Featured Class: Learn French with French Movies

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Learn French with French Movies | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education

How Well Do You Know La Francophonie?

Ali Houssein - French Instructor | Seattle Central College - Continuing EducationLearning a new language in an interactive classroom environment is a wonderful way to establish a solid foundation. But nothing beats putting your skills to work by conversing with others.

If you don't know anyone who speaks your new language, however, one way you can refine your conversational skills is by watching films produced by countries that speak the language. This was instructor Ali Houssein's personal experience while learning how to speak English -- one that was so beneficial that he designed a class specifically around it.

Our Learn French with French Movies course is a highly dynamic, interactive class that gives intermediate-level French speakers the opportunity to challenge their comprehension skills and practice speaking with others through the debate and exploration of Francophone films.

You'll not only hone your French language skills, you'll learn about different French-speaking cultures from around the world -- what's important to them, how they view the world, and more.

What inspired you to teach this class?

English is my 3rd language and one thing that helped me learn it was watching movies.

When you don't have the opportunity to speak with actual people who speak the language, the next best option is watching movies made in that language: You get challenged by both the speed of communication and the cultural references. But because it's a movie, it's all fun -- and I think fun is what makes learning a language easier.

Since I experienced this myself, I decided to offer this class at Seattle Central and help my students improve their French skills in a fun setting.

How is this class different from others that you teach?

This class is for students who already have some French language skills and who would like to go further with their French skills.

Instead of just learning the language, they have the opportunity to engage in real time: watch, understand, react, and debate. So it's like they're in a real-life situation.

Students are processing information as it comes and the movie is pushing them to use all of their French knowledge without delay.

If you are looking for a fun and challenging way to expand your French skills, this is the class to take.

What do you enjoy most about teaching this class?

I enjoy the dynamic of the class: It's lively, it's fun and it's full of unexpected reactions!

The students debate, exchange ideas, and I often learn something new from them.

There is always the element of the uncertainty -- I don't know how the class session will end, but I do know that it's going to be interesting.

What has been an inspirational moment that has occurred during this class?

It is really when my students start debating and particularly when they have opposed views on a topic or on a movie they saw in class.

The exchanges are always rewarding for me because even if I had my own views, I find out how relative everything can be.

That shows me how debating, exchanging ideas, and listening to opposed views can be very beneficial when learning about new cultures.

Who would benefit the most from taking this class?

First, it's a good idea to have intermediate-level French skills -- I think if you've completed French - Level 3 then you'll be prepared for and truly get the most out of this class.

Aside from that, this class is great for people who travel to French speaking countries for tourism, anyone who likes French and/or Francophone films, current students who would like to improve their French conversation skills, or people with some French knowledge who would like to refresh their skills in a fun atmosphere.

Key Takeaways

  1. Improve your understanding of spoken French.
  2. Increase your confidence in interacting with French speaking people.
  3. Discover or rediscover French movies.
  4. Expand your cultural awareness of La Francophonie.
  5. Gain skills in debating in French.

Recommended Viewing

Here are a few films you can stream or rent from the Seattle Public Library:

  • Monsieur Lazhar - A Quebecois film about an Algerian immigrant who becomes a substitute teacher
  • Le Samourai – Jean-Pierre Melville film about a hit man who is played by Alain Delon 
  • L'armee des Ombres – This film about the French Resistance during World War II was also made by Melville.

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