The teaching of French is in an exciting place right now. Instead of rote memorization, teachers are utilizing new, interactive and exciting strategies that keep students moving, paying attention and contributing. The following is an excerpt taken from the Department of Education's website:
"Senior High Core French is organized in accordance with the principle of language proficiency. Students participate in a series of experiences designed to help them become more effective language learners, develop better communication skills, expand their cultural understanding, and broaden their linguistic knowledge. As they devote more time to second language learning and widen their range of experiences in French, they gain new knowledge and skills in each of these areas, all of which contribute to the development of overall proficiency in French.
Senior High Core French involves students in meaningful tasks as the starting point for learning. These tasks or direct experiences in French serve as the context for language learning and help students identify gaps in their linguistic knowledge and communication skills. When gaps are identified, they become the focus of further practice.
The learning outcomes for Senior High Core French have been organized to focus on five broad areas: communicating, acquiring information, experiencing creative works, understanding cultural influences, and using language learning strategies. These organizers focus attention on the most important purposes for studying French. In the classroom, however, they will be integrated in most activities, in the instructional process and also in the evaluation of student achievement. (Department of Education 2010)"
This is the philosophy that I embrace whole heartedly, learning and fun really can coexist! Cooperative learning has become very popular since the days that you attended high school in. "Cooperative learning refers to a variety of teaching methods characterized by positive interdependence and individual accountability among students working together to achieve a common goal" (Allen 2006). The common goal can be anything from writing a story, creating a role play situation, making a short presentation, inventing games, etc. Literature related to cooperative learning states that, students engaged in cooperative learning develop higher level thinking skills, improved interpersonal skills, greater intrinsic motivation, heightened self-esteem, and positive attitudes toward learning (Dornyei & Slavin quoted in Allen 2006). In French education, we strive for each of these aspects of learning.
Allen, L. (2006). Investigating Culture through Cooperative Learning. Foreign Language Annals, 39(1), 11-21. Retrieved from ERIC database.
Newfoundland and Labrador Government, The Department of Education. Core French: Senior High, A Curriculum Guide. Retrieved from: http://www.ed.gov.nl.ca/edu/k12/curriculum/guides/corefrench/index.html#seniorhigh