MovieTalk unit: "The Road Home" 《我的父亲母亲》

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This product is a collection of files that provide guidance for a Chinese language teacher wishing to use the acclaimed film by Zhang Yimou, "The Road Home" 《我的父亲母亲》.

The unit is best suited to high school levels 3, preAP, and AP classes, or university Chinese classes after perhaps 1 1/2 to 2 years of study. The film is beautifully filmed, and it tends to be sad and romantic, though also sometimes funny. I recommend it for more mature students who would appreciate serious themes such as marriage, family, politics, education, falling in love, separation, and death.

In addition to these files, a teacher needs their own copy of the film, which is not included. The teacher uses the film plus these materials and suggested activities as the basis for 6 to 7 weeks of class time, depending on your students' needs and schedule. I show the film one day per week, then spend the rest of the week talking and reading with vocabulary that arose from the scenes we watched.

Files in this product include:
- Overview of the film for the teacher, noting in detail cultural topics and vocabulary/phrases that may need pre-teaching for students to comprehend, and suggesting what sections of the film to use each week of the unit.
- An overview PowerPoint slideshow for students to see and discuss prior to watching the film.
- Numerous screenshots, images of the main characters, and images of items in the film in order to aid comprehension, for use in discussing the film.
- Word documents with files including suggested vocabulary phrases for each week, activities for introducing relevant language to students, and some additional reading material created with or for my students. The students with whom I first watched this film were able to read the subtitles when we paused to discuss them, so there is less additional reading material than in my previous MovieTalk unit designed for 《人在囧途》。(Which is why this one is a little cheaper!) We simply read the subtitles from time to time when I knew they were comprehensible, with my occasional rephrasing or glossing to clarify any unfamiliar language.

It is highly recommended that teachers purchasing this product are familiar with MovieTalk as described by Dr. Ashley Hastings: I also have video samples from classes using 人在囧途 as a MovieTalk film: and It will also be very helpful to be used to a comprehensible input angle on your teaching, such as experience with TPRS and questioning approaches that scaffold student comprehension.

The basic idea is that the teacher shows a 1 to 3 minute scene of the film with sound on and NO English subtitles. Students watch & listen, but are not expected to understand all of the original dialogue. The first viewing is to get a sense of what happens and perhaps to catch some dialogue. After showing that short scene, the teacher replays that same scene again with the sound muted. The teacher narrates and describes what is happening, sometimes pausing to point out things on screen and to ask students questions.

I add reading and discussion activities when I use MovieTalk, including Personalized Questions & Answers with new phrases, polls, discussions to predict and evaluate what's happening in the film, creating a "Fakebook" profile for movie characters, and writing captions and responses to the film.

I am on the web elsewhere:

Twitter: @DuYanzi

YouTube channel with videos related to Chinese teaching:

And I blog along with several other teachers at:

Thanks for your interest!
Diane Neubauer 杜雁子
Total Pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
2 Months

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MovieTalk unit: "The Road Home" 《我的父亲母亲》