English is Fun with Sitcoms

English teachers have been using videos in the classroom for decades and, more recently online video clips from Youtube. A situation comedy, often shortened to sitcom, is a genre of comedy that features characters sharing the same common environment, such as a home or workplace, with often humorous dialogue. Such programs originated in radio, but today, sitcoms are found mostly on television. Sitcoms are an excellent classroom resource for a number of reasons:

  • Watching TV shows and films in English is a wonderful way of improving your listening skills and pronunciation.
  • Sitcoms provide us with authentic English in all its guises. The situations that the “sit” refers to are often situations that are universal.
  • Sitcoms are full of cultural references.
  • Students love watching videos that reflect Britishness. They like to see how British people live, what they eat, how they spend their free time. They love seeing typical British homes and institutions, British countryside and British weather. Our students like to confirm their perceptions of British stereotypes and they like to be surprised by aspects of British culture that they didn’t know about before.
  • Sitcoms are funny and everybody enjoys laughing. Watching a humorous video clip in class can be rewarding for students and helps to create a positive classroom atmosphere. After all, English is fun especially through films and TV shows.

One of my favourite TV Shows is Friends. I’m sure many of you have heard of and watched the American sitcom. It ran in the US from 1994 until 2004. My favourite characters was Joey Tribbiani played by Matt Le Blanc. He always played the slightly stupid guy, but he also had some fabulous sketches. Here is one of my favourites:

In this sketch, Joey (a native English speaker) follows a beautiful woman into a beginner’s ESL class (English as a Second Language), and tells the teacher he is in the right place. Trying to impress the girl, he competes with beginning English learners to prove that his English is the best. Enjoy!
Funny! Basil gives Manuel a language lesson – Fawlty Towers – BBC. Basil and Manuel have a conversation about how to dress the breakfast trays. 

Go to http://uktv.co.uk/gold/homepage/sid/5527 and click on a sitcom

For a comprehensive list of UK sitcoms go to http://www.sitcom.co.uk/list_top.shtml

What is “Fawlty Towers: The sitcom”?

Extract from: English is Fun Especially with Friends

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/articles/sitcoms-a-tool-elt

 

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Content and language integrated learning

Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) involves teaching a curricular subject through the medium of a language other than that normally used. The subject can be entirely unrelated to language learning, such as P.E. , Arts & Craft or Sciece lessons being taught in English in a school in Spain. CLIL is taking place and has been found to be effective in all sectors of education from primary through to adult and higher education. Its success has been growing over the past 10 years and continues to do so.

Teachers working with CLIL are specialists in their own discipline rather than traditional language teachers. They are usually fluent speakers of the target language, bilingual or native speakers. In many institutions language teachers work in partnership with other departments to offer CLIL in various subjects. The key issue is that the learner is gaining new knowledge about the ‘non-language’ subject while encountering, using and learning the foreign language. The methodologies and approaches used are often linked to the subject area with the content leading the activities.

Benefits of CLIL

CLIL’s multi-faceted approach can offer a variety of benefits. It:

  • builds intercultural knowledge and understanding
  • develops intercultural communication skills
  • improves language competence and oral communication skills
  • develops multilingual interests and attitudes
  • provides opportunities to study content through different perspectives
  • allows learners more contact with the target language
  • does not require extra teaching hours
  • complements other subjects rather than competes with them
  • diversifies methods and forms of classroom practice
  • increases learners’ motivation and confidence in both the language and the subject being taught