Monday, January 10, 2011

Local. Unspeakable...Perspectives Internationales

The last thing anyone needs is more political commentary about this past weekend's horrific events that have put Tucson on the front page of newspapers worldwide...I guess I can't have a blog from Tucson, though, and not write something about last Saturday. Tragic--this untimely instance of mental instability swayed by political vitriol...What's truly shocking, though, is the fact that this type of event is no longer shocking. A mass shooting. Yet another one...

My mother is visiting from out of town. Saturday, S. and I were going to take her for lunch at that very shopping center...The radio news alerted me as we were getting ready to leave...

Today in my advanced French class, the topic came up--inevitably--especially since it was during that class that the nationwide moment of silence was announced over the school intercom...So, the teachable moment...

In the interest of showing my students the fact that the shooting was truly a worldwide news-maker, I showed them various French-language news sites from France and Canada--the headlines, the commentary, etc...English/French classroom discussion and reading comprehension...and then one particular column became the focus of the class.

Yesterday morning, at home, I spent some time browsing international headlines on the laptop, and I was perusing one of the major French dailies--Le Figaro. ( One column caught my eye: 
"Pourquoi six meurtres et tant de haine en Arizona"--translation: Why six murders and so much hate in Arizona. I don't often respond to articles online, but for some reason I felt compelled, as a French-speaking Tucson resident, to add my deux sous' worth...After a few minutes, the journalist replied! I replied...and then a while later--another reply! It was stimulating to have this 'dialogue' with a French journalist...

So. I did show that interaction--as an exercise in reading comprehension--to my students in class today...and then they wanted to reply. So, as a class, (with me as 'grammar-coach'), they wrote a commentaire...and later in the day, I checked back on the website and saw that the journalist had not only posted their comments, but also wrote back to them! While it is such a morbid thing to have to write about, I was so glad, though, that these students--'specimens' of the increasingly insular youth of America--were taking an interest in international perspectives about a very local issue. (One of the shooting victims--the judge--was the boss of the mother of one of my students.)

A very local issue--but instantly internationalized in today's environment.

In this same class I have an exchange student from Germany. He said that Saturday morning, his family in Hamburg called him to make sure he was okay, hoping that he was not in that part of Tucson where the slaughter occured; when they called him, even he and his host family hadn't heard about the news yet!

Mass shooting.
Another one.
Infamous, but not unique...

No comments:

Post a Comment