This past week, I have been obsessed with Bilal Hassani, a young French singer and YouTuber who will represent France in the international singing contest L’Eurovision in May of 2019. I remember watching the contest with my family when I was growing up: it is kind of kitsch but it is also endearing at the same time; it is definitely heartwarming to see so many nations come together and to hear so many languages!
So, all my classes are getting to know him this week. This can be accomplished over 70 min or so either in one go or over the course of the week, a little bit each day. For example, in my French 1 class we are looking at what francophone kids look like so I presented Bilal in this context, in my French 2 and 3 classes, we have a song of the week, so I presented Bilal in that context. It is up to you!
1. Interpretive Listening: Teacher tells Bilal’s background story to students and answers questions. I make myself comprehensible to my Novice students by writing key phrases in French-English on the board as I am speaking.
2. Interpretive Listening: Students listen to the song that will represent France and complete a Cloze activity. I love that there is a short clip of Bilal in the middle of the video, addressing the criticisms he has received. This prepares students to read an article about him later.
3. Interpretive reading / Interpersonal speaking: Students read and discuss an article from Le Petit Journal about Bilal Hassani
- Novice: I never throw my Novice into a reading without making sure they are ready first. I want reading to feel comfortable and successful, not become another school chore.
- Picture Talk a photo of Bilal and do Personalized Questions & Answer (PQA) such as Who likes to wear make-up? Is make-up for boys or girls? Why or why not? Bilal is wearing make-up and a wig because he loves wearing make-up and a wig. Who knows boys/men who wear make-up? Who likes to sing? Who sings well? Does Bilal sing well? etc.
- Teacher reads article to students, students follow along. Teacher pauses when needed to clarify meaning.
- Quick debrief in English (or another PQA but for my Novice students, I think a quick debrief in English makes more sense)
- Students read the article on their own
- Students discuss gender expression and sexual preference. I like to always start with my students’ own experience first and build the discussion from there:
- Have you ever been criticized in public? On social media? Or know someone who was? How did you or s/he react?
- Do the United States (people and institutions) promote LGBTQ inclusiveness
- Does our school (people and institutions) promote LGBTQ inclusiveness ? How do we know? Btw, LGBTQ is LGBTQ in French.
- Does France (people and institutions) promote LGBTQ inclusiveness? How do we know?
Let me know if you end-up talking about Bilal Hassani in your classes and please add any additional activities you come up with in the comments.
photo credit @ Bilal Hassani’s Youtube Channel