Learn to Speak French with Jeanne Moreau
Learning to speak French with the classic film “Jules et Jim” as teacher— the revolutionary language-learning approach developed by Yale innovator Pierre J. Capretz 25 years ago— has just made a quantum digital leap with the release of a new interactive DVD-ROM.
Using François Truffaut’s 1961 film as its basis, the “ ‘Jules et Jim’ Interactif” DVD-ROM combines the learning model of a video-based language curriculum with the power of interactivity, making this French language program appropriate for any student of French. “ ‘Jules et Jim Interactif’ ” invites students to have conversations in French with Jeanne Moreau, Oskar Werner and other lead actors in Truffaut’s great film about a doomed love-triangle.
The interactive version is perhaps the final avatar of the language-learning model that has been evolving with available technology since it was first developed by Capretz as a teaching tool for Yale students. Capretz later adapted the model in his highly successful telecourse “French in Action” (produced under contract with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting). Distributed by Thomson Heinle, the leading publisher of French language-learning textbooks in the United States, the DVD-ROM is the first of its kind for use in any language course.
“Every 20 years or so the constant evolution of technology reaches a point which makes possible a major revolution in language teaching as well as other fields. This was the case with audio, then video and now with the multimedia interactivity that modern computers can provide,” said Capretz, who is the director of the Language Development Studio at Yale.
With the newly released interactive DVD, students are able to follow a written script as they watch selections of “Jules et Jim” and hear the words spoken. They can replay the dialogue utterance by utterance in order to understand it in the context of the film’s actions. Exercises with each selection emphasize important elements of the language.
The software allows students to substitute themselves for one actor in a given scene and immediately playback the resulting dialog to compare their French with that of the original actor.
In the “Ecritures” section, students find activities that focus on vocabulary and particular points of grammar. In activities that invite an answer, a link appears that automatically accesses a segment of the film where students can find the correct answers or information that allows them to discern the answers. The various chapters of the program contain abundant cultural, historical and literary references as well as some film critique.