Exploring Friendship and War with "Au Revoir Les Enfants" – A Comprehensive French Lesson Plan

Exploring Friendship and War with "Au Revoir Les Enfants" – A Comprehensive French Lesson Plan

Introduce your students to the moving and profound story of "Au Revoir Les Enfants" (Goodbye, Children) with our comprehensive French lesson plan. Directed by Louis Malle, this autobiographical film captures the innocence of childhood amidst the harsh realities of war, making it an excellent tool for language learning and historical exploration.

The Story: "Au Revoir Les Enfants" is director Louis Malle's autobiographical account of a boy's first friendship and his discovery of the real world. Set in a Catholic boarding school during the occupation of France, this powerful story follows Julien Quentin, a sensitive, headstrong 12-year-old boy who befriends a new student, Jean Bonnet. Initially, Julien is intrigued by Jean's differences, and their friendship grows as they share common experiences. However, Julien accidentally discovers Jean's secret: he is a Jewish boy hiding from the Nazis. This discovery leads to a tragic series of events that will change their lives forever. The film features the performances of Gaspard Manesse, Raphael Fejtö, and Francine Racette.

Educational Benefits: Using "Au Revoir Les Enfants" in the classroom enhances language skills by providing students with an engaging, context-rich narrative. The film allows students to hear authentic French dialogue, learn new vocabulary, and explore cultural and historical themes. The lesson plan includes structured activities, discussion questions, and cultural notes, fostering a deeper understanding of both the language and the themes discussed in the film.

Activities and Discussions: The lesson plan encourages active participation through various activities:

  • Listening Comprehension: Watching film segments and answering questions to improve listening skills.
  • Vocabulary Building: Learning key terms and phrases used in the film, reinforced through contextual examples.
  • Creative Writing: Writing essays or diary entries from the perspectives of Julien or Jean to practice expressive language use.
  • Group Discussions: Engaging in conversations about the film’s themes, fostering critical thinking and language use.

Historical and Cultural Insights: "Au Revoir Les Enfants" provides valuable insights into the lives of individuals during the German occupation of France. By discussing these themes, students gain empathy and a broader perspective on historical and cultural issues, enhancing their overall educational experience.

Integrating "Au Revoir Les Enfants" into your curriculum helps students develop language skills while exploring significant historical and cultural themes. This lesson plan is designed to make learning French an engaging and impactful experience. Explore our comprehensive film-based lesson plans and transform your language classes today!

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