Silent Movies – The BELTA Day Special Edition

Just before the workshop…

On June 1st, BELTA (the teaching association of which I am president) held its first ever national conference. We were delighted with how it went, the speakers were fantastic and the delegates were enthusiastic participants. I’m already looking forward to next year.

On the day, I hosted a workshop based on the Silent Movies series of posts on my website. I showed four movies to the participants and asked them to share their ideas in groups for how they would use each of the films. I didn’t set any parameters, they were free to think of any idea they thought was interesting or useful.

After each film they discussed their ideas and made some notes. They then nominated their favourite idea from the discussion and shared it with everyone. I collected their notes in order to share some of their ideas here on the blog.

Note: All of these films have been featured in Silent Movies posts here on the blog before, but never with these ideas.


Group 1 Before the film starts, give the students a list of all the words they will see illustrated in the film. Then get them to check common collocations with these words in a dictionary. Once they have these listed, show them the film and ask them to make a note of how many they see.

Group 2 also looked at the different meanings of the words, such as light “bring something to light”, “light a cigarette”, “let there be light”. Play the video and then the students can write down all the different meanings they could remember which were seen in the video. Then they could write a story using as many phrases as possible, therefore putting the phrases into a context.


Group 1 Students write a script the film – what would the characters be saying if they were speaking? They can then act the dialogue out in front of the class.

Group 2 What will happen next? Ask the students to suggest what would happen if the film continued. This would provide them with the chance to practice inferencing, predicting and using future tenses.


The Scream

Group 1 This group focused on the dialogue spoken at the beginning, and suggested asking students to use reported speech to describe what the men say.

Group 2 suggested showing other paintings to the students and asking them to choose a piece of music they think would go well with their painting. They then suggested that the students combine the music and the painting by recreating how the people in the painting would move to the sounds of the music.


We didn’t have time for suggestions.

A big thank you to everyone who came to the workshop, your participation was much appreciated.

Thanks to Krishnan Coenen for the photo.


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