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Assessing language learning using film sound

Exploring the use of film in the classroom and how it can be used to assess the progress of your learners.

Throughout this week we’ve been exploring how paying close attention to sound in short films can stimulate, surprise, and engage learners, and how that engagement can be mobilised behind learning aspects of language.

We’ve thought about the different dimensions of sound in a film soundtrack, and how sometimes that random collection of noises can prompt the imagination into strange and exciting places. We’ve considered how sound establishes different kinds of setting, and shapes our response to characters.

Now we’d like to ask you to think a little beyond using film sound to teach or introduce language ideas, and to consider how film sound might be used to help you assess the progress your learners have made towards your language learning objectives.

The short video at the beginning of this step explains some of the ways in which creative work with film can support assessment of learning in general, and language learning in particular. We also have two documents for you to download and read if you like: the first one is a general outline of some of the principles behind film-based language assessment tasks, written by course contributor Jenny Carpenter, and the other is a resource created by Into Film that suggests ways in which film might support assessment in literacy.


Your task in this step is to design a simple activity that uses film sound to help you assess your students’ progress towards one or more language learning objectives. Use the Thinking About Assessment Using Film resources in the downloads section to help you if you like. What signs of progress would you be looking for? What kinds of written/spoken/creative outcomes would you expect to see? Share your activity idea in the comments section if you wish.

Extension Activity

Using the Thinking About Assessment Using Film Table resource in the download section, create your own table of assessment parameters. Share your completed table to padlet.

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Short Film in Language Teaching

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FutureLearn - Learning For Life

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