Le Génie du manguier is a multimedia project produced by the Cutural Service of the French Embassy and Rutgers University. At its heart is a short story inspired by Sub-Saharan African literature. In addition to the story itself, one can find complete lesson plans, a glossary and beautiful illustrations all designed to promote the study of French language and Francophone culture.
Type of Material:
Students can read the materials independently and prepare the activities for the classroom.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
Learners will acquire a deeper knowledge of the literary styles of Francophone Africa while learning to read, speak, and write about intermediate-level texts in French.
Target Student Population:
High school and college students at an intermediate level in French
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Intermediate level French reading proficiency.
Evaluation and Observation
Le Génie du manguier serves as an excellent introduction to African texts in French and can easily become an integral part of a French study unit on Francophone Africa. The short story is surrounded by the sights and sounds of the West African village in which it takes place. Authentic vocabulary is aptly explained in the convenient glossary. The story transports the reader to an animated environment full of typical sights and sounds.
The Appareil Pédagogique contains several groups of activities for students. First, there is a very basic set of exercises on the structure of the story, its characters and their relationships, and the story's broad themes. This is followed by a more detailed exercise, based on a closer reading of the story and a thematic analysis. Third, the section "Structures de la langue" allows the student to explore grammar in context, with study of tense, indirect discourse, and parts of speech. Lastly, there are suggestions for writing expansion activities.
This site contains enough material for a completely self-contained unit, although it will work equally as well in other contexts. It is an excellent addition to a multicultural curriculum and will appeal to a wide variety of learners.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
Opportunities to read the short story on-screen, and/or to print it out gives the user learning choices. Faculty should not miss the opportunity to project the images in the Galérie for in-class discussions. Learners can be encouraged to recount the story in their own words and to reuse some of the new vocabulary that they learn.
Le Génie du manguier could be used in the same context as the animated film "Kirikou et la Sorcière",
which is also exquisitely drawn and treats some similar themes. Another web site that could be used with Le Génie du manguier is Les Africains de la Chanson Francophone, also reviewed in MERLOT.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The site is impeccably designed, easy to navigate, and is as functional as it is
attractive. The text of the short story is arranged in readable chunks and the glossary is easy to access at any time.