Sunday, October 20, 2013

Teaching Languages in a Star Trek World

Salut, mes poulettes!

As I wrote my professional growth plan tonight, I realized that my blogging has left something to be desired this last while. It has been a big transition year, as I had previously alluded. My husband has taken a new job this month, too – completing the process of our life overhaul.  It’s been a process, but we are beginning to settle into our new world, roles, schools and life at last.

I must, then, return to blogging, as it has made such a difference in my life. I have grown professionally by reading the blogs of others…and through being ready to hear the wisdom of teachers and administrator friends around the world. I admit, there was a certain arrogance I was ready to shed. A certain “I don't need help, I've got this all under control.” attitude. There is no room for a loner attitude when teaching a community. Once I shed that skin, I became receptive to the amazing treasure trove of information and wisdom that existed at my fingertips.

I have undertaken many new endeavors. I am teaching a Grade Six class, giving them the tools of The Leader in Me, and deeply considering my French pedagogy and how to REALLY make it meaningful for kids. In that light, these Professional Growth Plan questions really struck me as something I would like to share with you and get your opinion on.

I truly believe the greatest resource we could ever have as educators is one another, so I would love to hear from you either here at,  on my Twitter feed @mmepoulet , or via my professional e-mail, I am also on Google+ under this moniker.

Now, the questions, and my reflection upon them:

1. As an educator, what should I do more of?

Allow students to be leaders in general. Give students guidance on how to be creators in language and technology. Allow them leadership opportunities in speaking, reading, creating and sharing in the FSL and Language Arts classroom. Give students a strong model of lifelong learning in myself. Take the advice of other teachers pertaining to the use of tech and its propriety and efficacy in regards to fulfilling students’ needs.

Why? Kids are looking for ways to stand out, and in a world such as ours, with advances coming faster than we can possibly keep up with as educators, it is my responsibility to be as far on the cutting edge of students’ futures as I can possibly be in order to give them a chance at this world they will be creating in the future.  It is our mandate and our responsibility to create ethical, engaged and entrepreneurial citizens. In order to do so, we had better believe we can do this ourselves!

2. What should I do less of?

 I don't do too much of it, but maybe the “Chalk and Talk” teaching style. Perhaps less worksheet-based teaching, in FSL especially. I need to stop shying away from taking a risk with newer technologies. Teaching in an “island” way, where I believe that I don’t need (or am unable to get) others’ advice as a languages teacher. Pencil and paper activities as the crux of assessment, marking everything that I see “the old way.”

Why? Well, this is simply not the way that the world is headed. The way we have been doing things for the last 100 years or so is absolutely, necessarily gone. It is antiquated. It is unfair to our students. In order to be the educators of these future citizens, we need to dig our minds out of the past and step forth into this unknown world….and start paving the way for the adults of tomorrow.

We truly do have enormous shoes to fill…and we have no idea what awaits us at the next turn. If today, we are using such technology as Google Glass, and  is reporting on rollable cellphones coming this year, what is five years away? Ten? Eighteen? It really is mind-boggling.

Tomorrow, I am partaking in a French language PD about technology. This weekend, I head to the Second Languages and Intercultural Council's annual conference in Canmore, Alberta. They are a subgroup of the Alberta Teachers' Association, and are certain to teach me many ways to improve my tech savvy with students. I cannot wait to report back on my discoveries!

As for our journey into the 21st century way of doing things, well, to misquote  The Great Gatsby, "... we beat on, boats against the current, borne forth ceaselessly into the future.”

A la prochaine, mes amis,

Mme Poulet