Monday, 22 February 2016

Using film in MFL lessons - integrating it into the scheme of work

Necessity is indeed the mother of invention.  The lesson sequence I'm going to describe came about when it became clear that I really needed a Plan B.  The danger of the spiral curriculum, where topics are revisited, but with increasing difficulty, was laid bare a few months ago by one of my Year 9 French classes.  The textbook we loosely follow is Tricolore, and the not-so-inspiring topic was family, and the grammar covered revision of adjectives for description and reflexive verbs including reciprocal verbs such as "nous nous disputons".  I made the fatal mistake when introducing the new topic of mentioning "family" and the shutters came down." Family? Did that in year 7." and although the phrase, "What's the point?" wasn't actually uttered, the body language said it all.    

Back to the drawing board.  This is when I came upon these fabulous resources by Rachel Hawkes and colleagues on the film "Neuilly sa mère!". I liked these resources, but I wanted to try a different approach.  The joy of this film is that it allows the pupils to comment on the family and characters shown in the film, and that from this, I could also teach them what I needed.  I think there is much to be gained from pupils seeing and experiencing a full film in the foreign language - their ear becomes more attuned, and the cultural references and sights are also often easily absorbed.  I have been less impressed with the overall effect that watching a film over, say, 2 lessons followed by language work. In recent years, I have tended to use short excerpts of films instead.  I decided, therefore to blend the 2 approaches, and show approx. 20 - 30 min clips over a period of lessons and use these as the stimulus for the rest of the lesson.  

This was the sequence that developed.
Aims of unit and the film:
·         revise and extend knowledge of family members
·         revise and extend personality adjectives
·         introduce a wider range of reflexive verbs to be able to talk about who you get on with
·         revise and extend adjectives for describing appearance
·         revise la futur proche to predict the end of the film
·         to develop phrases for introducing your opinion
·         to write about your own family based on the language learnt

·         to write a review of the film

      Lesson 1 start – 17:00
      We introduced the characters.  Using grouptalk and with a support sheet with personality words, they discussed which characters they liked and why, and compared them.  Who was more spoilt? Who was funnier / nicer?  They also worked out who was related to whom.  After they had completed exercises about the fictional family, I got no complaints about applying that language to a description of their own families for homework.
L  Lessons 2/3 17:00 – 39:00
      After watching the relationships between the characters develop, I used this section to teach "s'entendre bien avec" with other reflexive verbs e.g. se disputer.  We used a tarsia game to get to know the key verbs and structures, and they were then able to say who got on with whom.  They then applied it to their own families.
      Lesson 4 39:00 – 1:00
       This section allowed more use of reflexive verbs e.g. ils se moquent de lui.  And, as Sami doubted whether he would ever get his girl because he thought he wasn't her type, this seemed a good time to revise appearances, as it fitted with the plot. 
      Lesson 5  1:00 – 1:15
      Something a bit different this time.  We watched the party scene and then used the near future to predict what would happen for the end of the film.  I taught them a few phrases to introduce their opinion.
      Lesson 6 watch to the end
       We found out which of our predictions were right!  We then did some work to review the film.  Who was the favourite character?  Which was the favourite scene etc.
       The class really enjoyed this sequence of lessons, and they were willing to use more challenging French because they were motivated.  I prefer this way of watching a whole film.  We still got through all of the language for the scheme of work, and it felt much more organic.  

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