I recently published a Planet French episode involving the police forcefully arresting a teenage girl dressed as a Star Wars Storm Trooper in Lethbridge, Alberta.
I hesitated before publishing this piece.
I thought no one would want to watch it. I thought everyone would steer clear of it because at the heart of it was the issue of guns and youths.
Should we even talk about this sensitive issue? Ironically, this dilemma—whether to teach students critical thinking in ethics vs sheltering them, was about a story at the heart of which is another dilemma.
To my surprise, it’s become one of our most popular stories.
It seems that both middle graders and teens are very interested in social justice and ethics (morals).
This episode is an example of a piece that helps students move forward in their stages of moral development, as Lawrence Kohlberg
would put it. Click the link to read about Lawrence Kohlberg’s Heinz/Jean Valjean/Miserables dilemma example. Click this link to read the full article about Kohlberg’s stages of development.
This episode is also a good lead into one of our popular Booksmarts French courses, “Bienvenue au cinema”.
Another popular article, this one in intermediate French, is about self-driving cars.
These cars are driven, literally, by artificial intelligence and that intelligence is responsible for making decisions, life and death decisions, while doing the driving.
Of course Planet French serves a copious amount of extremely basic a1 level French content. But one of the key attraction poles of learning is curiosity, and social justice issues, it turns out are of great interest to middle graders and to teens.
Could it be? Have we found a new doorway to teaching French, through ethics?