Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Inspiration, and A Beautiful Mind (video)

I am a very lucky person! Yesterday I got an inspiration from a colleague that unstuck me. The inspiration was small, but it makes such a difference. I'll explain.

After deciding to use the DVD film "A Beautiful Mind" (schizophrenia topic appeals to my students, they are researchers so may have something in common with John Nash's work), I set out my lesson plan.

Once the lesson plan was written (incorporating details from's excellent notes) I had a bad taste in my mouth: yes, using video, but how? and why? I felt stuck. Something wasn't right, so I set it aside.

Here's the original lesson plan
warmer: discuss genius vs madness
lead in: hand out 2 short texts, one on schizophrenia, one on John Nash. Pairs read their text and exchange information.
hand out/dictate list of unusual expressions Ss will meet while viewing and discuss/check understanding
Watch scene 16 (about 15 minutes)
1st viewing - watch and pick out unusual expressions from handout, discuss
2nd viewing - turn off volume, Ss narrate
HW half group prepare to ask interview questions, other half prepare to play the role of the 85-year-old John Nash and be interviewed. Roleplay next lesson (to be recorded)

Then I got this little inspiration.
My colleague had sent me some videos she made herself, and in them I saw something I could use to help students improve their listening skills.
New lesson plan!
warmer: watch the first 2.5 minutes of scene 16 without sound and prepare a list of words you expect to hear
watch the 2.5 minute clip again with volume and check words on your list - were they included? Discuss how your preparation helped your listening skills.
Continue to watch to end of scene 16 with sound
Put up slips around the room
Based on scene 16:

  • this film is all about schizophrenia
  • this film is all about conspiracy theory
  • this film is all about madness and genius
Students go and stand under their slip of choice, and discuss the point with anyone else they meet there.

Students take home handouts of special expressions from scene 16 and the texts about schizophrenia and John Nash, use them to prepare the interview as above.

I'm so lucky to get good ideas from other teachers and share them here, too.

The little inspiration made a big difference!

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