Why are animated films so good for your students?
We all know that animated films are amazing. Cartoons can make you feel better. They can soothe a sick child, make you calm when you are angry or make you laugh when you are sad! Who of us hasn't seen Shrek or Ice Age, to name but a few? But, have you ever wondered why children love animated films so much? Why they could sit for hours on end glued to TV screen? What are the benefits of watching animations? Well, I have. And the results are presented below:
Reason one - universal
Animated films, often called cartoons are universal films that everyone can relate to. They also have a clear message kids can connect to. And this means they are universal so everyone can enjoy it! In Shrek, we learn what matters is what’s inside. All Toy Story films teach us about letting go and about friendship. The Lion King teaches us about responsibility and facing your problems. These are all things we can all relate to. There's always a good moral to the story that even a child, 3 or 4 years old can understand!
Reason two - fun, fun, fun
They keep children entertained. Most cartoons are funny and if they make our students laugh, it creates a great, positive atmosphere in the classroom and encourages students to come more willingly. What is more, when people laugh their brains produce and release endorphins that cause them to feel better, both physically, and mentally! It somehow prepares the brain for learning, creates the environment for that.
Reason three - motivation
Watching cartoons in the classroom can boosts concentration and motivation. We all know how difficult is is sometimes to attract our students' attention during the class. A short film used as a warm up, filler or closer is a perfect solution. Sometimes animations can help us show and generate interest in something which we otherwise would not entertain. They can help learners to understand complex ideas more easily. They have the power to gain the attention of a person for hours without boring them.
Reason four - touch emotions
Animated films are emotional - we learn and remember more when emotions are ivolved, so if you use an animated film to teach vocabulary or grammar structure or just to develop students' speaking skills - animated film can guarantee a success. Neuroscientists believe that we remember more and longer if something touches our emotions. And the cartoons have them all: anger, fury, love, envy, excitement, confusion, joy, anxiety, anticipation, amusement, admiration and many more.
Reason five - cater for all ages
Animated films are suitable for every age. Even if we are adults - while watching them we can feel as children again. I often use animated films with my adults - sometimes in their fifties and they just love them:) Using with teenagers, on the other hand, brings back positive memories of the time when their life was "much easier and interesting" ;) They would never say no to a short cartoon.
Reason six - delevelop creativity and critical thinking
Animated films enhance children's creativity and critical thinking. Why? Children love stories. Period. There is something magical in them, they can develop their imagination, they can create endings, they can imagine being one of the characters, they can associate with them, they can ask questions and many more. Cartoons also develop children imagination. Children feel the part of a movie. They see the world through pictures/images and there is nothing better than a good cartoon to help them understand the world that surrounds them.
Obviuosly, there many more reasons why animated films can be benefical in an English classroom but I wanted to focus on the first six, which for me seem to be covincing enough to implement short films in the classroom.
Do you know other benefits of using animations with the class - feel free to write in the comments.
Soon the ways of using video in the classroom, with the examples.