Why Teach with Film?
While there may be substantive debate about the value of video in language education, there are many arguments favoring film as a resource for instruction. In his 1999 article “
- give students realistic models to imitate for role-play
- increase awareness of other cultures by teaching appropriateness and suitability
- strengthen audio/visual linguistic perceptions simultaneously
- widen the classroom repertoire and range of activities
- help utilize the latest technology to facilitate language learning
- teach direct observation of the paralinguistic features found in association with the target language
- provide relevant scenarios and language for students of language for special purposes
- offer a visual reinforcement of the target language and can lower anxiety when practicing the skill of listening.
Where do I start?
In recent years, with the advent of p2p filesharing and widespread copyright abuse on the internet, respect for intellectual property conventions has become paramount for academic institutions. Consequently, due diligence should be paid by instructors to utilize the resources Columbia provides whenever possible.
What follows is a comprehensive overview of the available resources for 1. screening films in class, 2. providing DVDs for viewing in the (brick and mortar) libraries, and 3. providing streaming versions of films and film clips for your students.
Feature Length Films through Course Reserves
The Columbia Libraries offer several options for providing access to film for use in instruction.
- Start by searching the Digital Campus film database. Digital Campus offers over 400 international films for streaming. If the film is available there, it can easily be offered through Course Reserves and streamed from your Courseworks site by placing a request through Course Reserves (Reserve Form). Turnaround time: up to two weeks.
- If the film isn’t available via Digital Campus, then search through CLIO to verify whether it’s owned by the libraries. If so, place the request with Course Reserves (Reserve Form). Turnaround time: up to two weeks after request
- Films not in the libraries’ collection or Digital Campus may be available for licensed streaming but will require more lead time, as much as two months. Please indicate, in the additional information box on the Reserve Form if you require streaming for your course. Otherwise, a hard copy of the DVD can be purchased and made available for viewing in the libraries.
- Alternatively, if you or your department own a commercially-purchased copy of a film, your DVDs can be placed on course reserve in Butler Library for individual student viewing (limited to 5 titles). Such copies will be identified as non-circulating or in library use only.
Viewing Film in Class
If a film title is available in the Butler Media Collection, it can be borrowed for screening in class. To do so, submit a screening schedule or syllabus with titles and dates at least two weeks in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org. Titles will be held under the instructor’s name or designated person at the Butler Reserves desk for check out on requested dates. Requested films can be checked out only by instructors or a TA with a Deputy Borrowing Card, available from the Library Information Office.
The Berkeley Library of Foreign Language Film Clips (LFLFC)
An additional option for language instructors at Columbia is the Berkeley Library of Foreign Language Film Clips. Since we are a participating institution, Columbia instructors can access the LFLFC’s collection of 14,500 film clips drawn from 415 films in 23 languages for use in their instruction.
For more information on using the LFLFC, see the LRC’s site or contact Steve Welsh directly at steve.welsh [at] columbia.edu.
Summary: Film Resources at Columbia
- Digital Campus Film Database (International titles)
- Columbia Libraries CLIO search
- Course Reserves Online Request Form for Instructors
- Columbia Libraries: Using film in your classes
- Columbia Libraries: Requesting Films for Classroom Screening
- LRC’s guide to Using the Berkeley Library of Foreign Language Film Clips
Copyright and Fair Use Guidance for Film Resources
The Copyright Advisory Office at Columbia has provided these resources on Public Domain, Library Acquisition, and Fair Use:
- Showing Films and Other Media
- Video and Education: Your Copyright Options
- What is Fair Use?
- Fair Use Checklist
Further Reading on Using Film in Language Instruction
- Practical Aspects of Using Video in the Foreign Language Classroom – Christine Canning-Wilson, The Center of Excellence for Research and Training, Higher Colleges of Technology (Abu Dhabi).
- Methods of Using Videos in Language Teaching Classrooms – Didar Bildebayev, Almaty University.
- Languages, Camera, Action: Using Film to inspire your Students – Gil Poças, in the Guardian. Sep. 26, 2013.
- Pedagogical Perspectives on Using Films in Foreign Language Class – Casanave, Christine Pearson, Ed.; Simons, J. David, Ed. SFC Monograph #4. March, 1995.