakers get to know everyday English use in a low-pressure environment that allows them to ask questions about colloquial slang and grammatical constructions.