2019 IWL Speaker Series--Cultural awareness, film-making and digital storytelling
Title: Vienna Stories: Cultural awareness, film-making and digital storytelling
Presenter: Professor Irene Motyl-Mudretzkyj, Barnard College
My presentation will show how students on the Advanced proficiency level (B 1.2 and B 2.1. of
the European Framework) expand cultural awareness through film-making in the target
Workshop participants will view and discuss sample classroom projects in which my students
explore different cultural products and ideas in order to develop an insider perspective into the
culture they are studying. Experiencing these projects will enable participants to gain insights
into strategies that foster communication and interpretation of meaning of culture and
language. Applying thinking and interpretative modes to express views and opinions in a
medium that is not only familiar but also stimulating to students motivates foreign-language
students to continue their language study beyond the required 2-4 semesters of foreign-
The main focus of the presentation will be the semester-long course “Vienna Stories: Filming
Identities and Voices”, in which my students spend an integrated study-abroad week in Vienna
in order to interview and film locals and recent and not-so-recent migrants about homeland,
identity and stereotypes. Student film projects (all done in German) will show how learners
used multiple perspectives, comparison reflection and critical thinking as well as linguistic and
digital competency in order to achieve intercultural competence in the target language.
Specializing in innovative foreign language education on the post-secondary level Prof. Motyl-Mudretzkyj co-authored three editions of the textbook, “Anders gedacht”, conducted over 50 professional development seminars and conference presentations and led numerous teacher training internships and mentorships. At Barnard, she recently developed and implemented “Vienna Stories: Filming Identities and Voices”, an advanced German language course integrating digital story-telling, cultural literacy and linguistic competency with a travel abroad film project. During the one-week stay in Vienna, students put their German-language, filming and digital technology skills to use and gathered ethnographic material to produce a short German-language documentary film on identity, the notion of homeland and stereotypes.
Prof. Motyl-Mudretzkyj’s responsibilities include curriculum and language program development, teaching, mentoring, advising and working with students in the Ambassadors for German program, which she founded in 2014, as well as the Barnard Deutsch Club, founded in 2016. Over the past years, Prof. Motyl-Mudretzkyj consistently developed content-based language courses, such as “Vienna Now and Then”, “News and Views: Reception, Reporting and Video Production”, “Current Issues: Media and Politics in Germany and Austria” and “Telenovelas”. In all of her courses, classroom communication and collaboration, dialogue, discussion and film production are based on German and Austrian internet sites, television programs, films, current art shows and cultural events in New York City.
Prof. Motyl-Mudretzkyj has served as consultant for the AATG Professional Development Program and as teacher trainer for the Goethe Institute Teacher Training Network. She has served on numerous task forces, such as the Deutsche Welle/AATG/Goethe Institute Task Force on classroom use of television and the AATG/Goethe Institute Project, “Going the Distance (Long Distance Teacher Training)”. She has also directed intercultural teaching practicums at NYU for graduate students from the United States and Germany.