On one occasion a couple of my students asked me if I could think of 10 French personalities that were not death. I was a bit shocked by the question since I was not their French teacher (they had a great teacher btw) so I asked them, what was the purpose of such question? (…and luckily I could name my 10 :P).
Then they explained to me that sometimes they felt a bit ignorant because they didn´t know much about French celebrities the way the French exchange students (that visited us) did know about British and American celebrities. So I went:
–Dah! That is the purpose of having an exchange. Not just practicing your French but getting to know the culture as well.
Anyway, the debate was on.
–Is it because they give less importance to celebrities?; – Is it because they are more cultured?; – Miss, what is the difference between a celebrity and a personality?, – Miss, they always use the same celebrities in the books. Why can´t we learn about more current things more often?; – Miss,…
In many cases I hear that kids loose motivation at some point; that they don’t care about lessons… but I think we should let them speak up more often because if not, all that curiosity can either get lost or explode at a very inconvenient time.
The thing is that they mentioned something quite interesting to me. They agreed that learning a language should be more than completing the book and doing homework. Although they understood that there was not time enough for more during their lesson. They had to prepare an exam and that was their priority sadly.
Then I said: – Yeah! Blame the system. All hope is lost… Or you could… GOOGLE IT! FOR GOD SAKE YOU HAVE THE INTERNET. YOU MILENIALS LOVE LISTS. CHECK ONE OF THOSE!
And then I suddenly remembered I watched not long ago an interview with Michel Denisot (Director of the magazine Vanity Fair France) about the list that his magazine published on the 50 most influential Frech people. I told them about it and they loved it! They were quite happy to find people they already knew and they also discovered new interesting artists, politicians, comedians… they loved nº1’s music!
So I prepared a short activity based on this list in case someone feels like teaching about French personalities. The structure is really easy and simple. On the first slide the students should include a picture of the celeb with some basic info about him/her and on the second slide they will select either a picture or a video that shows something interesting, funny or simply something that they want to share about the person.
My presentation is just an example that includes a brilliant interview with the actress Léa Seydoux where we can see an amusing biography, how was meeting British royalty and (what is great for your language students’ confidence) how does she manage to perform with an English and American accent.
P.S. I felt the same way when I started learning French so I created this board on Pinterest to pin people I already knew and also the store the ones I discover. They can be useful for the activity or for your students in general.