How to Teach with Film


How to Teach with Film
How to Teach with Film
Why do we – or should we – teach with authentic film in the world language classroom?
Film has impact: students see, hear, and enter into an experience.
And if we have chosen a film wisely, the authenticity will involve students in learning more deeply not
only the language, but also the products, practices, and perspectives of those in whose cultures the
language being studied is used.
So we choose an authentic film that connects to the context of the learning we are doing in the
classroom at the time, and we create with our students a complete learning framework. The framework
has the film as its center – but the careful progression to enter into the experience of the film is crucial
to using film as a tool for life, not simply a fleeting topic to prepare for another quiz.
Framework for teaching with film:
1. Reflect: Students look back on their own experiences with and/or attitudes about the particular
theme or context to which the film will relate.
2. Observe: Students look at/listen to/interact with prompts that engage more senses, more
memories, more experiences on which to both reflect and prepare to understand the film.
3. Predict: Students set themselves up to pay attention.
4. Experience: Students watch the film (potentially multiple times and in multiple modes)
5. Demonstrate: Students first demonstrate they understand the basics of what they have seen, and
then their ability to analyze and apply the film to life.
Step 1: Reflect
We help students to reflect on what they already know about a context or topic by evoking responses to
words, pictures, objects, movements, sounds ….multiple ways of accessing reflections, experiences, and memories.
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Reflection Activities:
1. What words, images, and experiences come to your mind when you see the word ARTS?
2. What words, images, and experiences come to your mind when you see this photo?
3. What kinds of experiences in your life come to mind as you reflect on this broader topic?
Step 2: Observe
Observation should use the various intelligences, though not all each time. Certainly we should employ
the visual – images and words. But think also about sounds and music, movement/drama/mime, and
hands-on creations.
Observation Activities:
What do you see in the following screen grabs?
Who are the persons?
How do you know?
What experiences have you had that you can relate to what you see?
1. Screen grab 1:
2. Screen grab 2:
3. Screen grab 3:
Step 3: Predict
Observation should be paired with both Reflection (on what students know about the context) and also
Prediction on what they will see. In this way authentic film bridges the students’ lives and language from the familiar of their own life to the unfamiliar of the products, practices and perspectives of the cultures
and languages being studies….bridges the past to the future….in a powerful, evocative way.
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Prediction Activities
Espressioni utili (Useful expressions from the film):
Mi fa sentire qualcosa?
Vado con la…?
Come se la cava?
il palco
fare i versi degli animale
la corda
il grillo
il / la ventriloquo / a
la verticale
Can I hear something?
Shall I go with…?
How do you manage?
make animal noises
Fold into students’ personal reflections and observations key vocabulary from the film so that as student watch they can concentrate on the whole experience and its relationship to their lives, and not on
decoding language for a presumed quiz.
Per parlare del film (Useful expressions given so student may converse about the film):
il regista
l’assistente di scena
il / la lucista
fare un provino
fuori del comune
la battuta
assistant director
lighting technician
go for an audition
line (in a script)
to chirp (bird)
to chirp (cricket)
to moo
to neigh
to bray
Based on the film itself and the activities that will precede but especially follow viewing the film, the
vocabulary are students likely to need to have a conversation about it or to write about it.
Sceglieri (Select the appropriate completion - An activity that practices the vocabulary words…in a contextualized sentence…that provides training in paraphrasing.)
1. Il palco è la parte del teatro dove __.
a. siede il pubblico
b. gli artisti si esibiscono
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2. Il provino è una prova di selezione per __.
a. recitare
b. entrare all'università
3. Una cosa fuori del comune è __.
a. insolita
b. brutta
4. Fare la verticale significa __.
a. tracciare una linea su un foglio
b. mettersi in equilibrio a testa in giù
5. Una battuta è __.
a. una frase di un attore
b. un colpo violento
Che fa cosa?
1. ___ il regista
a. nitrisce.
2. ___ il lucista
b. raglia.
3. ___ la mucca
c. muggisce.
4. ___ il grillo
d. parla senza aprire la bocca.
5. ___ il cavallo
e. frinisce.
6. ___ l’asino
7. ___ il ventriloquo
g. decide chi supera il provino.
si occupa delle luci del palco.
To prepare to watch, provide students activities which grow more opened ended, remaining in the
context and preparing for the key content of the film (or at least what you, as the instructor want to
emphasize from the film). Students can learn to prepare these activities in pairs and groups, too!
Per ottenere il ruolo da protagonista, che cosa pensi che ti chiederanno di fare? Mi chiederanno di …
Recitare in francese o
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Suonare un
strumento musicale
Fare il / la
ventriloquo / a
Del film: What do you see in the following screen grabs? What do you think will happen in the film?
Screen grab 4:
Screen grab 5:
Sul palco
What have you done by way of acting?
What kinds of skills are needed in order to be a good actor?
Step 4: Experience
After working through the Bloom’s Taxonomy, we watch the film. Multiple showings may be in order –
and using different approaches, according to the nature of the film, your class, and your objectives.
