Dunja Fehimovic is an AHRC-funded PhD student at the University of Cambridge, working on the relationship of film to national identity in Cuba in the 21st century. Dunja recently co-convened the Branding Latin America conference at Cambridge with Dr. Rebecca Ogden. She has published in Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies and Bulletin of Latin American Research, and she has work forthcoming in Cuban Cinema Inside Out and The Routledge Companion to World Cinema.
“‘Kids on Spanish Film’: An assessment of the teaching and learning of child-centred Spanish films through the students’ eyes”, Mark Goodwin (University of Manchester)
Spanish films have now become a commonplace resource for hundreds of Spanish teachers across England, with advances in technology making the process increasingly easy and expectations to communicate the cultural identity of the target-language country and broader objective of teaching intercultural awareness featuring more dominantly in exam specifications and governmental statutory requirements. Child protagonists are recurrent in the Spanish films selected by teachers of GCSE and A-level Spanish, which at first glance, one may presume, allows for (English) students to identify more easily with the (Spanish) central characters and thus, be more deeply immersed in the narrative and broader learning experience. However, publications of recent times, from Karin Lesnik-Oberstein’s Children in Culture (1998) (‘Revisited’ 2011) and Rob Stone’s Spanish Cinema (2001) to Carolina Rocha and Georgia Seminet’s Representing History, Class and Gender in Spain and Latin America: Children and Adolescents in Film (2012) and, ultimately, Sarah Wright’s The Child in Spanish Cinema (2013), highlight much more profound implications for national and international audiences when considering reflections on Spain’s past, present and future as witnessed, explored and inadvertently critiqued by the nation’s youth on screen.
This paper aims to establish, analyse and review the perspective of English students in the Spanish classroom as they are exposed to child-centred films such as El laberinto del fauno (Del Toro 2006), El espinazo del diablo (Del Toro 2001) El orfanato (Bayona 2007) and El bola (Mañas 2000). Questionnaire responses and findings from focus-groups will be measured against current literature and theory surrounding transnationalism, connections to memory and trauma and film pedagogy, amongst other crucial areas, in a bid to answer the following questions:
1. How do students see Spain (at the time the film is set) through the eyes of a Spanish child?
2. To what extent are students able to identify with these characters and the environment/events surrounding them?
3. What effect(s) does all of this have on learning?