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Film and English

Classroom approaches

By watching closely, repeat-viewing a sequence, scene or film, a range of detail can be uncovered and interpreted. An exploration of individual components and their effects, in a film, as with a written text, allows for analysis of the filmmaker's intentions and the degree of success with which these are achieved. Possible approaches in the classroom might include watching a sequence without the sound, focusing on the visual – or vice versa – to concentrate students' attention on a particular element within a scene. Exploring how the text directs the audience to respond, either at a particular moment or throughout, can produce detailed and thoughtful analysis.

Film can be used as a stimulus for descriptive writing, with mise-en-scène providing learners with an audio-visual reference point for writing about characters, periods and places beyond the remit of their own experience.

An adaptation of a literary text could be used to explore complex concepts such as viewpoint and narrative device. Similarly, a carefully chosen film extract can be used to explore how atmosphere or mood is created in the moving image, with students then creating their own written, spoken or performance pieces to reflect this understanding.