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"The Harry Potter Class"
Few classes could sound less exciting or more difficult than "French 404: Advanced French Grammar and Conversation." To combat this fact, Professor Skye Paine decided to bring American popular culture into the French classroom by choosing a translated version "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" by J.K. Rowling as one of the texts for the class.
Paine says that "the Idea was to have the incredibly complicated content delivered in a very familiar and easy context... like the spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down."
While the students enjoy reading a book that they know so well, they are still expected to tackle the most difficult grammar points that they have ever encountered. "I'm having them work on some really hard stuff," says Paine, "but they don't always notice it because they feel so enthusiastic about the Hippogriffes andMoldus (French for Muggle)."
The picture above features two students performing as the mystical Professor Trelawney and the skeptical Hermione Granger. This kind of role play is an integral part of the course. Every student has taken on their own identities from the Harry Potter series and perform in alternate egos every week. Paine explains that "all of this play acting serves the greater purpose of reinforcing the idea that speaking another language is often a performance."