Thursday, July 31, 2014

NTPRS--Movie Talk

As promised, today I'm going to talk about the workshop on Movie Talk. It was one that I was really looking forward to, and with Laurie Clarq and Michelle Whaley leading it, I knew I wouldn't be disappointed.

The session began with a short history. Movie Talk as an idea was developed by Dr. Ashley Hastings as a way for his students to ready themselves for college (once again, the download is available on The idea is that the students acquire listening skills quickly through teacher description of high impact visual input.  Once said, it became very clear through examples.

The idea of Movie Talk is that you let the students see a film with you providing the narration.  It's basically one minute of video to every three or more minutes of discussion.  It's important that you show a little of the movie first (but not the whole movie) so the students won't be concentrating on the video instead of you.  It's important that the movie is interesting with a gripping character or theme.  You should familiarize yourself well with the movie so that you can lead a good discussion that will keep the students' interest.  Prepare them as well--the idea of movie talk should never be confused with movie night. It's important that you have no subtitles or spoken language in the film. You are the language.  If there is anything that is incomprehensible, you have to write it on the board and make it comprehensible. Remember that the intent is not to enjoy the movie, it's to learn language. If the movie is good enough, the enjoyment will be a side benefit.

The first example was a film about a girl who writes her name on a wall across from a doll shop. The short is called "Alma", and it's terrifying.  To tell you how much input I absorbed, it wasn't until this moment that I remembered that I was hearing the input in Russian! No, I don't remember the words now, but I certainly did then.  The movie itself kept my attention, but Michelle made it better by rewinding and then helping us go through it again, piece by piece.  It started tamely enough, with a little girl playing in the street, skipping and jumping on curbs as she went.  We talked about the town, the houses, the snow, playing, and so on. Of course, few of us were familiar with Russian, but we all knew the words because the were on the board and constantly pointed to.

By the way, that was one of my biggest "ah ha" moments. It's not enough to gesture back.  You need to actually go to the word and physically point to it.  I'm going to get a laser pointer before Monday :).

As we continued in the movie, it turned from a carefree little thing to a horror story. As we became more involved, she would show us smaller segments and do more discussion.  We discussed this 5-minute clip (available on youtube) for at least half an hour, maybe longer.  I didn't feel bored or unhappy at all. The combination of the clip and the skilled teaching made that impossible.

Movie Talk is definitely something  I'm going to try this year.  There is more available at under

Happy teaching!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Meg! Enjoy your laser pointer - it's like being wireless:)
    Carol Hill


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