I received a question today on using films in class so students see English being used in real life situations.

You can’t just have the students sitting there in front of the screen while you
play a video over and over again. You have to get students to participate in the learning actively, not just sit there like vegetables in their seats;

Get the students to do the work. They learn better when it’s that
way around and not you delivering something to them on a plate.

Ask each student to find a movie trailer and make up three questions about the trailer.
Question one has to be a language question such as what does the man say before he shoots the gun.
Question two is an observational question such as what colour is the bikini, what make are the cars in the car chase?
Question three is about the film, what’s the title, who are the actors, or where is the film set.

Show the questions first.
Then show the trailer, once or twice.
Check answers, write up points for the teams.

Move on to the second trailer.

Each trailer should be no more than one minute long – most trailers are 3 minutes, students show only the first minute, and the questions have to be answered from content in that first minute.

Alternatively if using the whole 3-minute trailer put three students onto preparing nine questions for it.

If you find a film that is a hit amongst the trailers you could use bigger chunks of the film in a future lesson.

Above all don’t spend your precious time looking at movie trailers to try to satisfy your students.

Let them do the work and you guide them.