What I learned from Cécile Lainé…

I got to attend (and present) at TFLTA (Tennessee Foreign Language Teaching Association) this weekend. I was so excited to catch up with some TCI Chatt” friends.

I had the great JOY to attend a workshop with Cécile Lainé

Cécile Lainé is an AMAZING teacher, presenter, AUTHOR …

Screenshot 2019-11-09 10.28.43       Screenshot 2019-11-09 10.29.47


Presented by Cécile Lainé


What makes a Cultural Unit POWERFUL?

Powerful Input-based Cultural Units.001

  • Who is the AUDIENCE from TL- Who can they interact with this information? Purposeful and Meaningful communication. Cécile gave examples of connecting with a Peace Corps Volunteer or using Epals to connect your classroom to classrooms around the world.
  • Validate, update or abandon current understanding
  • Flip the narrative – Give multiple narratives
    • What culture are we teaching? (Baguette, Eiffel Tower and Sombreros, or something more meaningful)
    • Whose stories are you telling? (the tourist, the native, oppressor, the oppressed, the child, etc.)

EXAMPLE from Cécile’s presentation – Housing comparisons

Houses around the word[2]

This was a simple but VERY powerful activity. It is a Picture Talk but with PURPOSE. We are telling more than one story here. We are reminding students that all different types of people live around the world. And one product, one practice or one perspective is NOT a culture. (ACTFL – Cultural standards)


What makes a Cultural Unit INPUT-BASED?

Powerful Input-based Cultural Units.002

  • Sequence – Start with INPUT – INTERPRETIVE MODE → Reading & Listening to Comprehensible Information in the Target Language.


Acquisition Classroom – Poster of how our brains acquire another language
  • This is the base and foundation of your unit. Reading and Listening. Without the INTERPRETIVE mode, you will not be able to have INTERPERSONAL & PRESENTATIONAL modes.
  • There are a variety of CI strategies out there to get your students HEARING & READING in the target language about culture. See below for ideas.



What makes a Cultural Unit … CULTURAL?

Powerful Input-based Cultural Units.003

*** What to do when your students say…

That’s weird!

1st – DON’T REACT immediately in the negative. They have responded (even if not in the most appropriate way) which means you have their attention. They are listening. They are noticing something. Comparing it to their norm and have found something different. It just comes out as “That’s weird!”

USE “That’s weird!” to BUILD EMPATHY empower them with new vocabulary to express how something they have seen, something they have encountered is DIFFERENT.

  • Me too! – I thought that was strange too. We don’t do it that way. How do we do it?
  • Why? What do you think is weird?

It’s different!. → I understand it. → I appreciate it.

Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain by Zaretta Hammond

Want Cécile Lainé to walk you through the process for making POWERFUL INPUT-BASED CUlTURAL UNITS??

You know you do!

Check this out!!


Check out all the WONDERFUL things Cécile is doing on her website Towards Proficiency.

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