Monday, March 30, 2015

5 Ideas for Using Film in the World Language Classroom

This post is inspired by my first experience at the French Film Festival in Richmond, Virginia.  I was able to watch Les Parisiennes by Slony Sow, a series of shorts including my favorites, Planter les Choux by Karine Blanc and Odile et Michel by Danny Sangra, Belle et Sébastien by Nicolas Vanier, and Un illustre inconnu by Matthieu Delaporte.  After the films, there were discussions with at least one person important to the film (actor, screenwriter, director, etc.).

It was such a joy to be immersed in French culture and language and to hear from those involved in the making of the films themselves. At the festival, I was reminded about the plethora of information about a target culture contained within films.

Here are some teaching ideas I have after participating in this fabulous festival:
  1. Create a mini film festival at your school.  This would be a great way to fundraise and to encourage the love of culture in your area.
  2. Role play as actors/directors.  Assign students a film short, and then have them act as the director/actor/screenwriter to explain their vision for the piece.  (Here are some French film shorts.)  There could even be a Q & A with classmates.
  3. Create film shorts.  Show students some models and ask them to write their own films.  (A great presentational task.)  To make project viewing go faster, ask students to view the films in small groups and then discuss the film afterwards in the same groups.  Ask students to include their own perspective on the same cultural theme.
  4. Interpretive task.  Use some film shorts as part of an integrated performance assessment.  Be sure to do formative tasks before the graded assessment.
  5. Add the voices.  Show students a small clip without the sound and have them write either a narration, a script, or even the text for an advertisement.  Watching the actual film would be a fun follow-up.  Students could compare their narration to the real clip.
Here are some of my ideas for using film in the world language classroom.  How have you used film in your class? 

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