Whole Class Discussion Based on Short Film Extracts
Time: Approximately 1 hour
We started the activity by watching two episodes of Virago in class. Virago is an online series, led by the actress Aude Gogny-Goubert, and it portrays women who took important actions in their life. Each episode lasts about 3 to 4 minutes and is realised in a humorous and dynamic way, Aude GG playing both the role of a chronicler and of the woman character. At the end of each video, I asked my students the following questions:
- What action did the portrayed woman take?
- What principal qualities did she show in order to accomplish this action?
The students were invited to answer the questions on post-its on the board. We read them all together, and followed with a whole group discussion:
- How would you qualify the action this woman took? Why do you think it is so?
- Did her background help her? Do you think it was easy for her to do so?
- What do you think about the personal qualities she showed: do you think these are common qualities? Have any of you shown such qualities at any time?
- What do you think she felt after having done what she did?
Here are a few comments my students came up with at the end of this discussion: :
- We see an action as remarkable when it is something that we ourselves have never done, but that corresponds to our set of values. In that sense, it is an inspiring action that we somehow admire.
- Taking action depends less on one’s background than on the circumstances, and the ability to seize an occasion. In that sense, anyone can take action, if he/she accepts the responsibility to act in a given situation.
- The qualities that the presented women showed can be considered common qualities that anyone can have but not everyone can show in action..
- The portrayed women must have been proud of what they did because they acted accordingly to their beliefs and values.
Time: 30 minutes
Secondly, I invited the students to stand in pairs for a first step towards teamwork. Since the aim of the activity is to break the ice and meet with each other, I didn’t let them choose their mate.
The pairs were invited to follow these instructions:
You are a journalist, and you have to conduct an interview with your classmate. Each of you will have to find out the following information about your partner:
- Name, surname, age and place of birth;
- A true story of something that your classmate has done and that he or she is proud of.
I advised all the students to take precise notes of what was said.
Partly in class, partly out of school…
Once all the students had their interviews done, I mixed up the pairs to make groups of three students (four if necessary). I paid attention to the fact that no one would be in the same group as before. Here is what I asked them to do:
For each interview, you will create a short film inspired by Virago’s format (1 minute-film maximum), which will present your classmate and his or her achievement. In each group, there will be:
- One or two filmmakers in charge of the scenery and the video.
- One actor playing the role of the chronicler;
- One actor playing the role of the student who’s being portrayed.
The roles have to be distributed among the group participants and can either be fixed or flexible.
The students had 10 days to make the videos and were finally asked to send the final products to me by email
Watching the Videos
Time: A few minutes at the beginning of the lesson over several weeks.
The final step was to watch all the mini-documentaries in class – two or three videos at a time at the beginning of the lessons, in order to create a convivial climate in the class.