ACTFL Meeting (cont’d)

2009 ACTFL Annual Conference Report by Fan Liu, EALL

I went to the ACTFL 2009 annual conference from November 19, 2009 to November 22, 2009. I gave a presentation regarding making movie clips and its multi-function in Chinese teaching, and went to other interesting panels. I believe I learned a lot from this conference, which will benefit my teaching in the future.

Below is the abstract of my presentation:

As the enrollment of Chinese language students greatly increased in recent years, two features in the field of Chinese language teaching are noticeable: 1) the textbooks for class teaching have displayed a large variety and diversification; and 2) as a supplementary teaching tool, multimedia is gaining unprecedented popularity in class. As an important media of culture, movies have been playing an increasingly important role in Chinese language pedagogy. The traditional stance views movie clips as adopted exclusively at advanced levels, ignoring the efficacy of using movies at various language levels. Nonetheless, language instructors can implement distinctive objectives by introducing movie clips with skills into the classroom.

For students at beginning level, the instructors can edit conversational movie clips from real settings of daily life in China to improve their listening and speaking. It greatly reduces the limitation of “classroom Chinese”, and compensates for the deficiency of the unnatural dialogues retrained in classroom teaching. In reality, language beginners demonstrate an immense enthusiasm towards these lively and genuine practices.

As far as the intermediate level is concerned, students benefit as well from movie clips to improve the competence in  integrating scattered information into paragraphs and oral reports through the practices of recapitulation and discussions. Further, movies provide a cultural approach and valuable experience for students to be immersed in a genuine language environment.

In the advanced language courses, the use of movie clips broadly extends the purpose of classroom teaching, and highly enhances the efficiency and quality of ongoing discussions. Homework assignments can be specifically designed for these movie clips, and can be uploaded online for students to have plenty of time to replay, review, and most important of all, to think and comment.

This article explores the multifunction and application of movie clips in language teaching at various levels, and introduces the techniques to cut, edit, produce movie clips, and add subtitles on the program of iMovie released by Apple Inc. Two Chinese movies have been selected as models for editing and analysis: 1) To Live; 2) One Sigh. The methods for presentation include displaying the synopsis of this article on PowerPoint slides, five movie clips being excerpted from the movie scenes, and being edited on iMovie. Adjustments and modifications of content and length will be made in order to suit the challenges and difficulty from the beginning level to the advanced level. Further, this presentation will demonstrate how to add subtitles, how to embed these ten movie clips into PowerPoint slides, and finally how to interact with the student in class at different levels.

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