Intercultural communication

Toni Collette and Gotaro Tsunashima in Japanese Story

Some ideas for a video-based ESL class on intercultural communication

It has been a long time since I blogged and I felt the need to get back in the saddle. Although the pressures of work and family life in the age of Covid have kept me away from Visual Language, I have been nonetheless been writing, but mostly film reviews of varying depth over on Letterboxd. I have also been using that site to archive some old Amazon reviews that have fallen into obscurity. At some point, I may polish up some of the more recent ones and post them here. Continue reading

Active bystanders

Video-based English class on taking action and not being a passive bystander

I was recently teaching a variation on the Toxic Masculinity class I posted here, including some work on the Gillette “Best Men Can Be” advert, inspired by this great lesson plan by Kieran Donaghy. Having had to split the lesson over two separate classes, I was looking for a short video I could use as a warm-up / engage activity to kick things off on the second week. Semi-spontaneously, I decided to show my students – in this case, B2/C1-level adults – this short Australian public service announcement made by the State Government of Victoria, Australia. Continue reading

Escaping the gridlock

Communicative English class about traffic and congestion, featuring cinema, rock videos, adverts and more

My last post about Michael Patterson’s work and portals to other dimensions put me in mind of one of cinema’s mindblowingly strange opening scenes, namely that of Fellini’s 8 1/2 (1963). The sequence shares much of the urban claustrophobia and anxiety that characterizes Patterson’s Commuter, as well as its framing of that unease within the context of travel and transport. Continue reading