One of the many challenges facing language teachers is to develop an interactive approach to teach culture. Indeed, culture is often presented in the language classroom as a series of facts about the target culture with no student involvement in the unveiling of this cultural information. This challenge becomes even greater when cross-cultural communication is the pedagogical goal. This project allows students of French to learn about Chinese and Belgian culture in the 1930s through images with the exploration of a comic strip, mainly Tintin and The Blue Lotus, which is often considered as one of the most well-known comic strips of the 20th century.

First, students receive biographical information about Hergé and learn about the friendship in which this story originated. Second, they discover the impacts of The Blue Lotus on the style and works of Hergé and on the development of comic strips in Europe. Third, students work with text and images in order to explore Chinese and Belgian culture in the 1930s and a sample of Chinese cultural traditions. Through this exploratory work, they also work on their French language skills.

Project Lead: Cathy Culot