Using the interactive websites developed for the French market by McDonald's, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and Quick (a European fast-food chain), students will get to see exactly what French children see when they go online to check out their favorite fast-food spot. This is authentic text that gives students the opportunity to absorb so much more than a vocabulary list! Students will hear different accents and rates of speech; they will have the opportunity to revisit things they need to hear a second time. Also providing printed out hard copies of the menus will give students an opportunity to focus on the offerings without getting distracted by all the bells and whistles of the websites, and will allow them to easily compare menus. Many sources of input provide repetition as well as more occasions for different types of learners to feel confident and successful. Sometimes in today's 21
Century Skills world, we forget that some learners are overwhelmed by multiple sources of sensory stimulation and could benefit from a little less sometimes. It is the job of the teacher to figure out how to best package and present the variety of materials available so that each student can work at his or her own comfort level while maintaining cohesion to the learning process as a whole. Taking time to familiarize yourself with all the options will allow you to better make those choices.
In today's technologically-fluent society, businesses are compelled to compete for our online attention in addition to wooing us with commercials and print ads. This competition provides the language teacher with a wealth of target-language, real-world resources to use in teaching. As students read and experience material that was written and created for a native French language speaker, they develop comprehension skills that will serve them in potential travels and conversations with real people as opposed to setting them up for success only in the isolated language-learning classroom. Students learning world languages today need to be exposed to a variety of different accents and registers of speech to be most successful in these real-world language situations. Listening to different commercials, as well as some of the interviews and other bonus features on restaurant websites, will give students this crucial experience. As you plan the particulars of this unit, I strongly recommend giving students some semi-structured time to explore these websites; this is perhaps best done by creating a scavenger hunt comprised of those features that will help students connect to the information and the language used. This gives students a useful framework for their exploration, and helps prevent mindless clicking and veering off-site.