How to Use TV & Movies for Foreign Language Teaching

Foreign language teachers know it can be tough to keep language lessons fresh, fun, and engaging, especially when it's time to practice reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills.

But, with the right resources and modern teaching methods, foreign language classes can be incredibly effective and a ton of fun!

So, today we're going to talk about bringing TV shows and movies into the classroom setting to optimize teaching.

We will discuss how TV and movies can help students develop their language skills and knowledge of culture, and suggest some classroom activities.

Get ready to be the most popular language teacher around!

How to Become a Foreign Language Teacher

Before we dive into teaching with TV and movies, let's quickly address how to become a language teacher. There are several ways that you can make this a side hustle or a career for yourself.

One way to become a foreign language teacher is to teach English overseas to non-natives. To do this, you can complete a TEFL program online or in a classroom. Then, you can go abroad to work as a private tutor, get a job in a school or academy, or teach online from home.

Another approach is to complete a Bachelor's degree or graduate program in education with a focus on foreign language teaching. This will help you to get a job in a school in your home country teaching foreign languages.

Finally, with an advanced language degree, you can even apply for lecturing jobs at a college or university. Here are some top tips and tricks for being the best teacher you can be at any level.

Using TV & Movies in Language Teaching

Whatever kind of foreign language teacher you would like to be, you will want to know how to optimize your lessons for effectiveness and enjoyment. This is where TV and movies come into play.

By showing your students a great TV show or movie in their target language, you are providing them with engaging and quality exposure to the foreign language.

This is the methodology employed by Lingopie, the streaming service that teaches foreign languages through immersion in enjoyable content. Lingopie also has interactive subtitles and transcripts, digital vocabulary flashcards, and quizzes to keep learners on track.

Educators can engage with this site to gain useful insights into incorporating TV shows and movies into their language courses. Lingopie labels content as suitable for beginner, intermediate, or advanced learners, so you can browse and see which shows are best for your program.

How it Works

It is no secret that learning is easier when you are having fun, and students are much more likely to retain information when it is learned in an entertaining context, rather than in isolation from a textbook.

Watching a foreign language movie makes the language much more accessible and provides a cultural and social context for words and phrases. Moreover, it creates associations with vocabulary to the character or scene from which it is learned. This is great for retaining information.

Foreign language programs that employ engaging and relevant media in the classroom will have more success in keeping students engaged and motivated than education programs that rely too heavily on traditional coursework and rote learning.

TV shows and movies are also great sources of new vocabulary, including slang and location-specific colloquialisms that are not often taught in more formal settings. Learners can deepen their social and cultural education through engagement with this media.

Now that you know why TV shows and movies are great resources for foreign language teaching, let's look at how you can use them to teach the four language skills of reading, writing, listening, and speaking.

Moreover, we will address how TV and movies are also excellent tools for teaching cultural awareness.


You may not think it, but movies and TV shows can improve students' reading skills. You can use subtitles and transcripts to allow students to read along with dialogue. Moreover, you can set homework to read a review of the movie you used in class.

It is not uncommon for language teachers to get stuck in their ways during their long teaching career and resist modernity and new approaches. But by accepting that reading lessons can be improved by a great movie, educators open the doors to more engaging and enjoyable lessons.


A foreign language teacher can expose students to different elements of writing skills through TV and movies. Writing classes should cover the skills of reporting, expressing opinions, analyzing, and creative writing.

Learners can write plot summaries or reviews of shows to develop their factual writing abilities. Or, they can write new scenes or imagined dialogues to develop their creative writing skills and expression in a foreign language.


It is easier to see how movies and TV shows can help teachers build listening into a language program. By exposing the class to native speakers in a movie, a language teacher can provide valuable listening comprehension practice.

Learners can begin to identify different accents, develop their ability to pick up useful information from the spoken word, and build their confidence in understanding everyday verbal language.


A great way for teachers to encourage speaking practice in the classroom is with speech shadowing. This is when a student repeats aloud the dialogue from a movie, in an effort to sound just like the actor speaking their native language.

This is excellent practice for fluency and pronunciation, and it makes for a very entertaining activity in class as everyone put their best acting hats on!

For many learners, the goal is simply to speak confidently in a second language, rather than becoming fluent. Through speech shadowing and absorbing how native actors use language verbally, your class can move a lot closer to achieving their goals.

Cultural Context

Lastly, lessons that employ TV shows and movies double as culture classes. A language teacher can use this content to bring some awareness of different cultures into the program.

Any teacher in a language education program should know that language and culture go hand-in-hand and that culture needs to be learned in order to fully appreciate language.

For example, if you are teaching Spanish, you can impress upon learners that there are 20 countries across several continents in which Spanish is an official language.

This means there is no one "Spanish" culture, but rather a diverse mix of cultures in Spain and all across Latin America, the Caribbean, and parts of Africa.

When Spanish students learn about different Spanish-speaking cultures, they gain a better understanding of the world as a whole and how history and politics have shaped the modern world languages and cultures as we know them.

FAQs: Foreign Language Teaching

What is foreign language teaching?

Teaching a foreign language means teaching students a language that is not their mother tongue. Foreign language teachers work in various settings, such as in lecture halls, classrooms, online, or one-on-one tutoring sessions.

Foreign language teaching can be formal and follow a strict curriculum or informal and conversational.

How much do foreign language teachers make?

The amount that foreign language teachers make varies greatly depending on their country of employment, their level of education, class size, and specializations.

For instance, a business English teacher at a Chinese university will be on a much higher salary than a one-on-one French tutor with no degree working in Panama.

Decide where and how you want to teach languages and enquire about the salary in local schools.

What are the best methods for teaching a foreign language?

One of the best methods for foreign language teachers to employ is the use of TV and movies in the classroom. This engages students and provides an authentic context for the target language. Moreover, teachers should encourage as much student-talking time and active learning as possible.

Can you teach a foreign language without a bachelor's degree?

Yes, there are some ways to become a language teacher without credentials from a college or university. One method is to join an online community like iTalki, where you can tutor people online.

If you want to teach in-person and overseas, there are a number of schools abroad that do not require a degree to teach, so long as you have high proficiency in the language and a passion for teaching.

Summary: How to Use TV & Movies for Teaching Foreign Languages

This has been a quick guide for all foreign language teachers on how to bring TV and movies into your language programs.

Whether or not you have prior classroom experience, you should now have a better understanding of how to incorporate TV and movies into language courses to optimize learning and engagement.

The main aspects of learning foreign languages are reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Moreover, it is important to gain some cultural awareness as you learn. As you can see, TV and movies are great resources for improving all of these areas.Remember, language teachers can visit Lingopie, the platform for learning languages with TV and movies, to find great foreign-language content for their classes.

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