Enhancing ESL students' vocabulary acquisition through a meaningful filmmaking project


  • Jia Li University of Toronto
  • Brenda McComb




Academic English language, vocabulary acquisition, filmmaking, ESL undergraduate students


This paper examines the impact on English learning, and in particular on vocabulary acquisition, through engaging ESL students in the filmmaking lifecycle. Twenty-three undergraduate ESL students with linguistically and culturally diverse backgrounds in a large Canadian university participated in this project. Participants from 15 majors were randomly divided into five drama groups, and contributed to screenwriting, acting, production and postproduction of the film.
The project outcomes show that filmmaking is a meaningful task which captivates students’ imagination, enhances their motivation, and facilitates their interaction through compelling multi-media . They further indicate that the filmmaking based on carefully written scripts, while at the same time allowing for personal interpretation of characters, is effective in creating an optimal learning environment for students’ English acquisition, particularly vocabulary.


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