Monday, April 28, 2014

What Do They Really Mean? A workshop by Anna Parisi - Report

In this fun and stimulating workshop, Anna Parisi managed to get us all involved by thinking about the thoughts of characters in a movie. What is Dustin Hoffman really thinking when Anne Bancroft tries to seduce him in “The Graduate”?  What are Shrek’s thoughts when he sees Fiona fighting Robin Hood in the animated movie?

While watching selected movie scenes, learners think of the thoughts of the characters and can then insert these as subtitles to the movie. As Anna suggested, the timing of the subtitles may become a bit of a problem but then she gave us the solution of using scenes which have little or no dialogue, using advertisements or even music videos.

Anna moved on to show how the same activity needn’t be used solely with the use of films and technology. She demonstrated that the teacher can make use of listening texts and short stories from the coursebooks, which although may focus on particular structures and vocabulary are nonetheless quite meaningless to our students. The attendees at this workshop had fun coming up with ideas of what the speakers of a short listening text were really thinking. Anna gave us short dialogues from a coursebook, and in groups we had to think of the thoughts behind each speaker. And we didn’t just write them down but also had to act them out! While one of us was reading what the speaker was actually saying, another from the group had to say the thoughts of the speaker!  The end result was quite amusing!

Activities like these, as Anna explained, are valuable in the classroom, as apart from recycling vocabulary and structures, they encourage pair/team work, they make the learner naturally think in English, and when acted out they naturally lead to learners paying attention to intonation!

And that’s a lot to be gained from a fun activity!

By Anastasia Loukeri

Interviewed by our Roving Reporter: Theodora Papapanagiotou

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