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Short and Sweet: Using Short Films to Promote Creativity and Communication

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Summary of an ELT article from

“Short and sweet: Using short films to promote creativity and communication”

By Kieran Donaghy

This article is related to short films and videos that due to their brief duration and high level of entertainment make the students to be more engaged in the learning process.

According to Kieran Donaghy, the author of this article, short films are definitely making a comeback, although they have been quite forgotten with the passing of time, but slowly and surely they have found a way to catch our attention. When film producers have seen this evolution they started to make more and more productions of this type, although they were not so appreciated at first at film festivals.

Everyday we open our social-media accounts and we browse and browse through dozens and hundreds of this kind of videos, be it related to movies, health, nutrition, exercises, various events, they are all over the internet and teenagers and now even younger children and adults have become very fond of them.

In the authors vision this technique can be used to seize the students’ attention and develop their creativity. When they are watching a full-length film their attention may be lost or disturbed and they may not be able to acquire the desired information from that specific resource. In the case of short films, their attention span is much higher in comparison with the long films. It is a great difference between the length of a long film which could be from 1 hour and up to 3 hours, meanwhile a short one is between 5-10 minutes and sometimes even shorter than 5 minutes. From here we can deduce the fact that a short film can be seen several times till a long one would be over and by seeing them more than one time the students will be able to pay attention to every detail and analyze different parts of it depending on what the lesson is about.

On account of the fact that the short film producers and more or less independent and they do not respond to big production studios, they are able to go into more details and they are able eventually to provide a more meaningful, creative, innovative and entertaining message, fact that is not always the same with the other movies because they are led by different conventions.

These short films can also develop the students’ creativity, there are a lot of silent or quasi silent videos that are great because the level of understanding is very high and the fact that there are little or no words involved the children start thinking and making their own dialogues in their heads and they will eventually be able to express them or write them down.

Another important feature of the short films is that they work with present-day topics that students are passionate about and they face this kind of problems everyday such as: bullying, racism, sexism, consumerism, human rights. Leading from here the students will be able to sustain conversations on these significant topics.

To conclude the method of viewing such films is considered by Kieran Donaghy the ideal procedure for a teacher to use in the classroom with their students in order to improve their writing and speaking skills, but most of all to engage them into conversations and to develop their creativity.



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