Video-based ELT class on bureaucracy featuring clips from Terry Gilliam’s Brazil and the Coens’ Hudsucker Proxy
France is a country that suffers somewhat from bureaucracy, excess paperwork and a rigidly hierarchical work culture. These issues are not unrelated. As a fonctionnaire in the Education Nationale I have suffered some absurd bureaucy to prove who I am to my own employer, processes which involve sending paperwork up the chain to be signed by those authorized to do so (i.e., the top brass). The fact that senior members of, say, the Human Resources department do not themselves have the authority to approve such documents is quite revealing: we are talking about a “top-down” culture here. Continue reading
Seeing the sights? Copyright: Marc Davenant
Some ideas for a video based ELT class on the subject of smartphone addiction
A popular theme for EFT classrooms, for adults and younger learners alike, is the role of smartphones in our lives. I myself only recently acquired one, having long resisted, and have now joined the massed ranks of perpetually distracted people. While I try to work out ways to be more responsible in my use of this new gadget, I have developed some ideas for class materials on this theme.
Communicative English lesson about surveillance based on Francis Ford Coppola’s classic film The Conversation
A companion piece to Antonioni‘s Blow-Up, or even Rear Window, Francis Ford Coppola’s Watergate-era surveillance thriller The Conversation (1974) may well be the director’s best film. A bold statement by a fan of the original Godfather films and Apocalypse Now, but Coppola’s self-proclaimed favourite strikes me now as the subtlest and most insidiously rewarding of his movies. Moreover, it is arguably the best of the Watergate inspired or themed movies, of which there was a glut in the mid 70s, including prestige productions such as The Paralax View and All The President’s Men.
Video-based ESL/EFL lesson plan about virtual reality, featuring iconic tv series The Prisoner and forgotten ’80s sci-fi movie Brainstorm
Blogging about The Prisoner the other day reminded me of a great episode of the cult series in which Patrick McGoohan finds himself playing a role as a gunslinging sheriff in a western. Watching a repeat of the series as a youngster in the 90s, I was totally thrown by the way the series removed the normal opening credits and plunged us into what was ostensibly a totally different genre. The only thing that linked us back to the show was the presence of McGoohan, but none of the series’ other hallmarks were present. I have even written a paper on this episode, entitled ‘Living in Harmony’, published in French in this volume. Continue reading