MT Thoughts

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24 thoughts on “MT Thoughts”

  1. I think there are some misunderstandings happening. (Some of the misunderstandings are because Hastings’ MovieTalk is different from the TPRS version of MovieTalk). As it is with all our work, it will be easier to get a grasp on MT if we see it in action.

    You don’t use the audio track from the video to give CI. The MTs I use do not have dialogue. Rather, they usually have compelling soundtracks (music). I MT with the volume ON.

    MT can be made 100% comprehensible, even more so than TPRS, if you choose the right clip (repetitive), and if you do a little of Step 1 (for new words) prior to the clip, while making sure the rest of the clip can either be told with language already familiar or else you play through and don’t pause on those scenes. Think of the video clip talk like Step 2 of the TPRS process. You can do a reading day afterward. MT can be made to fit the 1-2 week schedule.

    I was the one recommending writing story scripts with the target structures from the MTs. I gave an example of how to do that with the pillow fight prank MT. I have done this as a way to get more reps in a new context. It can be done as a way to extend the massed reps or it can be done after time away from the MT as a way to recycle and get spaced reps. But, this storyasking step does NOT have to be included if using MT as I described above.

    IMO, and based on what others have been saying about MT I think many would agree, MT can be easier for students and teachers (comprehensible and engaging). The visual makes discussion more concrete. By the way, the “movie in the mind” is literally what MT does for students if you follow it up with a reading (Susan Gross got that saying from Nanci Bell – I explain more about that in IJFLT). My feeling is that MT is a precursor to TPRS or at least something ready to be started at the same time of the year as TPRS and if used with the 3-steps, then it can substitute for a “TPRS cycle.”

    1. My above comment demonstrates why it is important to choose film that is heavy on action (not dialogue) and where the plot can be figured out easily by just “watching.” Films with which students are already familiar (so they know what is going to happen already) work well–still need to be heavy on action.

      Continuing to call the appropriated hybrid, which people have recently created for tprs/ci classes, Movietalk seems wrong to me. Appropriating and changing it are not the problem. Continuing to use the name is. I am not calling for an argument here. I am stating an opinion.

  2. Agreed with everything Eric and Jody said – I never use clips with audio. I choose clips that match structures that I happen to be focusing on at that particular time. That way, everything and anything in the clip should be 100% comprehensible. I might “front-load” the odd noun here or there, in case there is an image in the clip that is important to the story and which has not come up during class.
    Jody, are you saying you would like to change the name from “Movietalk” to something else? We could just call it visual PQA or something like that.

  3. My understanding and use of MT is using the video story only (no audio unless is just instrumental music with no lyrics). I choose some structures and narrate the action. I use the same video clip for all levels and differentiate / expand my choice of structures based on the group I’m working with.

    I totally agree that the visual story is instantly compelling and so we get more buy in. For this reason I do think it is pretty seismic. The engagement alone is stunning, at least in my limited experience.

    I also think (totally conjecture here) that it could potentially help kids who don’t visualize when they read. The “movie in the mind” does not always happen for kids and maybe judicious use of MT connected to written stories developed from them could help kids develop more visualization ???? I have no idea. But it seems like it might help. Anything we can do to make reading more enjoyable for kids is worth a try, in my opinion.

    The compelling factor in MT is so huge. I don’t know what the right balance is between MT, “regular story asking” etc. I don’t think there is a recipe for this. I think it is probably different for each group and up to the teacher to feel that out and create just the right mix of story asking, story telling, and the resulting reading and embedded reading using visuals (stills or MT clips) and in-class actors, etc.

  4. Yes, that’s what I’m saying. What Eric and others describe is not exactly Movietalk. Ben’s remarks and those of others not on this blog, make me think that what we’ve done by changing Movietalk (using short clips instead of films, front loading vocabulary, circling verb phrases, using the audio/others using audio only for the sound effects/some not at all) has made it confusing for quite a number of folks.

    I think it would be respectful to change the name and by doing so, give some clarity to the issue. I don’t know if the term Movietalk is trademarked (like Blaine did with TPRS), but I’m wondering if it’s really ok with Ashley Hastings that this term has been appropriated and its meaning changed significantly since his definition of Movietalk is part of a very specific program called Focal Skills. Have people who are doing adapted Movietalk spoken asked him about this? Just wondering.

  5. I think we need to stop calling what we do with clips MovieTalk. That’s like someone saying they use TPRS but actually don’t. MovieTalk is a specific thing created by a specific group of individuals, like Embedded Reading.

    What we do is “YouTube and Discuss.” We have a category on it to the right.

      1. Ok, those who know more about MT’s history I hope will weigh in on this name idea. Thanks Jody and James for bringing this important point to our attention!

        I would prefer simply W&D (Watch and Discuss) if we shouldn’t be using MT. I’m a bit averse to using brands (YouTube) in this general way.

