Open Educational Resources

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 4-19-2021


Visual narratives in silent films are an effective method for developing linguistic competence in English language education and are equally constructive in developing critical thinking skills across disciplines. “Silent film, more than any other film property, capitalizes on ESL students’ visual literacy, using it as both a foundation and a catalyst for honing the verbal language skills that are key to acquiring and articulating complex knowledge in English” (Kasper and Singer, 2001). Silent films rely on the power of vivid, interactive visual imagery to depict personal struggles, character interactions, and plot development. This medium grabs the attention of ESL students and gives them time to absorb what is happening in the film without being distracted by dialogue. The silent film significantly lowers the affective filter (Krashen, 1986) and is highly conducive to promoting the development of linguistic skills. Krashen (1986) cites motivation, self-confidence, and anxiety in the Affective Filter Hypothesis as three categories of variables that play a role in second language acquisition.



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