Using Science Fiction Films to Advance Critical Literacies for EFL Students in China

Shuyuan Liu


As a unique literary genre, science fiction can serve as a motivating text to develop students’ critical analytical skills and to promote critical thinking about new technology and its societal controversies under proper guidance. In the field of English as Foreign Language (EFL) learning, using science fiction films in the classroom affords EFL learners new language-learning experiences. This paper explains how films, as a multimodal resource in EFL classes, can enrich students’ multiliteracies—specifically how the science fiction genre can develop students’ critical literacies under careful meaning-making curriculum design. A preliminary study, taking 30 students in a foreign language high school in China, is reported in this paper. Findings reveal that carefully selected science fiction films such as I am Legend and Blade Runner can serve as pivotal sources for developing EFL learners’ literacy under the multiliteracies pedagogy. Such films can also connect students with Western ideology to reinforce their identity as participants in globalization. This study further suggests that key points in successful design of the course in an EFL classroom include posing critical questions to promote critical thinking and actively analyzing multimodal texts to uncover underlying meanings in source material.


Multiliteracies, Multimodality, Critical literacies, Science fiction film, English as Foreign Language

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