English language is an essential instrument to communicate and interact with the world. Thus, comes the necessity of learning the language. The importance of the language lay not only in communicating but also in its application academically and career-wise. The methods of teaching and learning English, although various, are still confounded in the borderline of teacher to student exchanges. With the increased access to audio-visual aids, particularly television, English language learners are presented with more opportunities to use them as an effective pedagogical tool to learn more vocabulary and have a better understanding of the language, which in turn enhances the student’s oral, written and spoken skills.
There are plenty of educational documentaries and other topic focused movies that English learners can study and take benefits from. This type of movies requires less suspension of disbelief and are more targeted towards specific situation. They can act as case studies that English learners can research and learn from. (Tahir, 2015)Movies are fun learning.
English literature students can learn through entertainment, the medium of movies is educational and transformative. Through watching movies, we subconsciously gain knowledge about the English language through hearing the words (audio) and reading the words (video/subtitles) simultaneously. Also, we associate the words with the actions of the characters, which makes the gained vocabulary more resonant and easier to remember and apply in our everyday life. Furthermore, Movies discuss themes of humanity and reflect the reality. English learners can relate to the said/communicated lessons being displayed in movies. As a visual art form, movies capture the attention of English learners, which makes them even more susceptible to fresh knowledge. (Ismaili, 2013)1.1. The purpose of the study:The aim of this study is to investigate the impact of audio-visuals on English language learners and the benefits gained by the adoption of movies as a modern learning process. Furthermore, it investigates how such impact enhance the learner’s oral, written and spoken skills.1.2. Research questions:This study answers the following questions: Does watching movies positively influence English learners? Do movie subtitles assist in acquiring new vocabulary? How does watching movies affect the learner’s oral, written and spoken skills?This study addresses the topic mentioned in the first section. Then proceed to examine the findings thoroughly and give feedback in the next section. Finally, the solutions will be presented in the final section alongside the recommendations and the conclusion. 1.3. Research limitations:A number of limitations will be face during the accomplishment of this study. The time limit is a major limitation, this study is conducted during the period of one semester, which has a negative impact on the results as a more accurate result could be acquired if more time was given. Moreover, another limitation is finding the proper amount of suitable English learners to conduct interviews with. 2. Literature Review: In this section, previous research studies are presented in accordance with the topic of this report.2.1. English Language Four Skills: In every language there exists certain skills, in our first language, we have a prior background knowledge and understanding of those skills, so the difficulties we have with the native tongue almost does not exist, thus, we have little knowledge of how complex it is the process of acquiring a second language. The language can be acquired by the mastery of four basic skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Listening comprehension is the receptive skill in the oral mode, while speaking is the productive. On the other hand, reading is the receptive skill in the written mode, whereas writing is the productive. (Four Skills in the English Language, 2013). When learning any language, particularly the English language, the aim is to develop and further enhance the four skills in addition to acquiring a great amount of vocabulary supported by proper grammar. However, this is not sufficient, In terms of instruction, teaching English is supposedly not confined only to grammar; it should include several aspects of the language, such as the four skills. (Al-Muhtaseb, 2012). The learner must be able to speak and comprehend the language in the various situations and contexts that he/she might come across in the future, especially since the English language is rich with words that can be interpreted differently depending on the context they are used in, and due to mainly focusing on the writing mode skills, reading and writing, during the learner’s academic years, it has become quite difficult for the learner to fully understand and speak and talk about themselves. (Studymode, 2006). Furthermore, many students at the University of Bahrain (UOB), especially students from the Department of English Language and Literature (DELL), register courses that are mainly focusing on both reading and writing skill, which further supports the idea that there is little focus on the speaking and listening skills. 2.2. The Positive Impact of Movies on the Four Language Skills: While attending the university, students will face many problems in their language, such as: lack of vocabulary, weak comprehension, bad grammar and overall poor language skills (Tahir, 2015). In a previous research by Seferogly (2008), it has been concluded that it is possible to use movies in English classes to help deal with these problems. The participants of the study stated that they found the use of movies in oral discussion classes was enjoyable and rewarding, they also felt that they learnt many things alongside improving their language competency and communication skills. Furthermore, another study by Tahir (2015), showed that with the development of technology, the use of movies as a modern learning tool is unavoidable. Moreover, the students highly value the impact that the movies had on their language improvement and that movies can be helpful in putting theory into practice in learning English.2.2.1. The Impact on Reading and Writing Skills:In addition, according to a study by Faqe (2017), by dividing the participants into two groups, one would watch a movie with subtitle and the other without, he found that with providing subtitles, watching movies is an effective tool to acquire vocabularies, as compared to watching the same movie without subtitles. Moreover, the survey findings showed that the majority of the participants believes that using movie subtitles is a better way to enhance their language and made them more acquainted with their culture. Furthermore, Akbulut (2007), argued that combining text with visuals is more effective in facilitating vocabulary learning than providing only definitions of words. A study by Hemenover, Caster and Mizumoto (1999) stated that, one way to address the issue that the students may face is by watching movies. They argued that movies promote classroom discussions, enthusiasm, enjoyment and critical thinking. By combining the benefits gained from watching movies and the use of progressive writing, students should be able to enhance their writing skills.2.2.2. The Impact on Listening and Speaking skills: A study conducted on teaching a listening and speaking course with DVD films, Stewart (2006), stated that it is plausible to use movies as a pedagogical tool, apart from the fact that it would take a big amount of time to develop the materials. Another issue lays in the continuity of syllabus. At higher levels, the language content is not an issue but the use of vulgar language or weird accents that prompts the need to avoid it. In addition, another study by Seferoglu (2008) regarding the impact of movies on spoken skills, showed that all of the students participating in the study favored watching movies to enhance their oral skills. Their answers mainly focused on the fact that listening to native speakers and seeing them during different situations made them have a better understanding of what the words meant. Several studies have shown the benefits of subtitles on productive skills, for example, the reuse of vocabulary in the proper context as well as communicative performance in specific oral and written communication tasks. In a study conducted by Neuman and Koskinen (1992), the researchers found that subtitles are more beneficial to vocabulary acquisition than watching movies without.3. Methodology:The research includes two methods of data collection. The first method is an online survey done by using Google Forms in order to have a general look on what English learners in Bahrain think of audio-visuals and its impact on learning the English language. The survey was divided into two parts, the first part is regarding the respondents’ personal details such as; age, gender, native language and level of education. The second part involved a variety of multiple-choice questions and also included scales that touches upon the surface of the main research questions. The survey was distributed via social media applications, mainly Whatsapp and Twitter, to a number of people from different age groups and educational levels which resulted in receiving 98 responses. However, the survey was only used for its ease of access for a large number of respondents and cannot be definite and is not accurate enough to fulfill the requirements needed to answer the research question. Thus, the second method needed to be more accurate and closely focusing on the main research question. The second method of data collection is the interviews that were conducted with participants directly involved in the process of learning English for academic reasons, mainly students in the (DELL) at (UOB). The questions used in the interviews are an extension to the questions used in the survey as way to further explain and acquire and deeper and wider understanding of what the subjects thinks of how audio-visuals affect learning English.