What I believe...
...and why I teach the way I do
In a world that is becoming increasingly connected, I consider it my mission to help my students become compassionate and multi-lingual global citizens. As a French teacher, not only do I strive to create an environment where my students feel comfortable taking risks and expressing themselves, I work to ensure my students’ output is not forced but organic, coming directly from them. I encourage them to circumlocute and use what they already know in order to problem solve and communicate their thoughts. Establishing a space where students feel secure to express themselves freely and naturally and are willing and motivated to take themselves out of their comfort zone is essential to my efficacy and success as a teacher. It gives me great pleasure when my students manipulate the language and make jokes in French, be it a simple play on words from a first grader or a bit of sarcasm from a sixth grader. These honest expressions indicate to me that my students have internalized the language and are using it effortlessly.
My students are always at the center of my curriculum. I want them to know I care about them, and who they are as individuals. By rooting our discussions in their interests, we make connections with each other and develop an understanding of and kindness towards each other. I cultivate community in my classroom, which in turn helps students feel safe and want to embrace challenges.
I work hard to make the French I teach my students relevant to their lives while also connecting it to what they are learning in their other subjects. By integrating French into the second grade unit on fables or the first grade meadow study, I encourage students to use their French in other areas and disciplines. We use the French language as portal to explore other cultures and ideas. During the first grade social studies unit on Africa, I share visuals of my trip to Senegal and we compare, in French, what students see in my photographs with the world directly around them. Through songs, poems, art, and videos, students experience French in multiple ways and it becomes much more than simply a language for them.
The plethora of research around language learning shows us that the benefits of learning a second language go far beyond simply speaking and reading. We know that the earlier a child starts learning another language, the better. I also believe that when we give children the power to express themselves in different ways it increases their self-awareness, confidence, and capacity for empathy.
As the parent of one of my current first graders told me, my teaching has not only made learning language fun for her but has also helped her make new connections about the world; this is at the core of my practice. I want my students to go out in the world, ready to try to communicate with and understand people with different backgrounds; if I know those happens, I will consider my work a success.
I am a passionate teacher. I care deeply about my students, and want to ensure that every one of them is successful. That is one of the reasons I focus on comprehensible input in my classroom. I want my students to hear before they speak. I model what I want from them and through scaffolding my material, I build my students up to producing on their own.
Some key elements to my teaching: