|My first lesson is designed around a two-page bande dessinée (French comic strip) by|
writer R. Gosciny and illustrator M. Gotlib. Gotlib uses his trademark burlesque,
farcical visuals to poke fun at the tourism industry by illustrating how to manufacture folklore and turn the most isolated and bleak village into a picturesque tourist favorite. Through humor, this artifact leads the learners to wonder: What constitutes folklore? How does folklore intersect with history? Are these characteristics cross-cultural? Students also reflect on the discourse of tourism and the genre of tourist text, while apprehending the use of the inflectional future in planning an itinerary. The final task is designed as a team effort. Students create their own tourist brochure about their college town by following the tropes highlighted in the comic. Brochures are presented orally in class to the rest of the students who vote on which version of their college town they would rather live and attend university in.
My second lesson is designed around an advertising poster from the French
National Railway Company. It plays on the sounds of the French language and the imagery of the French countryside by comparing it humorously to the sounds of English and the expected imagery of global metropolises. Through humor, the artifact leads the learners to wonder about the relationship between urban and rural perspectives in France. Does this type of power relationship exist between their native urban and rural cultures? Does it surface in specific cultural practices? Students also reflect on advertising strategies in the target culture, while considering the different types of negation in French and their uses. The final task engages students to script and design their own parody of a commercial promoting their college town by reinvesting the semiotic codes they noticed in the various documents under study.