“A great experience!” This remarkable exclamation I heard from parents, students and the instructors of InterACT English. What did they mean? Nine fine projects in different schools in Nordrhein-Westfalen. Students of the 7th, 8th and 9th classes produced movies under instruction of the very professional staff of InterACT English. In only one week they wrote and draw a storyboard. They evolved dialogues in English language and turned short movies in a length between 7 and 10 minutes. The InterACT English-team helped with cutting and dubbing the movies. After all the audience could see very elaborated movies with suspense, thrill, deep emotions and clever solutions. Not only the movies but also the work on the set happened in English. So the whole project gave the students a chance to improve their language abilities.
Our times seem to have a growing deserve of “attention”. This project prepared the young actors to satisfy this deserve. The students used the project, to improve their way to present themselves, to speak (in an foreign language) and to act. Some of them featured their movies in front of about 300 visitors, also a “great experience”. To suppress the “Lampenfieber” and to act like a (coming) star is more than normal English lessons can give the students.
Allow me some thoughts about the plot of the movies. I was astonished that nearly all of the movies had as a subject the lack of communication. The movies showed young people, who were unable to speak about their problems. They had great difficulties to get into contact with unknown boys or girls. They couldn’t get to know each other. Some movies ended in destruction and violence. I by myself missed reasonable solutions and plots with a happy end. So the movies presented the internal world of the thoughts of the students, more than a discussion or a short essay ever could achieve. These projects helped them to articulate their impression of this world. And this is even more than “normal” lessons can achieve.
For us teachers it is hard to accept that students usually forget most of their school time. Excepted are journeys, a few good or bad experiences, visits of museums or theatres and: projects. This InterACT English movie-project will last a long time in the memory of the students. And if it vanishes they can view the copy.