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Bilingual College Course or Spanish Speakers: Intercultural Communication

by Bernadette M. Lopez-Fitzsimmons | 02 Oct 2017
Resource Description: This lesson was taught in a bilingual course, Intercultural Communication, taught in English and Spanish to Spanish-speaking undergraduate students.  This is their first semester in a two-year associate's degree program.  The use of film engaged students in connecting the concepts from the textbook to a true story about three Maori girls in Australia who are abducted by authorities from the department of aboriginals. Students will develop inquiry-based skills, linking the text to the events in the film. They will also connect the concepts to the metaphors used in the film. They will be able to practice their English language skills -- speaking, listening, reading, and writing -- using academic and professional English. 
Audience: Adult, Secondary, University
Audience Language Proficiency: Intermediate
Duration: 3-4 hours
Materials and Technology:

Textbook:  Jandt, F.E. (2015). An Introduction to Intercultural Communication: Identities in a Global Community. (8th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. ISBN: 978-1483344300. 

Chapter One: "Defining Cultures"

Film:  Noyce, P. (Director). Garimara, D., & Olsen, C. (Writer). (2002). Rabbit Proof Fence [Motion picture]. Australia, Rumbalara Films.


1. To learn concepts regarding culture and communicating across cultures

2.  To use key vocabulary terms regarding culture, contact zones, and intercultural communication

3.  To discuss these concepts, apply them to examples discussed in class, and other situations that learners might think of.

4. To watch the film and apply the concepts from Chapter One in their summaries of the film.


1.  Students will be able to use key terms from Chapter One about culture and intercultural communication.

2. They will be able to explain how indigenous peoples contribute to society through their languages, culture, and spirituality.

3. They will be able to understand the metaphors in the film (e.g., fence, eagle, Maori women singing, technology, settlement school, etc.) and connect them to the concepts from Chapter One: Defining Cultures.

4. They will be able to empathize with the young girls in the film and express how they feel about the girls' attempt to escape capture.

5. They will be able to discuss and write an essay about the film using concepts from Chapter One.




Activity Description:

1. Pre-teach vocabulary in Chapter One 

2. Engage in activities such as a role play between an aboriginal and a white magistrate

3. Discuss this interaction in pairs and whole class share.

4. Pre-teach terms in the film and ask students to take notes during the viewing of the film

5. View film with students, pausing for comprehension checks

6. Discuss film; ask students to apply Chapter One's concepts to the film

7.  Assign writing a one-page essay about the film and chapter. Start by having students create a sentence prompt to start the essay.  Later, have students create sentences on possible ways to end the essay.

8.  Collect essays and provide feedback to students on ways to improve writing.

9.  Have students write the second draft of their essays. 

10. Return essays with comments.



Jandt, F.E. (2015). An Introduction to Intercultural Communication: Identities in a Global Community. (8th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. ISBN: 978-1483344300.

Noyce, P. (Director). Garimara, D., & Olsen, C. (Writer). (2002). Rabbit Proof Fence [Motion picture]. Australia, Rumbalara Films.

Useful Links: IMDb to read summary on the film, Rabbit proof fence
TESOL Interest Section: Bilingual Education, English for Specific Purposes, Higher Education, Intercultural Communication, Second Language Writing, Social Responsibility, Video and Digital Media