Link to comparisons
Ad Analysis. Advertising, especially about food products, often evokes images of families, traditions, and values. In the age of globalization, ads for products such as Coke or McDonalds are available in numerous languages. Advertisements, whether documents or videos, are good authentic materials for any proficiency level given their imagery and students’ background knowledge. An example in Spanish is a Kraft Macaroni and Cheese commercial [http://tinyurl.com/latinomac] that targets Latinos in the United States. The commercial’s play on (multi)cultural pride makes a first viewing without audio a good introduction for the students. Students use a graphic organizer to note what they see, answer questions about comprehension, and then analyze the cultural representations in the commercial.
Front pages. Using the website Newseum [http://www.newseum.org/todaysfrontpages/], students analyze a top news story from three different target culture cities to compare how the same event is reported. Students are able to note the space it occupies on the front page, the image selected, the tone of the article, etc. Students can complete a Venn diagram to compare the news story. An extension activity involves students creating their own first page or the first page of their lives.
Interrogating Media. Pick a topic that relates to the TL culture. Example: dealing with sexism like in the Dominique Strauss-Kahn affair which took place in NYC in 2011. How is the TL culture portrayed in the media in the U.S.? In its own country? In other countries? What accounts for these differences (intended audience, commercial or political gain, distribution concerns, etc). This has great interdisciplinary potential and also relates to T. See worksheet in handout for ideas to scaffold this activity.