Role Reversal

So as you probably know by now this summer we are back in school! Since we’ve spent a week in role reversal of the rest of the year we thought we would share our thoughts about being back in the desks and what it helps to remind us about for our teaching.

Meaghan: This first week has reminded me of a couple important things… 1. I really love learning new things 2. It takes a lot of effort to push myself past my initial shyness in a group 3. I really really really HATE sitting in a desk for more than… Um…. 10 minutes?!
I think it’s been really important for me to be reminded what it’s like to be the one sitting in the desk instead of up front.

Karley: Like Meaghan said, the tiny little desks at UVic are brutal.  How did I sit still in one of those for seven years? HOW!? I first noticed my new found inability to sit still at a staff meeting this year; I could not get comfortable and had the hardest time focusing, whereas one short year ago I had no problem sitting and listening for hours and hours.  My LMF class has had limited opportunity to get up and move around during lessons and I’m finding this to be the greatest challenge so far.  As Meaghan mentioned, it’s easy to forget the element of comfort when teaching – this role reversal has been an excellent reminder about what it feels like to be a student in a tiny desk sitting and listening for hours on end.

*note: how do Meaghan and I cope with all this sitting still for the whole day business? We run.  Yesterday Meaghan ran 10km and I ran 8km. Check out one of our favourite running blogs (by Hungry Runner Girl) here!

Speedy new run shorts (and an excess of in class sitting time) helped me finish my 8k run last night!

Speedy new run shorts (and an excess of in class sitting time) helped me finish my 8k run last night!

Meaghan: So far we have been given a variety of opportunities to increase our French knowledge. Some of the best have been a hip hop workshop in French, a movie (subtitled), and the opportunity to explore some websites with music videos/news clips all in French. All of this is in addition to the regular lessons and classroom discussion and it definitely keeps it interesting! I think I want to try a once a month movie when I teach French next time I get to teach it. Also, Karley and I have already discussed doing a French teacher movie night so if you’re in the area and want to join let us know!

Karley: I agree that the ‘ip ‘op en Francaise was a fantastic experience.  As you all know, I taught middle school dance for six months this year, and I have an extensive dance/gymnastics history, so my enthusiasm for this Atelier (workshop) was already through the roof before we even started! Experiencing hip hop choreography in French reminded me that learning can happen in many different ways.  Learning kinesthetically in a different language is, in my opinion, one of the best ways to learn a new language because the learner is moving, listening, copying, questioning, confirming and perhaps even speaking a little bit.  The brain AND body is extremely active during the kinesthetic learning process which, for some learners (like me!), solidifies the entire educational experience. Check out our Facebook page here to see the video of our dance!

Meaghan: I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to be in the immersion environment (I didn’t do French immersion myself so it’s brand new). I can see the benefit to speaking French all the time and I am already starting to think in French more often. I would really like to find more ways to create an immersion environment in the FSL or Core French classroom. I like to keep the French class a place to really enjoy and explore French together but I need some suggestions to make the experience more immersive. Any ideas?

Karley: Like Meaghan, I also did not do French immersion in school. In fact, I didn’t do ANY French in school, so this whole French thing is very new to me.  I’m pleasantly surprised at how much I understand (about 80% of what’s being said).  That being said, my ability to reply to a question is lacking.  I am looking forward to improving my oral French in the weeks to come!

We would love to hear from you about your experiences being back on the “student” side of things.


4 thoughts on “Role Reversal

  1. I live on the “student” side of life daily with my husband, as he teaches me Afrikaans. Learning it is a challenge for me and it reminds me of what some of my students experience learning Spanish.

    The fact that consonants have different sounds than what I’m used to is befuddling at times, as I try to spell the words when I hear them. Reading Afrikaans requires me to “block out” (at times) what I know of other languages and see the words for what they are in Afrikaans.

    I’m blessed in that my hub has excellent teaching abilities, though he’s a writer.

    In fact, last night he did a whole set of parodies to a song called “Boobejann Klim die..” or Baboon climbs the…

    He shared them with me, and I guessed the words. I didn’t do so well, but the experience was a blast!

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