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Modern languages - Make film your friend

What the lesson is about

As teachers of modern languages, many of us like to give some cultural awareness, and films can be a perfect way to do it. I love using modern media to show pupils that the languages they learn are vivid and relevant, and I firmly believe they can have a specific pedagogic value, writes Neil Jeffery.

Take Tom Tykwer's Lola rennt (2000), a fast-paced film that is a cinematic version of "chaos theory". The title character has 20 minutes to get 100,000 Deutschmarks to save her boyfriend from robbing a store to appease his gangster boss. We see three different versions of events, each subtly different, through interactions between Lola and a character.

As a starter activity, offer simple comprehension questions, leading into a straightforward present tense narrative exercise. "Lola geht zur Bank, um ihren Vater um das Geld zu bitten."

Then show the second version of events, and pupils can describe differences. "Im ersten Teil hat Manni den Supermarkt geraubt, aber im zweiten Teil ist Lola rechtzeitig angekommen."

The final part of the film can give pupils the chance to learn how to use the conditional tense. "Wenn Lola im ersten Teil rechtzeitig ankame, dann wurde Manni den Supermarkt nicht geraubt haben."

Of course, you can differentiate fully, offering pupils a text with a selection of examples underneath or asking more able pupils to write a newspaper report on the events of the story.

What else?

Check out the TES MFL film collection to help you incorporate the audio- visual into your secondary classroom. grebdeb has shared a colourful study aid to help pupils show their understanding of the film Lola rennt.

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