Tuesday, May 10, 2011

International School of Boston

by Elodie LeNezet-Soule

Last week, I was lucky to attend the second part of a training organized by the Mission Laique Française (MLF), l’Oral au cycle 3, focusing on how to emphasize oral activities in the classroom to furthermore develop French language skills with the students.

It was, once more, extremely interesting and enriching to share experiences with other teachers and professionals. The first day, we focused especially on the discours explicatif and argumentatif and how to provoke those types of discours on a student, which language structures to use and other activities.

The second day, we went into the classrooms to observe the application of some activities: one was to work with the children on the implicite when reading and the different ways to find information. Indeed, when we read a text, sometimes the information is hiding under words and if the student does not know this word, his whole understanding of the sentence might be jeopardized. We worked on different ways to help the student use all that is in the text to make sense of it all.

We then observed a philosophy debate. One might think that children are too young to express themselves on philosophical ideas, but it is not the case. Here is a fantastic quote by Michel de Montaigne on that matter :

On a grand tort de peindre la philosophie inaccessible aux enfants, et d’un visage renfrogné, sourcilleux et terrible. Qui me l’a masquée de ce faux visage, pâle et hideux ? Il n’est rien de plus gai, de plus gaillard, de plus enjoué, pour un peu je dirai de plus folâtre. Elle ne prêche que fête et bon temps. Une mine triste et transie montre là que ce n’est pas son gîte.
…which basically means that philosophy has been portrayed as terrible and serious when it is all the contrary.

The debate was on the question : What is friendship ? It was wonderful to hear the ideas the children had and how they used their own experience to nourish it. This is an activity I did in my class as soon as I came back the day after the workshop…a success !