Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Teaching Foreign Languages K–12

A Library of Classroom Practices

French: Interpreting La Belle et la Bête
Connect to Your Teaching

Reflect on Your Practice
As you reflect on these questions, write down your responses or discuss them as a group.

  • What issues must you address when planning to work with a feature-length film?
  • How do you maintain student interest while breaking the film into teachable segments?
  • What activities would you design that allow students not only to discuss the film with one another but to reflect on its deeper meaning -- an exercise for which they may not have a sufficient vocabulary?
  • How do you manage teacher talk so that you stretch students' language and thinking?
  • On what do you base your choice of which cultural text (literature, film, music, art) to teach: your interests, your students' interests, important texts in the target culture, or something else?

Watch Other Videos
Watch other videos in the Teaching Foreign Languages K-12 library for more examples of teaching methodologies like those you've just seen. Note: All videos in this series are subtitled in English.

Interpreting Picasso's Guernica (Spanish) and Music and Manuscripts (Latin) illustrate the use of different media in a language lesson.

Put It Into Practice
Try these ideas in your classroom. Where it’s not already evident, reflect on how to adapt an idea that targets one performance range for application to other performance ranges.

  • Authentic materials can expand the topics that students can discuss and develop their growth in the three communicative modes. These materials can also help students in advanced classes move beyond talking about themselves to talking about other people, places, events, and ideas. When students interpret a film, for example, they draw on language that they heard in the context of actual communication on screen. This language helps them develop more proficient interpersonal communication.
  • When having students interpret a film, be the expert who guides the use of language, depth of content, and abstract explorations. Elaborate, clarify, or question students' responses to expose them to language at a higher level than their own. For example, Mr. Pasquier designed a series of activities in which students talk with one another for part of the time and then work with him as he expands their understanding and models the next levels of proficiency. On some occasions, only you as the teacher can negotiate meaning. Take the opportunity to speak as an expert and help students move from their existing level of proficiency to the next higher one.
  • When showing a feature film, divide it into segments to maintain student interest while providing ample opportunity for students to demonstrate understanding at a factual and interpretive level. Most films have natural breaks in the action, allowing you to pause for discussion. Others may require more creative cutting. You can then design activities for individual segments as you would for shorter interpretive tasks: previewing to determine the main idea; working with details; and summarizing and follow-up work. Additionally, find activities to make a transition from one segment to the next. For example, to prepare students for viewing the conclusion to La Belle et la Bête, Mr. Pasquier had students compare the film to the original story. They brought many details together, and then voiced their expectations about the ending.
  • To select a film that meets your level of instruction, consider your objectives. For example, to address culture, show a film set in the target culture or one focusing on literature or history. In this situation, you may want to show a film that is subtitled or dubbed. To focus on interpretive communication, plan the lesson as you would any other reading or listening task: Include previewing exercises, activities that help students get the main ideas, and activities that allow them to learn language and content from the clip. Whether you watch the complete film or an excerpt depends on your available time, student interest, and the subject matter of the film. Foreign films are typically unrated and may have scenes that would not be suitable for viewing in some classrooms.

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