“Developing Language and Cross-Cultural Communication Skills via Movie Read-Throughs and MMORPGs”

ATEM-Journal

“Our principal goals in this project were to (a) inspire students to have fun with English, (b) enable students to communicate and connect with people from other cultures, and (c) improve students’ English abilities and develop a range of other ’21st-century skills’ (skills that are generally regarded as being important in the information age).”

ATEM Journal: Teaching English Through Movies (Volume 20, March 2015) includes a paper by Walter Klinger and Martin Stack (both at the University of Shiga Prefecture) and me. We present the results of a semester-long project that engaged students in “language and cross-cultural communication skill development through a combination of a movie script read-through, and task- and project-based learning activities in both a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) and in real life.”

Our MMORPG was World of Warcraft, “where players create personal online avatars to explore and interact with the game environment and with other players from around the world.” Our movie was The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012). The connection between the two was that “the entire high-fantasy game genre, of which World of Warcraft is a part, traces its roots back to Tolkien’s celebrated work”.

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