Tag Archives: Teaching Tools

Political Cartoons in the EFL and American Studies Classroom

Political cartoons are anything but innocent caricatures. They have been described as “a confrontational art form” (Oliphant 25), as “purposefully designed to elicit strong emotions and reactions from readers” (Long, Bunch, and Lloyd 651), and as “among the more extreme forms of expression” (Long, Bunch, and Lloyd 651). Stories abound with the harsh punishments endured by political cartoonists under oppressive regimes. One might even say that what allows liberal and conservative American cartoonists to feel any sense of solidarity with one another is their bond through the First Amendment and their belief in the democratic enterprise that is criticizing government.

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The U.S.-Mexico Border and Children’s Social Imaginary: An Analysis of Wacha el Border and Beyond the Border

Norma Iglesias-Prieto’s article is based on the films Wacha el border, created by twelve children from Tijuana, and Beyond the Border, created by ten children from San Diego. It aims at understanding the extent to which the U.S.-Mexico border is significant in children’s social representations of themselves and others. Focusing on the Tijuana/San Diego transboundary urbanized region, Iglesias-Prieto questions traditional representations and perceptions of the border.

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Teaching American History and the Movie Amistad

If one wishes to understand the causes of the Civil War and the development that led to the Emancipation Proclamation, it is imperative to understand the role of slavery in the nineteenth-century United States. One possible way of preparing students for this episode in American history is by viewing a movie that deals with the topic of slavery both from an emotional and a legal point of view. The movie Amistad includes both aspects.

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Lincoln Pathfinder: Internet Resources on Studying and Teaching Abraham Lincoln

Apart from encouraging an innumerable quantity of scholarly works and projects, the subject matter of Lincoln’s Legacy has also produced an increasing amount of online ventures and digital resource collections. The Lincoln Pathfinder aims to provide a quick guide to these Web sites and to initiate a debate, likely to take place in the EFL classroom. Divided into five categories—general, primary, secondary, visual, and teaching resources—the Lincoln Pathfinder may function as a helpful research tool and a basis of discussion.

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From Sheikh to Terrorist? Arab Characters in American Film

The following text provides a brief discussion on how to integrate visual materials such as the film The Wind and the Lion (1975) in the EFL classroom when discussing the use of stereotypes in Hollywood productions especially in regards to Arab culture. The ideas were gathered in a workshop during the Teacher Academy 2005 and summarized for this publication.

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From Zorro to Jennifer Lopez: US-Latino History and Film for the EFL-Classroom

The essay introduces some aspects of the history, demography, and culture of Latinos and gives an overview on films particularly suitable for discussing the history of this ethnic minority in the EFL-class. Questions of representation of Mexican-Americans-the biggest group of U.S.-Latinos-in Hollywood film and of self-representation in Chicano film are addressed in the last part of the essay.

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Screen Indians in the EFL-Classroom: Transnational Perspectives

This article addresses the question of what different audiences ‘see’ when watching movies depicting Native Americans, arguing that ways of ‘seeing’ are deeply embedded in specific cultural contexts. In particular, it is concerned with what a German movie-going audience—our EFL-students, in particular—see when watching blockbuster Hollywood movies like Dances with Wolves or popular Native American productions like Smoke Signals? Against the background of the West German Winnetou films and the East German DEFA westerns, respectively, German audiences on both sides of the iron curtain have been appropriating ‘Indians’ on their own terms, ‘using’ them for their own purposes and within their own cultural frames of reference.

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American National Identity in a Globalized World as a Topic in the Advanced EFL-Classroom

In order to make an issue as complex and controversial as that of ‘national identity’ teachable in the advanced EFL-classroom, it has to be reduced to exemplary aspects and illustrated with concrete examples. Therefore, I will suggest an appropriate “Course Opener,” briefly survey the historical unfolding of the American identity concept in order to provide teachers with the necessary background knowledge, and then suggest two teaching units, the first of which traces some major developments by means of “classic” texts, whereas the second deals with the crucial issue of whether a shared language is a prerequisite for a shared identity.

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