Motion Pictures Aid Language Instruction

HRB Systems offers a set of programs called ESL 2000 to help students improve language skills at a pace and success level rarely achieved with traditional education techniques.

The centerpiece of ESL 2000 is Family Album USA, a 13-hour video and textbook series that dramatizes the sights, sounds and traditions of American culture. Developed with the U.S. Air Force Academy, the software invites students to interact with video segments to find definitions, hear pronunciations or complete listening comprehension exercises.

Family Album USA contains 26 units broken down into 78 acts (modules), for a total of 200 individual lessons. An Instructor's Guide contains worksheets and tests, while Computer-Managed Instruction measures students' progress.

Another component of ESL 2000 is Language Dynamics (on MPEG CD-ROM or videodisc), a series of 16 feature films in nine languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, Farsi, French, German, Russian, Serbian/ Croatian and Spanish. Film titles include the Academy Award-winning Historia Oficial (Spanish), which deals with the campaign of terror carried out by Argentina's military dictatorship in the 1970s, and Al-Aragouze (Arabic), starring Omar Shariff.

Each interactive session allows students to: access a synopsis of each scene; replay or preview any segment; the text of the script and its translation; cultural and historical notes; adefinition of any word in the script; and grammatical explanations of selected words, phrases and idioms.

Also included are Transparent Language, a language learning and maintenance tool, and ELLIS-Master Pronunciation, designed to increase speaking proficiency and listening comprehension. HRB Systems, Inc., Linthicum, MD, (800) 598-7890.

This article originally appeared in the 04/01/1996 issue of THE Journal.