Film Clips for Foreign Language Culture and Literacy

Project Directors: Mark Kaiser (UC Berkeley) and Dr. Sonia Shiri (UA).
In collaboration with: the Berkeley Language Center (UC Berkeley), and at the UA: the Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES), the Arabic Flagship Program, and the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS).

This project assists L2 educators in incorporating the authentic language and broad cultural content of film—especially film in LCTLs—into classroom contexts, while also allowing analysis of media literacy. The project goals are: (1) to augment the Berkeley Language Center’s online film database with annotated clips in several priority languages which are currently underrepresented including Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Turkish, Persian, and Swahili (clips are tagged for discursive, cultural, and linguistic features, and they are augmented with lists of vocabulary spoken in the clip and a slower audio track to aid in comprehension); (2) to facilitate, nationwide, FL instructors’ access to and use of authentic source material with significant cultural content by increasing the number of member institutions that can freely access the clips and by providing professional development opportunities and supplemental materials for teachers, especially instructors of priority languages; and (3) to allow instructors to add their input to the clips (through annotations) and to provide training and support to aid them in didacticizing films for their unique contexts, the latter through professional development opportunities related to working with the project’s film clips in various contexts of language and culture teaching.

Access the film clips database information here.

In addition, Dr. Mark Kaiser presented a workshop at CERCLL’s 2018 Intercultural Competence Conference that introduced educators to the database and how to use it, and he created a webinar, Instructional Design and Feature Film in Foreign Language Education, that is freely available here.

In this webinar, Dr. Mark Kaiser (Associate Director, Berkeley Language Center) considers the affordances of the film clip in the foreign language curriculum. The webinar is divided into three sections. Part 1 considers film as one genre of video texts and the advantages that film presents vis-à-vis other genres of video texts. Part 2 looks at the role that a film clip might play within various learning goals, from vocabulary acquisition to textual analysis. In discussing the film as text, Kaiser uses the multiliteracies framework to examine how language and filmic devices work in tandem to create meaning. In part 3, Kaiser applies the various learning goals to a sample clip and describes various tasks that could be assigned to students to engage them with the filmic text, fulfilling the various learning goals discussed in part 2.