Dear me, I do love teaching French. Part of my job assignment at the primary school I'm working at is to teach two course hours of French to a grade 6 class. So, every friday, I take a little break from the chaos that is finger painting and play dough in the nursery to the sixth grade wing, where I teach French. I'm teaching French to the advanced French class, children of twelve years of age, who, wait for it, actually want to learn! Quoi?! Vraiment?! Children who actually want to learn French? How novel. To quote the Wizard of Oz, 'We're not in Kansas, er Canada, anymore, are we, Toto?' These children, so far, are quite lovely. They can understand French easily, and make an effort to speak it themselves. They do not complain, or ask me to 'Speak English!' In short, they put sixth grade Canadian children to utter shame in the language learning department, speaking much better than Canadian children the same age. And this is only their second year of learning French. What exactly are we doing wrong in Canada? (You know, besides the government changing the French program about every two years so neigher schools, teachers nor children can keep up.)
On Friday, I spent the first block doing introductions, discussing class rules and just chatting to the kids, in French, mais oui. Now, during the second block, something happened that rarely happens in classrooms. We actually got a lot of work accomplished. No time was wasted on getting drinks, going to the toilet, gathering books, passing out supplies, children locking each other in the cloak room, or spitting in each others faces. I did not have to play referee or counsellor. I did not have to administer first aid, ask the students to put away their mobile phones, or please refrain from sleeping. Incredible.
We learned new vocabulary, the children explained the words in context, we looked at the sex of the words (masculin or feminin) and changed the articles in front of the words(from une to la/ un to le, in case you were wondering). We drilled pronunciation, we practiced connecting sentences to make a diologue. The students rehearsed the diologue in pairs (yes, they actually did it!) and then several groups presented it to the class. We looked at articles again, then changed the articles and words from singular to plural. The children completed an exercise in their cahiers and I checked each students work. All, very impressively, in the short time period of forty minutes! Incredible! Where's my Teacher of the Year award? Where are the Students of the Year award? Just kidding :)