Demonstrations can come after each showing, building up confidence and personalization.
Step 5: Demonstrate
Attribute ogni battuta al personaggio appropriato. (Match the speaker with the statement)
A. Il lucista
/ B. Il regista / C. L’attrice
1. ___ --Volare?
2. ___ --Maestro, vado con la quattro?
3. ___ --Buonasera. Caffè. Faccia due passi a destra.
4. ___ --La cinque!
5. ___ --O padre oltraggiato giosci!
6. ___ --Peccato, guardi, cercavo una che non sapesse volare.
7. ___ --Mi scusi?
Riassunto (Choose the most appropriate summary of the film)
A. Un famoso regista cerca un'attrice per mettere in scena l'Otello. La sua assistente di scena fa il
provino e dimostra di essere molto preparata. Purtroppo, mentre fa il provino, la ragazza cade dal
palco e si fa male. Il regista deve chiamare l'ambulanza.
B. Un'attrice partecipa a un provino e dimostra di essere molto brava: riesce praticamente a fare di
tutto. Il regista è molto seccato (annoyed) e alla fine non la ingaggia (hire) perché la ragazza sa
volare e lui cercherebbe proprio l'opposto.
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C. Un regista molto arrabbiato chiacchiera con la sua assistente e dà ordini al lucista. Nel frattempo
un'attrice sale sul palco e comincia a cantare, suonare e imitare animali. All'improvviso e senza
provocazione l'attrice si mette a volare e il regista chiama l'ambulanza perché pensa che sia pazza
1. What things were the actor asked to do?
2. Do you think all of those talents were needed to get the role? Why or why not?
Applicare a la vita nostra
This short film received the CiakDonna award for showing how difficult it is for women to gain
recognition in the professional world.
Explain what about the film made it win this award.
Do you agree with this award? Why or why not?
Moving up yet again on the taxonomical scale. We know films have huge impact in the Standards
Communication (interpretive, presentational, interpersonal), Culture (products, practices, perspectives),
Comparisons (language, culture), and even Connections (across disciplines). But here is where film not
only brings the Community in, but connects students to the Community as those who also participate in
societal experiences and (in this case) struggles….
With a partner, create an outline of a one-act play and define the main character (protagonista). As the
director, what talents will you require the actor to show for the audition?
Now the language is now truly the tool of the student, creating and applying to life – and the film was
the vehicle (but the foundation was the students themselves).
More practice with authentic films:
For each authentic film clip: What do you see? What are student experiences that likely can connect to
the context and to this film clip? What do predict the context for the use of this film will be?
Clip 1: Galleto Vallespluga from Sentieri
Clip 2: Jumbo from Descubre 1
Clip 3: Clairefontaine from Imaginez
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Authentic films used
Momentos de estación (Station Moments) – Argentina – Director Gustavo Cabaña – from Descubre 3:
Lengua y cultura del mundo hispánico ©2011 Vista Higher Learning; Lección 1 (length 7:32)
A piedi nudi sul palco (Barefoot on the Stage) – Italy 2007 Director Andrea Rovetta – from Sentieri:
Attraverso l’Italia contemporanea ©2011 Vista Higher Learning; Unità 10 (length 06:10)
Galleto Vallespluga (commercial for game hen) – Italy – from Sentieri: Attraverso l’Italia contemporanea ©2011 Vista Higher Learning; Unità 3 (length 00:30)
Jumbo (commercial for a department store) – Chile – from Descubre 1: Lengua y cultura del mundo
hispánico ©2011 Vista Higher Learning; Lección 2 (length 00:60)
Clairefontaine (commercial for a writing tablet) – France – from Imaginez: Le français sans frontières
Second Edition ©2012 Vista Higher Learning; Leçon 1 (length 00:60)
Translations for the video clips:
ALL Cock-a-doodle-doo!
GRANDMOTHER I followed the sound of laughter
DAUGHTER to a merry table.
GRANDFATHER Hunger got the best of me, and I said to myself, something’s going to fly here.
ALL It was all because of a game hen. Red Shield. Cock-a-doodle-doo!
GRANDDAUGHTER Vallespluga Game Hen. Cock-a-doodle-doo!
ALL Nice and tender, never fatty.
GRANDSON Cock-a-doodle-doo!
NARRATOR Vallespluga Game Hen sings from Italian tables.
2. JUMBO from Descubre 1
SON: Dear Santa Claus: I wanted to ask you… Dad, how do you spell mountain bike?
FATHER M…O…C…H…I…L…A Mountain bike (NB: This really spells “backpack”)
3. CLAIREFONTAINE from Imaginez
JEFF Sophie, I cannot believe how pointless my life was before I fell in love with you. The color of
your eyes is ingrained in my mind. This is why I really want to kiss you. I’m mad about you. Jeff.
NARRATOR Clairefontaine, a better you!
SOPHIE Jeff, The fi rst time I saw you, you captured my heart. Right away. I tell you like it is, I’ll go crazy if you walk away! I love you. Sophie.
NARRATOR Clairefontaine, a better you!
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