IV. Group Discussion. The Future of Cinematography.

Topic 1. Video: is it a blessing or a curse?

a) Read the text that can serve as a starting point for your discussion.

Video Comes Home

Home video successfully arrived in 1972 when Sony devised its 3/4 inch U-Matic system. Using a cassette that slipped easily into th e

recorder, it was no longer necessary for the user to touch the tape at all. A few months later, 1/2 inch cassette systems were available at reasonable prices, and the home video soon began.

One of the main uses of home video cassette recorder is "time-shift viewing". People can record a programme which they want to watch, but which is on at an inconvenient time, and watch it later on. If there are two programmes which they want to watch being transmitted at the same time, they can simply record one while watching the other. And most video cassette recorders have a timer device which allows people to record their favourite programmes if they go away for sev­eral days.

To begin with, the only type of material available on videograms were full-length feature films. Films can go on offer on video within a year of their cinema release.

The range has now broadened, however, and there are other types of videogram that can be rented or bought. These are mainly how-to-do-it tapes. For sports fans, there are tapes about diving, tennis, board-sailing, squash, cricket, badminton and many others.

Other tapes include Chinese cooking, learning a foreign language, keep-fit, self-defence, yoga, passing a driving test, training dogs, exam revision and growing vegetables.

(From: Film and Video. 1986.)

B) Consider the following talking points. Choose one of them, express your opinion and make practical suggestions for the effective use of video.

Talking points:

1. Video and cinema. The effect of the future availability of video
productions on the cinema.

2. Video and television.

3. Video and book-reading.

4. The problem of controlling video production, the ways of pre­
venting children from seeing scenes of depravity, filth and horror.

5. Video as a force for social interaction, education and propa­

Topic 2. What films do we need?

A) Make a round-table talk on the state of film-making in this country. Be ready to make suggestions about the possible improvements in film-making.

b) Choose the necessary adjectives from the ones given below to describe films |hat should satisfy your requirements:

appealing, strong, powerful, intelligent, humane, sensational, gripping, poignant, memorable; touching, moving, quiet, slow-Spaced, entertaining, satirical, pleasing, undemanding, rewarding



Talking Points:

1. Teaching films have been with us for a few decades already but Still teachers do not seem to be on friendly terms with them. What are the reasons for this kind of situation?

2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of teaching films
in foreign-language teaching as compared with other audio-visual

3. Are you familiar with film-segments and loop-films included in
the complex set of teaching materials for our schools?

I. a) Read the following text:

Teaching Films: A Necessity Or ... A Nuisance?

For various reasons many foreign-language teachers are not quite on friendly terms with films. Even the filmstrip and slide that are less difficult to handle in the classroom have met with more acceptance outside language teaching than within it.

Meanwhile film is certainly acknowledged as one of the most ef­fective visual aids that exist. From good films students learn faster and remember a body of subject matter longer than when the same subject matter is presented only verbally; films have been used suc­cessfully to facilitate thinking and problem solving.

Foreign-language films can bring to the students activities that they could not otherwise observe or become involved with. They are indispensable for teaching the "culture element". The tendency of those who view films to identify themselves with the actors and the .situations makes films highly valuable for image forming and lan­guage learning.

I have used English films with considerable success in quite var­ied situations. In addition to their value for actual language learn­ing, they break the monotony of classroom and laboratory work and provide variety to the curriculum.

Creative teachers use professional feature and science-popular films at the advanced stage of language learning as subject matter for class discussions and debates, for evaluating their artistic value.

Let's be honest: the main stumbling block lies in the lack of pro­fessional competence of the teacher himself. Contrary to the good old blackboard he cannot handle it on his own which creates embar­rassing moments in front of the pupils.

Very often it is the lack of methodological competence. And the HOW is as important as the WHAT! For example, some teachers take feature films and show them to pupils in the hope that exposure would result in learning. More often than not this procedure has the opposite effect, incomprehension leading to discouragement. Or they expect the students to identify themselves with the film actors on second showing without any preparation with taped sound track or the ancillary film-strip.

And finally, the quality of both software and hardware* should be excellent! A bad sound track may lead to incomprehension and fur­ther — to irritation and disillusionment of the students.

b) List the arguments and counter-arguments on using films in foreign-lan­guage teaching.

II. Answer the following questions:

1. Can you name the films that are in common use at our second­ary schools? 2. What do you think of the cartoon loop-films for the junior forms ? 3. Did you use any audio-visual aids during your school practice? If so, describe the techniques you used.

III. Tell a visiting school teacher from Great Britain/the United States how
teaching films — and audio-visual aids in general — are used in foreign-language
teaching in this country.

IV. Design a language lesson for the 9th-10th form that could be efficiently
taught by film.

* hardware — technical equipment such as tape- and cassette-recorders, film- and slide-projectors, record players, television and videotape recorders, computers, etc.; software — slides, films, records and other materials used with the equipment.




By John Boynton Priestley

(Three fragments from the play)

John Boynton Priestley (1894 - 1984) is one of the outstanding English authors of today. His early books (1922-26) were of a critical nature. It was the success of his novel "The Good Companions" (1929) which brought him world fame. In early thirties Priestley began his work as a dramatist. "Dangerous Corner" (1932) — one of the series of Seven Time Plays — was his first effort in dramatic art. Priestley's other most famous novels are "They Walk in the City", "Angel Pave-ment", "Wonder Hero", "Far Away". "Let the People Sing". "Bright Day" and many others.


The scene is laid in a cosy drawing-room. Several men and women — some of them members of the same family, others their intimate friends — are idly discuss­ing a wireless play they have just heard. The host and hostess of the party are Robert Caplan and his wife Freda.

Gordon: What did you hear?

Freda: The last half of a play.

Olwen: It was called "The Sleeping Dog".

Stanton: Why?

Miss M.: We're not sure — something to do with lies, and a gen­tleman shooting himself-

Stanton: What fun they have at the B.B.C.!

Olwen (who has been thinking): You know I believe I understand that play now. The sleeping dog was the truth, do you see, and that man — the husband — insisted upon disturbing it.

Robert: He was quite right to disturb it.

Stanton: Was he? I wonder. I think it a very sound idea —the truth

as a sleeping dog.

Miss M. (who doesn't care): Of course, we do spend too much of pur time telling lies and acting them.

Betty (in her best childish manner): Oh, but one has to. I'm always fibbing. I do it all day long.

Gordon (still fiddling with the wireless): You do, darling, you do.