Special correspondent Caroline Winwood reports: I was delighted when I was awarded a grant by AISWA to attend an immersion course in Lyon facilitated by Nadine Fraise and Richard Tallaron.
We were shown practical exercises and activities to enthuse and motivate our students. The emphasis was on usable material rather than theoretical rhetoric. I would highly recommend this course to fellow teachers of French for the following reasons:
Total immersion means you can think nothing but French for the time of the course. An enormous opportunity to learn many new words and clear up points of confusion such as brun which means black when applied to describing hair.
It is a chance to compare the cultural differences between the French and the Australian way of life. This involved lots of cafe, sightseeing and shopping experiences, of course, but we were up to the task.
Lyon is a city of great interest, whose roots stretch back to before Roman times. There are three Roman ampitheatres and excellent museums. The Frères Lumière produced the first movies here. There is a rich history of the silk industry. The old quarter has a beautiful cathedral and there is an impressive basilica on a hill overlooking the town. One of our activities was to go on a treasure hunt around the city. Great fun.
Our presenters were very enthusiatic and dynamic in their presentation. One could easily see that their suggestions would aid us to make our classes motivating and fun. For example we learnt how to teach er verbs and the French alphabet, we learnt songs, comptines and tongue twisters as well as team games and puppetry.
There was a whole morning devoted to computer based activities such as how to use Google Earth to create a trip around the monuments of Paris.
We exchanged ideas and tips amongst each other and our fellow stagiares included a teacher from Finland and one from Ireland so it was a multinational experience.
Lyon is famous for its food and we had the opportunity to eat each night at a different restaurant including one of the famous bouchons which served typical Lyonnaise food such as quenelles, fois gras and andouille with Beaujolais and Cotes du Rhone wines.
There was a boules competition by the sunny banks of the Rhone river.
The course was divided into Primary and Secondary teachers so the material presented was tailored to our needs
At the end of the course we received 3 DVDs. One was a complete summary of the course, including songs and templates for games; the second was songs illustrated with words and pictures, whilst the third presented interactive exercises.
I could sum up the course as motivating, useful, interesting and above all great FUN. Thank you to AISWA for making it possible.
Don't hesitate-apply now for the 2014 course!! I am happy for teachers to contact me if they want to ask questions. Caroline.Winwood@sthildas.wa.edu.au
See also April in Lyon (and Paris).