One of my favorite things to do in class is use target language in realistic contexts. I think it’s important for students to find out what it’s really like to be a second-language user, both as a tourist and for the workplace, and I also enjoy the personal touch that students will add to this kind of work. Our French program gives students several opportunities to apply these skills — from roleplaying situations in a store or restaurant with realistic props and money to creating presentations and documents for clients.
The images below are a student’s work from one of these recent activities. The goal was to create a visual communication card for use in medical situations. What made this student’s work exception was the level of realism. As a volunteer at a local medical center, the student was able to integrate existing documents, logos and typography to create a product that isn’t just a simulation; it really could go straight into the real world.
Another of my favorites is the real estate project. In teams, students create an oral and visual overview of three real estate options, which they later present to their clients (the class). I enjoy these presentations because they show just how much students can communicate with relatively limited vocabulary and grammar.
Above all, I love real-life applications because they help students discover new skills. Students who are studious but shy may not enjoy presenting in English but suddenly become confident group speakers in French. Students will find ways to draw on their interests — everything from arts and science to music and sports — and explore new technology and ideas. It’s an open playing field for every student and chance for all of us to see each other’s individuality and creativity.