This year in my French 2 class, I have a student who, for reasons I can’t pretend to comprehend, is a little challenging. Let’s call him David (though that’s not his real name). David is incredibly smart and could easily master my class but a lack of effort in assignments and assessments has been holding him back from achieving his personal best. David and I have a somewhat tenuous relationship; there are days when he’s totally amenable (“Mademoiselle!” he exclaimed one day, holding up his foot to show me a Converse shoe that matched mine, “We have the same shoes!”) and then there are days when he shows up 20 minutes after lunch ends and says (smirking) that he couldn’t come to class on time because his butt got stuck to the seat in the lunch room. I know.
So for the past couple of weeks, I’ve been running my second-annual Musical March Madness in all of my classes. I keep it really simple – each day we listen to two songs and vote on which one we like the best. I do more involved activities during our regular Mercredi Musique routine, but for right now March Madness is just about listening and having fun.
The other day, one contender was the song Un peu de blues by Christophe Maé. David was in a mood – sullen and generally non-participatory – and I’ll admit that I had been avoiding interacting with him because of it. Well, in the video clip, there is a scene when Christophe bids farewell to a pretty girl and rides off on a motorcycle. In the next scene, though, Christophe comes out of his hotel room, and the girl is leaning up against his motorcycle, with her own helmet in hand. I’ve seen this music video about 500 times (give or take a few) and never really thought much about it, but David sat bolt-upright in his chair the second he saw it and hollered, “But how did she GET there?!”
Everyone in class (including me) burst out laughing because – well, he was right! How did she get there?! And let me tell you – never was there a more golden opportunity for CI than that moment, because we were just about to embark on a little grammar quest called the pronoun y, which means “there” in French and takes the place of a location in a sentence. It was the perfect chance to throw out the question using that pronoun – comment est-ce qu’elle y est arrivée? (How did she get there/How did she do that?) – and have some great fun with this music video’s plot hole.
Just goes to show, you may find opportunities for CI from some very unlikely sources!