The Seven Best Silent Short Films for Language Teaching

camera-brian-fegter

 

As many short films are artistic, they have limited appeal in the commercial marketplace and are funded from diverse sources. To make them easier to sell worldwide, they often contain little or no dialogue, which makes comprehension much easier. As a result, they offer intensely ‘filmic’ experiences, using images and movement, sequence and duration, sound and music to tell their stories. These silent films are perfect for the language classroom as they can be used with any level – the teacher just needs to adapt the difficulty of the task to match the level of the students. Here are the seven short films which I have found work best in the language classroom.

 

Your Secret

Your Secret is a wonderful short film by Jean-Sebastian Monzani. What I like most about the film is that it involves the viewers and encourages them to take an active and creative part.

You can watch the film below and find a full lesson plan here.

 

Your secret from Jean-Sebastien Monzani on Vimeo.

 

Taking Pictures

Taking Pictures is a simple but beautiful short animated film by Simon Taylor. The film can be used as a prompt for getting students to describe photos.

You can watch the film below and find a full lesson plan here.

 

Taking Pictures (Animated Short Film) from Simon Taylor on Vimeo.

 

Moments

Momentos is a poignant and moving short film by Nuno Rocha which deals with the theme of homelessness.

You can watch the film below and find a full lesson plan here.

 

MOMENTOS from Nuno Rocha on Vimeo.

 

A Thousand Words

A Thousand Words is a short film by Ted Chung which tells the story of a young man who finds a woman’s camera.

You can watch the film below and find a full lesson plan here.

 

A Thousand Words from Ted Chung on Vimeo.

 

97% Love Match

97% Love Match by Ben Brand is a short film which deals with the theme of new technology and dating apps.

You can watch the film below and find a full lesson plan here.

 

97% (Short film) from Ben Brand on Vimeo.

 

Amar

Amar is a short film by Andrew Hinton which focuses on a single day in the life of a fourteen year-old Indian boy.

You can watch the film below and find a full lesson plan here.

 

Amar (all great achievements require time) from Pilgrim Films on Vimeo.

 

Five

Five is a short film by The Mercadantes which shows the lives of five children of different religions.

You can watch the film below and find a full lesson plan here.

 

Five from The Mercadantes on Vimeo.

 

I hope you like the films. Are there any other silent short films that you’ve used which have worked well with your students?

 

Photo credit Brian Fegter

11 comments on “The Seven Best Silent Short Films for Language Teaching

  1. Dear Mr Kieran,
    Thank you very much for the films and a good opportunity to have more interesting and motivating lessons with my students.
    Sincerely yours,
    Maria

    1. Kieran Donaghy says:

      Hi Maria,
      Thanks a lot for taking the time to comment. I’m very happy you find the lessons interesting and motivating.
      All the best,
      Kieran

  2. I don’t know if it counts in this list, but I like using ‘Signs’, which I discovered here on Film English: http://film-english.com/2011/03/05/lesson-plan-on-communicating-more-effectively/
    There is so much you can do with this, but one idea I’ve used a lot is, after watching (and discussing?) the film, to pair students up to have a ‘silent conversation’ . I use mini whiteboards, as then it’s much easier to keep a conversation going without using up lots of paper. Generally the students ‘eavesdrop’ on other conversations, and it spreads across the room.

    1. Kieran Donaghy says:

      Hi lesley,
      Thanks a lot for commenting. Yes, I agree that Signs is a great short film and one of the most popular on Film English.
      All the best,
      Kieran

  3. I really thank you for sharing.
    I have never seen such inspiring videos for my lessons.
    I’ll try to use them as soon as possible.
    Best wishes for you.
    Antonio

    1. Kieran Donaghy says:

      Hi Antonio,
      Thanks a lot for taking the time to comment. I’m very happy you like the films; I hope the lesson work well with your students.
      All the best,
      Kieran

  4. MARIA HELENA LUNA says:

    Dear Kieran,
    Excellent material! All films and lesson plans are really useful. I would definitely be using them in my classes and I am sure my students would love them. Thanks for sharing!
    Regards,
    MH

    1. Kieran Donaghy says:

      Hi Maria Helena,
      Thanks a lot for taking the time to comment. I’m very happy you find the lessons useful; I hope your students like them too.
      All the best,
      Kieran

  5. Thanks a lot for sharing tbese short films which are so values oriented. Very useful in my classes. I look forward to more films. Thank you, really! 🙂

    1. Kieran Donaghy says:

      Hi Nelia,
      I hope your students enjoy the films.
      All the best,
      Kieran

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