Anne Violin Wigent

Associate Professor of French, Romance and Classical Studies, College of Arts and Letters.

In recent years, there has been a push to supplement a communication-based approach to language teaching with a systematic inclusion of cultural content and cultural literacy. Most textbooks, however, fail to do so and restrict culture to a page or two at the end of each chapter or cultural vignettes sprinkled throughout. For this project, we are developing our own teaching material for the FRN 101-201 sequence to anchor every single lesson into an authentic cultural context that seeks to represent the diversity of the French-speaking world. In particular, we strive to include authentic documents from various countries as well as stories that give voices to minorities groups (for example, we teach negation with a short video of a person who responds to a comment about the presence of men and lack of women on the TV set with the sentence “I am not a man”). This is done in particular through the development of online learning activities (since our program is hybrid) and enables individual instructors to develop their own cultural content for class time.