Case studies

Back to list of all case studies

French workshop with Year 6: Marianne Kavanagh

Title: Translating a French fairy tale
To translate a re-worked fairy tale and use the target text to facilitate opportunities for students to recreate scenes for performance
Age group:
Year 6 (age 10–11)
Participants: 28
1 hour 45 minutes

What we did

We began with a short video clip from Monkey Magic in order to demonstrate dubbing, as I wanted to use this device later on in the workshop and knew that many of the children would not have come across it. After that we went straight into looking at the wordless version of the story. The pupils got stuck in and many made astute observations about the story. Next we played a game of charades in small groups of two or three, using words from the story in order to prepare them for some of the words that would come up in the text and to practise their role-play skills. We looked at the text on the visualizer and I read it in French using gestures and intonation to convey meaning, then in small groups the children tackled the task of translating their portion of the text using the glossary provided. After the break they settled quickly to the task of honing their nuanced translations – and many took this further, using sophisticated literary devices. Finally we came to preparing the scenes for role-play which they thoroughly enjoyed preparing and performing. The results were fabulous short performances with narration and dubbing.

What we got out of it

Some of the children approached me after the workshop to thank me and said how much they had enjoyed it. Their class teacher explained that, because of SATs, they had not had time during the year to cover role-play and performance, which are both part of the curriculum, and that it was rewarding to allow the children to engage their literacy skills in a meaningful, lifelike task and become involved in creative flow during the workshop. The children were particularly motivated by the gigantic picture frame that I had mocked up as a setting within which to perform the role-plays/tableaux. Some pupils went above and beyond what was asked of them, using more sophisticated lexical terms than those given in the glossary and creating rhythm in the target text, and were able to give justifications for their choices. In feedback the children noted how French syntax differs from English, with the adjective coming after the noun.