Constructivist Study of English Movie Appreciation and English
Culture Cognition
Ling LIU
Chongqing Institute of Engineering, Chongqing, 402260
Keywords: Constructivism, movie appreciation, culture study.
Abstract: Culture is deeply linked with language. During the process of foreign language teaching, cultural cognition
has positive impacts on language learning. English movies are important carriers of English language and
culture. The understanding of knowledge and customs of English countries, which obtained through movie
appreciation, significantly improves English learning and teaching performance. In this study, positive
effects of English movie appreciation on English teaching are explored on the base of constructivism
analysis. Moreover, the construction of English culture cognition through movie appreciation is also studied
for better English teaching achievements.
Culture, a quintessence of human history, has close
relationship to language. Construction of English
culture cognition has great importance to English
learning. English movies provide an environment in
which students are able to experience and perceive
deeply English culture and then language. Activities
related to English movies (group discussion, tasks
etc.), as an ideal method of English teaching,
enhance effectively students’ ability of listening,
reading, writing and translating (L. N. Wu, T. H.
Xiao, 2012). Meanwhile, English movies are also a
platform in which English teaching can be practiced
in a more flexible and interesting way. Therefore,
students are motivated into active and fruitful
English learning practice.
Teaching process is emphasized in constructivism
theory. New cognition is developed from the
combination of knowledge and learners’
consciousness through the relationship and
interaction between knowledge and outside world.
This new cognition is thoughtful and creative. There
are four elements of the constructivism theory in
teaching: context, cooperation, social activity and
meaning construction. Context is set to improve the
cooperation among learners (N. Wu, 2012). Social
activities are also encouraged, during which learners
think over the learning process and knowledge to
develop a new cognition. Establishment of context is
an important part of teaching. English movies are
rich sources for context establishment. Sound,
images and scenes of English movies lead students
into a context of English language and culture to
have profound understandings. In order to have all
students involved in teaching process, questions and
topics are designed and selected based on teaching
targets and contexts. Therefore, students are able to
experience English language and culture to enhance
their English ability and the knowledge of English
Knowledge construction is a complicated
process, requiring the combination and expression of
knowledge and learners’ consciousness. During the
process of English movie appreciation, students need
to fully understand constructivism theory to grasp
the major contents and construct the cognition of
English culture. For instance, students are supposed
to collect related materials, analyze teaching context
and put forward hypotheses before class (X. Y. Hu,
2011). They are then sharing the materials and
thoughts with group members during class. By doing
this, students discuss their hypotheses and analyze
comprehensively the teaching context. The teaching
process is then completed after the evaluation of
teaching. Cooperation is crucial in English learning
practice. Students should take the construction of
knowledge as a collective, thoughtful and creative
process. Group members discuss and share their
Liu L.
Constructivist Study of English Movie Appreciation and English Culture Cognition.
DOI: 10.5220/0006447001980201
In ISME 2016 - Information Science and Management Engineering IV (ISME 2016), pages 198-201
ISBN: 978-989-758-208-0
2016 by SCITEPRESS Science and Technology Publications, Lda. All rights reserved
opinions together to fulfill their tasks. In addition to
grasp knowledge, they also explore regulations and
connections among the knowledge they obtained.
Hence, knowledge taught in class, as a target of
analysis, is more classified for students to construct
their own knowledge. In this process, students
organize, analyze, discuss and summarize
autonomously. The tasks of teachers are to inspire,
help and guide learners to complete learning process
of analysis, discussion and summarization. Students
can master knowledge better, open their minds and
enrich their class in this process to obtain more
Language, as a carrier of culture, is also a part of
national culture. Movies represent comprehensively
cultural background of a nationality. English movies
are compounds generated from English culture.
Cultural backgrounds such as geography, history,
politics, society, economy and education can be
vividly perceived through movie appreciation, so as
to the charm of English language. On one hand,
students are more interested in English learning
because of cultural factors. They take part into the
English teaching autonomously to think and
innovate language-learning practice. On the other
hand, as language is planted into culture, students
obtained knowledge unconsciously. It not only
enhances English learning, but also improves
students’ understanding of English knowledge and
Movie is a processed and extracted form of real
society and life. Cultures, historical backgrounds
and social surroundings of English-language
countries are vividly demonstrated through artistic
means of movies. Benefiting from abundant cultural
resources, movies can be brilliant and attractive. The
first important thing when appreciate and analyze
movies is selecting movies with appropriate
complexity. A proper movie provides students with
audio and visual pleasures. If the movie is too easy,
English teaching can be quite boring and unlikely to
attract students’ attention. If the movie is too hard
for students to understand, students can hardly
benefit for their English learning, except some visual
There are two things to notice when selecting a
movie with proper difficulty level. On one hand,
situations of students’ English learning should be
known precisely. Topic for group discussion should
be chosen according to students’ abilities to help
students to cultivate cognition of English culture, as
well as the language. For example, new students,
usually with poor English ability, need relatively
easy movies to start, such as The Lion King, Frozen
and How to Train Your Dragon. On the other hand,
movies selected should have classic and epochal
features. Some classic movies such as The Sound of
Music, Forrest Gump and Titanic are ideal materials
for English movie appreciation.
