I PROMISE YOU that you can teach culture, and have "difficult conversations" in French class from early on.
Here we are in the beginning stages of our unit on Communities. We started with our essential question and came up with our own definitions of what community means. We spent a class discussing different sub-communities within our school community.
In this video, we had just done a little review of some of the knowledge that we'd previously established about what community means, and then got into different ethnic communities in the Philadelphia region. I did some research of my own and found a map of the indigenous people of our region. It lent really well to a variation of our Map Talks that I do in my Afro Franco curriculum.
The conversation got deeper as we went on: talking about le déplacement and la disparition.
The kids loved it, and it really underscored, for me, the notion that what can make language "compelling" is to have meaningful context. My kids absolutely love that they can speak intelligently about meaningful topics. We all love when they are able to draw connections between what they do in my class and what they have covered in other classes. And! There's a reasonable chance that they have never and will never discuss the presence and significance of indigenous people in their studies at all, so this felt good.