Using Documentary Films in Oral Interpretation Class What is the Appropriate Length?

Darcy Soong


Documentary films may not be as well-organized as traditional textbooks used in classroom, but their potential as teaching materials is enormous and remains largely unexplored. In an oral interpretation class, normally the aim of using documentary films as teaching materials is to teach language; therefore, the presence of relevant functions and structures of the language should be the prime consideration. While using a documentary film in classroom, many teachers might be confronted with the question:” How long a film and how much its content should be?” Unlike a documentary film used to stimulate discussion or other skills for English native-speaker students, the documentary film for the oral interpretation class should be carefully selected and even tailor-made so as not to discourage students. The study is, therefore, carried out with an aim to investigate what length of documentary materials is acceptable to EFL students (especially low and pre-intermediate level students) of oral interpretation to deal with in a two hour class. Through data gathered from students of three classes I taught last semester, and in-depth interviews with five colleagues who also use video materials in class, this study identifies the length of video material a crucial factor on which depends the success of video-based oral interpretation class.


Documentary Film, Length, Oral Interpretation Class

Full Text:



Bowen, B. M. (1990) Look Here! Visual Aids in Language Teaching. London: MacMillian Publishers Ltd.

Butler-Pascoe M. & K. Wiburg (2003) Technology and Teaching English Language Learners. New York: Pearson Education, Inc.

Crystal. D. (1997) English as a Global Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Graves, K. (2000) Designing Language Courses. Boston: Heinle & Heinle Publishers.

Hall, D. (2003) “Materials Production: Theory and Practice” In D. Hall and A. Hewings (Eds.) Innovation in English Language Teaching. New York: Routledge.

Johnson, K. (2004) An Introduction to Foreign Language Learning and Teaching. Essex: Pearson Education Limited.

McGrath, I. (2002) Materials Evaluation and Design for Language Teaching. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Mckay, S. L. (2002) Teaching English as an International Language. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Olshtain E. (1989) “The Fact-finding Phase in the Policy-making Process: The Case of a Language of Wider Communication” In C. Kennedy (Ed.) Language Planning and English Language Teaching. New York: Prentice Hall International Ltd.

Richards. J. C. & Rodgers, T. S. ( 1999) Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Savignon, S. J. (1997) Communicative Competence—Theory and Classroom Practice. New York: The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

Sherman, J. (2003) Using Authentic Video in the Language Classroom. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Stempleski, S. & Tomalin, B. (1990) Video in Action—Recipes for Using Video in Language Teaching. New York: Prentice Hall.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2012-2022 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD

International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the journal emails into your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.