Final Stages: Editing, Editing, Editing

The Bilingual Bicycle is in its final stages of production! We’ve spent the last several weeks editing our footage and discussing at length how we’d like to visually tell this story on screen.

Today, we showed our second rough cut to the class and received some feedback and a few suggestions in return. It was refreshing to hear the feedback from a dozen people who haven’t been editing and thinking about the documentary for the past three to four months.

After considering their comments, we’ve realized that the aspect we need to work on the most for our final cut is our ending. We’ve talked a lot about just how we’d like to leave our audience after 10 minutes, and whichever quote or shot we use could send an entirely different message. Ultimately, we hope our documentary shows the importance of learning a second language and becoming bilingual, and we want our audience to consider taking on another language themselves.

With that in mind, we’ve chosen a few very specific shots for a closing montage, but we’re not giving anything away just yet… Stay tuned!


One Final Perspective: Giulia Dwight

For our last official shoot, we spoke with Guilia Dwight, an Ithaca College student from Italy. She studies communication management and design but also works as a teacher’s assistant for Italian classes at IC. Giulia is tri-literate; she speaks Italian, English and French. When we interviewed Giulia, we asked her about the difficulties of learning another language at an older age. She said that the process was more challenging, and she also notices similar difficulties when teaching college students to communicate in a different way.

After shooting B-roll in during Giulia’s TA session, On Point Productions finished our shooting. Now on to editing!

Back to Belle Sherman

We recently returned to Belle Sherman Elementary School for a few last interviews. First, we interviewed Shelia Bowman, a kindergarten teacher who has several ESL (English as a second language) students in her classroom. She described how she uses hands-on activities, pictures, and things the students can hold in their hands to teach them new vocabulary words in the classroom.

We also interviewed parents of the students in the after school Spanish program at Belle Sherman. They told us that they wanted their children to learn about other cultures and develop a connection to other people and different forms of communication. When we saw Bella and Sofia, two students in the program, hanging around the cameras while we spoke with their parents, we decided to interview them together. Bianca speaks Spanish fluently and asked them about their experience learning the language. Bella and Sofia were great — they carried on the conversation well, even though they were a little camera-shy.

Interviewing the Expert: Dr. Cathrene Connery

We recently interview Dr. Cathrene Connery, an education professor at Ithaca College. She’s spent her entire life learning about and studying bilingualism in the United States. She also introduced us to several of our other sources, including some of the Ithaca High School students.

When we first spoke with Dr. Connery, she introduced us to the idea of the “bilingual bicycle,” — it’s a metaphor that  language experts often use to describe how students, both young and old, learn a second language. As Dr. Connery told us, teachers should help students develop their first and second languages early. When a student’s first language is underdeveloped, it becomes much more difficult to fully learn a second language — meaning a student attempts to ride a bike that has one small one wheel in front and one large wheel in the back. Continue reading