Moviemaking for the Language Acquisition Classroom: Engage Your Students with an Instructional "Soap."

Article excerpt

Television melodrama, like grand opera, is constructed to formula. Character interactions are highly charged and plot dominates, initiating excitement, suspense, and raising questions around timeless and universal themes. Despite--or because of--their extreme nature, the soaps remain one of the longest-standing television genres, with the loyal masses impatiently awaiting each new episode.

Traditionally, language acquisition has focused primarily on two intelligences: verbal linguistic and logical mathematical. Verbal linguistics naturally is conducive to the acquisition process through reading, writing, poetry, literature, storytelling, humor, grammar, syntax, and metaphors. Also conducive to the language acquisition process are vocabulary activities, grammar skills, reading, oral presentations, debates, memorized facts, and pattern games. What is challenging about traditional methods is that students frequently do not feel connected to the process of learning a language. Video and computer games have served the purpose of honing nontraditional intelligences, with the important by-product of also preparing students well for the digital workplace.

As technology becomes more widely available in language classrooms, opportunities to address multiple intelligences increase. For the visual spatial intelligence, students can be encouraged to create mental pictures, develop strategies for reading, interpret and create maps, graphs and other diagrams, create craft and art projects, and make comparisons of artifacts from various cultures. Bodily kinesthetic intelligence can be addressed through role-playing, folk dancing, drama, and total physical response. Musical rhythmic youngsters can be encouraged to write and sing songs and to remember information through music. Music can also be used to stimulate creativity.

A well-known North American television series, created for the purpose of teaching Spanish, is Destinos, inspired its producers say, by the audience popularity of Que Pasa, USA? (Destinos is an instructional television series designed to motivate Spanish Language Learners by providing them comprehensible input from various Spanish speaking locations around the world. …

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