My current philosophy of teaching French has been and continues to be developed from a variety of sources (readings and courses), as well as from my own personal teaching experience. When learning French, the main goal is to be able to communicate and express oneself effectively. This can be achieved by concentrating on the four skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Through listening, students can have the opportunity to hear native French speakers and gain an appreciation for correct pronunciation and intonation, which in turn will have a positive effect on their own spoken French. Through reading in any subject, a student can widen his/her vocabulary and have a better understanding of the subject matter. In French, reading can have a very positive effect on a student’s overall French comprehension. In addition, reading, whether it is a text book or a novel, exposes students to a variety of sentence structures and grammatical concepts and provides many different language models that they can then use in their own oral and written communication. Speaking allows students to communicate a message and participate in an exchange of ideas and information with another person or persons. In practicing written French, students can express themselves in a way that is individual. Students who are shy or do not enjoy speaking in class can benefit from and excel in this form of expression.
When communicating, in order for the message to be clear, it is important that it is grammatically accurate. In order to help them, teachers analyze their students’ oral and written communication to identify areas that need to be improved and then provide appropriate instruction and practice in order to help them improve their proficiency. They do this by using experiential and analytic teaching. “Experiential teaching focuses on the message. Analytic teaching focuses on pronunciation, morphology, syntactic structures, vocabulary, social variation and features of discourse”. (Programme d'études, page 17) Language elements such as grammar may need direct teaching. This is done in context, with time being provided for studying and practising them.
I believe in inclusionary practice in the classroom. Students with all learning styles and differing cognitive levels should be included in classroom activities to the best of their ability. Each individual student has talents and skills that need to be nurtured.
In addition, we, as teachers, do not always know what is happening in our students’ lives outside the classroom, and therefore need to realize that there are sometimes external reasons that explain a student’s behaviour or academic performance in class and at school. It is important to treat each child as an individual and make him/her feel that he/she is valued.
According to the Newfoundland and Labrador Curriculum Guide, one’s philosophy of instruction should include the following important points, which I consider key aspects of my personal philosophy of teaching French:
Language is an instrument for thinking, communicating, problem solving and learning.
Language is learned from whole to part, in meaningful chunks.?Language development is enhanced when students use it.
Language development is enhanced when students use it:
- to value, appreciate, entertain or engage the imagination;
- to inquire and inform
- to express feelings or opinions
- to convince or incite people to do something
- to learn concepts and skills.
Instruction is learner-centered, drawing upon the interests, knowledge, skills and experiences of students.
An effective learning environment is one that provides a good language model for the student and one in which students feel comfortable in taking risks with the language in order to create meaningful communication.
Gouvernement de Terre-Neuve et du Labrador Ministère de l'Éducation Division de l'Elaboration des Programmes. Arts Langagiers Français 1202-2202-3202 Programme d'études. (n.d). Retreived from : http://www.ed.gov.nl.ca/edu/k12/french/immersion/francais/index.html