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Medieval French in the Modern French Classroom

The French language sequence at Berkeley stresses the importance of exposing students to a wide range of authentic texts and emphasizes cross-cultural understanding. Despite the rich cultural and literary heritage of the medieval and early modern periods in France, this exposure is limited to modern French. What are some of the objections to and difficulties…

Developing Cultural Literacy Through Social Media in the Russian Language Classroom

In this paper I identify strategies to help students explore authentic Russian language materials on social media platforms: Facebook and Vkontakte.  I present an overview of three modules that introduce the Russian language social media landscape and guide students through identifying and tracing political and cultural debates occurring in this space. This approach encourages lifelong learning…

Harnessing the Power of Electronic Media: Incorporating Film in the Introductory Czech Classroom

This paper discusses activities designed for students in an Introductory Czech class.  The film-generated assignments presented here, based on selections from the Czech film Kolja made available to students as clips from the BLC Library of Foreign Language Film Clips via bCourses, address not only a range of specific language skills (listening, speaking, writing, and even…

Teaching Russian Verbs of Motion through Early Cinema

For the intermediate student of Russian, there is no topic more daunting than motion verbs. Verbs that denote motion further complicate the language’s aspect system (already difficult to master), and for non-native speakers, these verbs express surprisingly precise ideas. This project and paper aim to improve upon static, pictorial models of motion that textbooks offer…

Italian by Design: A “Bridge” Course

We have grown accustomed to perceiving the arts and language as very different kinds of engagements: the former transgressive and creative, the latter structured and acquired. This talk presents a blueprint for an advanced Italian language course (102) that approaches language and design as analogous processes. Tracing how the coordinates of space and time are…

FrancoForniens: Bringing Oral History into the French-language Classroom

In this presentation, I will show how I borrowed techniques from oral history to build an archive of interviews with “FrancoForniens,” or French speakers living in the Bay Area. Oral history has long been employed in K-12 classrooms to “personalize” the experience of history for students; it asks them to consider how history has impacted…

Learning Russian through Art and Visual Culture

It is often assumed that foreign language students must reach a certain (usually advanced) level of linguistic proficiency before they can begin to engage meaningfully with authentic cultural materials and think critically about their own cultural position vis-à-vis that of the L2 culture. This presentation will show how art and visual culture can offer beginning-intermediate…

Graphic Novels in Foreign Language Learning

Over the past decades the graphic novel has witnessed both increased popularity among readers as well as cultural and intellectual prestige among critics and academics alike – but what is its place within the foreign language classroom? Through a case study of first-year Spanish instruction, this presentation will address strategies for how language instructors can…

Teaching Russian Cultural Competence and Listening Comprehension through Video Interviews

Driven by the goal of helping students at all levels appreciate the complex, multiple perspectives that exist among speakers of Russian, and to supplement existing video materials for Russian instruction, I spent the summer of 2015 videotaping interviews of native Russian speakers responding to various questions about their lives and values. These interviews allow students…

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