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Education 302/303 Topic/Theme Statement

Topic/Theme Statement:
Education 302/303 Unit Plan
Johanna Admiraal
Calvin College
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Education 302/303 Topic/Theme Statement

Outline:
The topic that links my lessons together is French vocabulary of clothing/fashion. This

might, at first, appear to be a shallow topic; however, one has to look no farther than the

motivations of peoples’ dress to find a worthwhile base for this content. Although there were

many possible directions this unit could have taken, I chose to narrow my unit to “vêtements et

valeurs.” The main question underlying this unit asks why people dress the way they do. What

values/personality factors come into play?

Students are introduced to this question in small steps by the progression of each lesson.

The first lesson is mainly an introduction to vocabulary. I try to bring in the theme of values at

the end when students compliment one another’s clothing. The next lesson introduces the idea

that personality and values often play a role in the way that people dress. It asks students to think

about their own values and how they play out in dress. The third/fourth lesson (a block period)

applies the idea of values as a motivation for dress to other people. It also raises more questions,

like whether or not people should always be aloud to wear whatever they want. With this branch

off question, we discuss France’s public-school dress code and compare it to that of the U.S.

These lessons combined are meant to provide a space for students to do more than just

learn the French vocabulary for clothing. They are meant to encourage students to think deeply

about their own values, the values of other people, and current cultural issues surrounding

clothing. I hope, though I do not specifically address this, that students will also question any

clothing-based stereotypes they may have. One question on the quiz alludes to this and we do

one activity that describes why specific people wear what they wear. I chose pictures that
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Education 302/303 Topic/Theme Statement

represent “types” like athlete, skater, preppy, etc. in the hopes that students would begin to think

about the extent to which your clothes reveal who you are.

Clothing vocabulary simply happened to be the topic in the textbook that fell on my

teaching date. It follows party vocabulary and demonstrative pronouns. I believe that it is useful

for any level of language and any age of student. I think my middle schoolers especially will

benefit from a unit on clothing because most middle schoolers are conscious of their own

appearance. They often try to use clothing to make specific impressions. Not only is clothing

vocab practical for everyday life, it is also a topic that crosses cultures. It might seem silly, but

something so simple can be a very effective cultural bridge. It caters to exploration of deeper

cultural issues. Finally, this topic gives space for students to “trouble” their own values,

formulate opinions. I think this topic has the potential to give students an opportunity to learn

more about themselves and the way they think, thereby becoming more well-rounded people.