Firstly, these movies are important in English
language teaching for quite a long time. Relatively
mature teaching patterns around the movies have
been developed during teaching practices, which is
easy to be handled. Secondly, experiences of
teaching those movies help teachers to control
teaching process and guide the participation of
students to feel English culture and language. Those
movies, including Frozen, How to Train Your
Dragon, Turbo and Last Stand, are a part English
movie fashion and very influential. Appreciation of
those movies on the base of teaching scheme is very
useful for students to learn the language and culture.
Thirdly, the modern artistic methods employed in
those movies are attractive for students, so as to
stimulate the motivation of students to learn English
language. Fourth, charm of English language is well
demonstrated through the dialogue, music and other
aspects of those movies. Students can appreciate
deeply the beauty of English culture and gradually
construct cognition of English culture. Therefore,
students’ comprehensive English abilities are
improved accordingly.
Furthermore, literature feature is also to be taken
into consideration when selecting a movie.
Connecting movie appreciation to literature is a
method to stimulate students’ interest in English
literature. Students’ English abilities can be
enhanced by reading literature works. Movies like
Forrest Gump and The Bridge of Madison County
are effective in attract students’ attention to related
books. Besides, movies selected should with various
themes. For example, Forrest Gump is about the
growth of a specific disadvantaged person,
encouraging students to advance. How to Train Your
Dragon attracts audiences with its fancy science
Constructivist Study of English Movie Appreciation and English Culture Cognition
Constructivist Study of English Movie Appreciation and English Culture Cognition
fiction world. Students fall into the specific
atmosphere of the movie and start English study
autonomously. Frozen touches the souls of
audiences by its beautiful dance, music and scenes.
Students feel sentiments among families, loves and
friends, which cultivates desires to study English
language and culture. The strong desire of cognition
for English culture helps learners to enhance their
abilities to feel and understand English culture. In
summarize, various types of English movies make
movie appreciation more meaningful and thoughtful.
Students obtain more understandings and knowledge
during appreciation process. Their abilities of
listening, speaking, reading, writing and translating
are improved accordingly. Lastly, students’ abilities
of movie appreciation should be cultivated and
strengthened. Widely use of English movie in
education arena helps students obtain more
knowledge during the movie appreciation process.
English movie appreciation has great influence on
English teaching and the construction of English
culture and knowledge. There are several things
should be mentioned. First, it is important for
teachers to carefully select movies and design
contexts. Multi-media teaching cannot completely
take the place of the communication between
teachers and students in class. If the movies played
in class are not carefully selected, most class time
will be occupied by, instead of movie appreciation
and analysis, aimless movie watching. Teaching
aims can be achieved when movies are played on
purpose and students put forward questions and
discuss with each other based on materials they
collected. For instance, in Frozen, when Anna was
young, she was accidentally injured by her sister’s
magic. Her sister eludes Anna after she recovered to
avoid hurting her. Anna was very lonely without the
company of her sister. Plots and music of this
section can easily arouse the enthusiasm of students
to learn English language. At the end of the movie,
Anna stands up bravely, regardless all the dangers,
to protect her sister. Love removes the curse at last.
Questions are developed from those movie sections.
Teachers then encourage students to discuss with
group members to fulfill tasks.
Second, preparing work before class should be
emphasized. Teachers present several questions to
students to arouse their English learning desires.
Those questions are related to selected movies and
teaching contents. Students are required to
extensively understand selected movies, character
features and story backgrounds through various
approaches. Moreover, teachers summarize
vocabularies and grammars used in movie materials
to guide students to study before and after class.
Therefore, students are able to combine English
knowledge and movies, and then obtain and use such
knowledge during the process of movie appreciation.
The third point is that attention should be paid
dialogue analysis and classic sentences. Examples
can be extracted from Forrest Gump: “Mama says,
‘Stupid is as stupid does’” and “Life was like a box
of chocolates. You never know what you're going to
get.”Taking notes of classic sentences enhances
students’ skills to learn English language and
appreciate movies. English movie appreciation and
language teaching then interact each other
positively. Fourth, teachers organize after-class
activities properly. For example, role-play of some
sections of a movie provide students an opportunity
to experience in person the charm of English
language and culture, and also the use of English
language in movies. Another activity is asking
students to think over questions deliberately
presented according to the movies. In Frozen, Anna
needs a kiss of true love to remove the curse. The
question “What is true love” is then put forwarded
for students to discuss. Inner feelings of students are
aroused into the process of English culture learning.
Thus, students’ feeling, understanding and cognition
of English culture are enhanced.
Construction of English cultural cognition requires a
long and vast learning process. English movies
provide English learners with a platform to
understand vividly and profoundly English culture.
During the process of movie appreciation, students
experience and feel deeply English culture.
Therefore, learners are capable to perceive
connotations of English culture by watching movies.
In light of constructivism theory, learners realize the
construction of cognition of English culture through
perceiving, analyzing, understanding and
experiencing process. They can also enhance their
ability of English language and comprehensive
abilities simultaneously.
ISME 2016 - Information Science and Management Engineering IV
ISME 2016 - International Conference on Information System and Management Engineering
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Constructivist Study of English Movie Appreciation and English Culture Cognition
Constructivist Study of English Movie Appreciation and English Culture Cognition