Reflection Journal #2
I feel that since the beginning of this course, I have demonstrated growth with FSL and I am developing my knowledge to meet the challenges of teaching FSL. Like I expressed in my first reflective journal, I have a well-developed pedagogy regarding my teaching practices that is applicable to all topics. Strategies that include addressing differential learning, philosophies of assessment of and for learning, modeling life-long learning and its processes, and creating and establishing a safe and inclusive classroom that supports student growth and development. My lack of personal proficiency with French is still my greatest challenge. My action plan for improving my language from the first reflection consisted of incorporating an online learning resource, and learning alongside my daughter as she begins learning French next year. Currently, the most effective language learning I have experienced has been using the website Duolingo, which is a free language learning website. The website is easy and fun to use and has gained a positive repetition in learning different languages. Duolingo is excellent in developing vocabulary through scaffolding and repetition, providing clear translations, evaluating student’s enunciation, and immediate assessment feedback. I am also still planning on learning alongside my daughter as she begins learning French next year. This will allow both of us the opportunity to be active learners while we practice speaking, writing, and playing games to improve our French. One strategies that I feel will also be beneficial in my development is to create French flashcards. I have had much success in the past using flashcards for other subjects, and I feel that this strategy will contribute to my success.
This course has been a very positive learning experience, and I feel that we have been exposed to a variety of learning strategies. I feel that the instructor and students have modelled excellent learning strategies such as the instructor acting more of a facilitator promoting discovery based learning. Barb Henderson, the guest speaker from the Surrey School District gave an excellent lesson focusing on the Neurolinguistic Approach to learning a second language. She explained the importance of building the student’s ability to communicate, and this is achievable with implicit competence along with explicit knowledge. I related to Barb’s lesson in how she described the old ways of teaching a second language would focus on vocabulary, verb conjugation, and grammar rules. This is how I recalled being taught a second language twenty years ago. I did not feel this was an effective way of teaching because it did not offer the students the opportunity to develop their oral communication. When Barb was going through her PowerPoint presentation, I felt that ‘Aha’ moment. She was discussing the five principles of the Neurolinguistic Approach and the first approach was focusing on the creation of implicit competence. She described how teachers should focus more on interactive activities and reduce the amount of vocabulary and structures being taught. Furthermore, the concept that learning an oral language is learned best in the context of a conversation. Another principle from the Neurolinguistic Approach that I made a connection with was the Literacy-based pedagogy. Barb explained that literacy is essentially being able to use the language, and in the hierarchy of the pedagogy was that oral language proceeded reading and reading proceeded writing. This is the reason that when FSL is being taught that language and conversation is so important to the student’s development. I also feel that this promotes student interest and allows for real life connections.
As an FSL teacher, I envision using strategies that have been effective with my own learning of French. First of all, I feel that it should be taught in a safe and inclusive classroom. This is paramount because students will feel safe to take risks and to learn from their mistakes. Second, I feel that it should be fun and interesting for the students. Lessons should be planned that promotes collaboration, real life connections, and includes kinesthetic activities. Also, I see the value of providing many opportunities to practice their language with high intensity and short durations. The most effective language learning has always occurred through active processes versus passive.
In conclusion, I feel that I have made gains with my FSL and I must continue with this journey of developing my personal proficiency. I recognize that through this course, I must make learning fun, interesting, and promote real life connections. Lesson should be high intensity for a short durations that focuses on more interactive activities. They should also focus on developing oral communication and is best learned in the context of a conversation. As my own proficiency improves, I will be in a better position to use complete sentences and to correct student errors.