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Touchable Memories

Posted on January 12, 2015 by kierandonaghy

touchable_memories

This EFL lesson plan is designed around a short film titled Touchable Memories by Marco Aslan, and the theme of photos and memories. In the film five people who have lost their sight share their stories about how they “see” a photograph. The moving short film explores how 3D printing can help the blind “see” photographs for the first time, by offering a tangible version of a still photograph. Students describe a photo which is important to them and describe the memories it brings back. They talk about blind people and memories. They watch a short film, make notes, and speculate about how blind people “see” photos.

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I would ask all teachers who use Film English to consider buying my book Film in Action as the royalties which I receive from sales help to keep the website completely free.

 

 

Language level: Upper Intermediate (B2) – Advanced (C1)

Learner type: Teens and adults

Time: 90 minutes

Activity: Watching a short film, speaking and writing

Topic: Photographs, memories and 3D printerrs

Language: Vocabulary related to memories

Materials: Short film

Downloadable materials: touchable memories lesson instructions

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Step 1

For homework in the previous class ask students to choice a photograph which is important to them and brings back positive memories. They should bring the photographs to the following class.

 

Step 2

Pair your students and ask them to show their partner their photo, and explain what memories it brings back to them.

 

Step 3

Hold a plenary session on the memories brought back by the photos.

 

Step 4

Put your students into small groups and ask them to discuss the following questions:

How could a blind person “see” a photo?

How could a photo bring back memories to a blind person?

 

Step 5

Show your students the photo below.

 

touchable_memories_people

 

Tell them that the five people in the photo are all blind. Ask your students to imagine what the people’s lives are like and what they do for a living.

 

Step 6

Tell your students they are going to watch a short film in which they will see the five people in the photo. As they watch the film they should make notes about each person. Tell them that the film is in English, but also in Italian, Spanish and Arabic with subtitles in English.

Show the film until 02:16

Touchable Memories from Marco Aslan on Vimeo.

 

Step 7

Ask the students to compare their notes. Show the film a second time.

 

Step 8

Ask the following questions about each person:

What memories does he/she talk about?

What image does he/she refer to?

 

Step 9

Write the following sentence which Daniella (the woman in the centre of the image above) says:

 

“If I could touch the picture, I could make it tangible again:”

 

Ask the students to discuss what they think Daniella means.

Step 10

Tell the students they are going to watch the rest of the film. As they watch their task is to answer the following questions:

How do the blind people “see” the image for the first time?

How do the people react when they “see” the photo for the first time?

Why is the film called Touchable Memories?

 

Step 11

Get feedback from the students.

 

Step 12

Show the whole film and ask the students to describe how it makes them feel.

 

Step 13

Put the students into small groups and ask them to think of different uses of 3D printers which could improve the quality of blind people’s lives.

 

Step 14

Hold a plenary session on uses of 3D printers to improve blind people’s lives.

 

Step 15

Now show these two videos which show uses of 3D printers in South Korea and Japan to improve the lives of young blind people. Ask your students if they thought of any of the uses and how the videos make them feel.

 

Homework

Ask your students to imagine that they are one of the blind people in the short film. They should write about their emotions and memories when they “see” their photo for the first time.

I hope you enjoy this ESL lesson.

Support Film English

Film English remains ad-free and takes many hours a month to research and write, and hundreds of dollars to sustain. If you find any joy or value in it, please consider supporting Film English with a monthly subscription, or by contributing a one-off payment.

Monthly subscription

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11 thoughts on “Touchable Memories

  1. A beautifully planned lesson which not only promotes usage of the language,but also develops the value of ‘Empathy’.will use it in class.

    • Hi Anupama,
      Thanks a lot for commenting and for the kind words. One of the aims of the site is to promote empathy in education so I’m happy you spotted that angle.
      All the best,
      Kieran

  2. Kieran, I have been using your website for some time now and finally I have decided to contribute with a donation. I hope it helps and keep doing what your doing because it’s great.

    John

    • Hi Chrysa,
      Thanks a lot for commenting and for the kind words. I hadn’t heard about how 3D printers could help blind people until I saw the film either. It’s so cool, isn’t it?
      All the best,
      Kieran

  3. Hello, Kieran!
    I feel like it’s never enough to tell you how wonderful your Film English suggestions are. I showed Touchable Memories to my 10th graders while we were discussing new technologies and it was, as one of my students pointed out, “mind-blowing”. It’s not just the video selection, but also the activities which are thought- provoking and promote creativity and awareness. I think it’s never too much to emphasise these in a world of cultural immediacy and superficial love.

  4. Pingback: Useful pages | Pearltrees

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