  6. Michael Nagelkerke

    I think everything depends on what movie clip you choose. I don’t do MovieTalk that much because it takes a while to find a video clip that will work for doing real targeted CI work with the kids. Usually the video has to be very repetitive. For example this clip:

    Funny Cats and Water

    Its a compellation of clips of cats that either like water (strange) or hate water.

    It works well for targeting: Likes/doesn’t like

    I also throw in some other phrases based on vocabulary that the students already know or that use strong cognates like “the cat is normal/ isn’t normal,” “the cat plays in the water,” and the like to give the lesson a little more variety.

    One thing I also like is that with MovieTalk, we can “trick” our students into interacting with us interpersonally a lot more sometimes because kids are already good at interacting with TV and Videos. All we do is squeeze ourselves in between them and the movie, and voila, we get some interaction. Plus, with all the hilarious and crazy funny videos you can find on YouTube, the compelling aspect is really hard to beat.

    1. Michael this clarification works for me – Eric and others have also made these points in this dicussion – and answers my questions about all the vague concepts of MT that have kept me confused about what MT really is.

      Basically what I hear you saying is to:

      1. not go all over the place with a complex clip,
      2. not try to include a bunch of structures in the class,
      3. choose only really simple repetitive MT clips for that purpose.

      So everything is really simple and limited. My entire problem was with the out of bounds thing.

      1. Michael Nagelkerke

        You got it Ben. I wouldn’t mind going out of bounds so much if I had more advanced speakers who need less reps and more variety, but I teach middle school and only get about 70 hours of instructional time a year (if that) so I need to do things that get the most reps as possible.

    2. My main concern with MT was the “addictive” aspect of screen time. Could I get the kids to buy into story-asking after MT? So far no one has complained whether we do MT or something else.
      Has to be fun though. Fun fun fun. Little kids’ motto.

      1. I have never had students be addicted to the movies. It just adds a nice variety, and students seem to crave variety. They still like talking about themselves and seeing their friends drawings.

  7. So it seems that we need to come up with a new term for the way we do MT and discard the old one. That really feels right.

    Since we are using YouTube almost exclusively as a source of clips I personally don’t have a problem with using it in the name we come up with. It’s what we do and is less vague than Watch and Discuss, which overly resembles Look and Discuss in my opinion. L and D is discussion of a static image and therefore needs to be kept separate from what we do with the video clips. So I vote for a name with YouTube somewhere in it or at least the term video or video clips or something.

    Once we come up with a term, I will go back and delete the MT category, create the new one and recode all the articles to the new name.

    I wonder if Michele knows Ashley Hastings enough to bring this up with him.

    1. Trying to define exactly what can and can’t be considered “the method” is a problem of any method. What are the aspects of TPRS that without which would make it not “TPRS”? Storyasking vs. storytelling? Does it have to be targeted? Do you have to do all the 3 steps? Do they have to be done in that order? Do you have to circle? etc.

      Same question for MT. What makes it MT and what it makes it something different? Full-length film vs. short clip? Narration and questioning (comprehension checks) ARE part of the Focal Skills version of MT.

      Is this like the change from “TPR Storytelling” to “Teaching Proficiency through Reading & Storytelling?” I don’t know how/why that change ever happened. The title of the “Green Bible” is still the latter!

      And who makes these decisions?

      We’ll all do it differently and that’s a good thing. Practically speaking, we want a way to name what we do and all have a similar idea of what it is we are doing. I TPRS the video and I’m assuming we (those on the blog) also do this. It’s just TPRS with a video! The video plot is the story. (But even then, it’s not so clear, because if we don’t do the reading step 3 is it something different? – does MT + reading really mean we need a new name?). I’ve also called it “visual storytelling.” Does it make sense to call it TPRVS? (V = video or visual) or just TPRV. I also have no problem with W&D, because really, what we do is just a series of L&Ds.

      It’s all TCI. TCI with a story script or TCI with a video.

      1. It’s just a matter of marketing. That’s were we are now with all of this. ACTFL has shown us that. We need a package of well organized strategies. Using the term MovieTalk might be confusing because the original form of that technique is really different from what most of us do.

  8. “I also have no problem with W&D, because really, what we do is just a series of L&Ds.” While I get what you are saying Ben about a possible ambiguity of W&D, I think it is good considering the comparison existence of L&D. And, you “watch” something that is moving or has potential to move, it’s continual, while “look” entails status, in my mind anyway. You watch a show. You look at a painting. (Though the custodian at my school still says “I’m gonna look at some TV tonight”)

    The only issue I would have with continuing to call it MT is if Hastings sees what we do as something different. Not to say he owns the words, but it is a respectful gesture that furthers integrity in our profession if we honor his vision of the term, as others have already said. (The CI misinterpretations/generalizations over on ACTFL still make me kinda sad). I hope we can get word from Hastings on this.

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