E-S-L at the U.N.

This innovative program has been designed by Dr. Seret, Director of Professional English with the Hospitality Committee at the United Nations. The aim is to teach advanced English and use foreign cinema as an element of language and global education.
The course is 2 parts: Lessons of advanced English; and analyzing foreign films.

Part One:
. Advanced English: how to read a newspaper editorial and an objective news article; how to speak publicly; how to debate; how to write business correspondence; grammar; pronunciation; and vocabulary build-up.

Part Two:
. How to Analyze cinema; global issues that are topical; and to discuss, analyze and debate one's opinion.
. Film content, suggested activities and background information is provided from Roberta Seret's new textbook, World Affairs in Foreign Films with multi-disciplinary lessons.
. Students view the films at home that can be rented from Netflix, or the public library, or local video store.
. We discuss all the films from the textbook and the FILMeds ©.

Testimonials from United Nations Diplomats:


Laura Pagnotta (Mission of Italy)
December 5, 2010

For Dr. Seret,
As the end of the Professional English Course for the UN is approaching, I would like to thank you so much for your very interesting lessons.
I would also like to stress that I particularly enjoyed your approach and the use of films for English as a Second Language.
I found learning through films most effective for the following three reasons.
• I really enjoyed viewing the films you choose for this course, because each of them focused on a different country and topic. It was interesting analyzing this films along with all the background information you provided for us
• about the countries themselves and about the making of the films, which in many aspects is often closely related to the historical and political situation many countries are facing.
• I found it challenging to talk about the films in class. It helped me to improve my vocabulary, while debating about issues which are of general interest and global importance, like poverty or the situation of women.

My speaking skills also profited from this, because recalling the images and dialogs of the films and analyzing them is a good exercise for everyday life – it is much more immediate than for example talking about a written text.
In our world today new medias and images play a growing role – and films certainly are an important part of our culture which should not be ignored, but a part of our learning process too. Last but not least I really enjoyed the course, it was amusing and always interesting, and I learned very much.

Yours sincerely,
Laura Pagnotta (Mission of Italy)


Regards, Dr.Abha Jaiswal (Mission of India)

To the President of the Hospitality Committee at the United Nations,

Having had the privilege of being a student of Prof Roberta Seret, I have come to realize the creative potential of foreign films as a medium to learn English as Secondary Language (ESL). ESL through foreign films is, indeed, an innovative pedagogy that must be propagated and practiced widely. Prof Roberta has mastered the art and technique of this tool with some authority.

My 5 year old daughter attends ESL classes at school. I have personally attended workshops at her school to understand as to how ESL learning and teaching is made an enjoyable experience for the children. Prof Roberta's technique of making students learn English through the medium of cinema is very similar to the method used in my daughter's school. Her teaching tools and approach is geared to make people from different linguistic and cultural backgrounds understand the nuances of English language in a way that they overcome their inhibitions and contextual limitations of their cultural understanding in an effortless manner.

At school, the first thing the children do is to work with pictures and then go on to build basic vocabulary. In Prof Roberta's class foreign films become the visual medium and the subtitles make for learning new words.

The varied visual context and appeal of cinema provide a large canvass of ideas, perceptions, situations and landscapes for students to absorb and understand facets of life, and through them build their language skills.

The subtitles help the students to link the activity in the film with appropriate language formulations. This thought provoking exercise compels them to pick up the language and its vocabulary along the way.

I had heard about Prof Roberta's program from someone who had not undergone English medium education and found the program to be of immense benefit. I must truly admit that the main objective for me to join the class was not to learn English, which has been my medium of study since kindergarten, but my interest in Cinema. On the other hand, my colleagues joined the classes to learn English. Within weeks, they started to interact and become so much a part of our discussion in the class. The once feeble and almost inaudible voice soon transformed into confident, clear and loud expressions. It is amazing to see that in a short span of time the class group was able to learn English, be confident and hold their ground on any subject.

I am sure this innovative pedagogy of learning ESL through the magic of celluloid under the guidance and initiative of Prof Roberta will have greater success in future.
Regards,Dr.Abha Jaiswal (Mission of India)


Good morning Dr.Seret
Let me express that it was an excellent class and I've learned a lot not just the language but a lot of things. And I also spent a very useful time with a very nice classmates.

Thank you

Ali Almakhadi (Yemen Mission)



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