British Film Institute - Screening Languages

Testing the impact of teaching and learning with short films on pupil engagement in modern foreign languages.

Screening Languages

Between September 2013 and July 2015, 27 teachers, from 19 schools, took part in a programme to test the impact of teaching and learning with short films on pupil engagement and attainment in modern foreign languages.

Across the two years, teachers taught more than 150 lessons using short films, in French, Spanish, German, Turkish, Arabic, Italian, and Mandarin Chinese.  The teachers were supported in curriculum design by termly professional development days and mentoring and classroom observation from a team of researchers and lead practitioners.

Pupils found work with film engaging and challenging. It helped them make progress in the main skill areas (reading, writing, speaking, and listening), and developed their cultural awareness. Teachers developed in confidence and subject knowledge, took more risks, had higher expectations of pupils, and overall derived greater professional satisfaction from their teaching. Collaborative models of professional development, lesson planning, and materials design underpinned successful pupil attainment and increased teacher confidence. All participating schools have, to some degree, incorporated short film into their KS3 plans.

Collaborative planning is so powerful that we are planning as a whole department how to use short films.




Screening Languages films - suggested films for teaching MFL to KS3 and above


Mark Reid, Head of Education BFI, [email protected] 

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