Sorry, I don’t speak French…

… I mean I took French until Grade 12 but I never learned to speak. Everyone in my family is bad at French. Sound familiar? For decades, we’ve graduated students who’ve taken French for 9 -12 years who cannot for the life of them muster a basic conversation. If this was Math or Physics there would have been a public outcry! But it’s just French right? Everyone knows someone who is bad at French… Keep Calm Learn French

My action plan for past three years has focused on ways to transform FSL/FLE teaching so students can enter a high school program, and in 4 years be able to communicate in the language. I’ve taken a #PersonalizedLearning approach, and have given the students the opportunity to drive. I’ve experienced some success in engagement as students get to read, listen to, and talk about what interests them. I’ve also had some failures… students who want to sit back and learn passively, and those who don’t really know what they’re interested in or where to start from because they’ve never been given the opportunity – though that is changing rapidly as @timrollwagen, @aconnelly & @marsenault are fostering student agency in their courses.

I want to focus my energy on assessment. I think my assessments are good. We always focus on global audience and the students receive lots of feedback through conferencing and Google Docs but I think I can seriously bump them up. To this end I’ve made a concerted effort to learn and consolidate as much as I can on the subject.

In August, I participated in Jay McTighe‘s Designing Authentic Performance Tasks to Promote Meaningful Learning and Assess What Matters Most this summer at Havergal College. I’m lucky in that I hear about what @lmcbeth does in her classes on a regular basis but her incredible DocAppender & Forms presentation at the #GAFESummit at Greenwood College showed me ways in which to give real-time feedback to students in class via multiple forms, and keep my personalized learning environment in check. Most recently @jenbibby hosted a great #CISDELF conference where Keynote Speaker Denis Cousineau blew the socks off of everyone as he introduced #TransformingFSL and shared excellent assessment of FLE strategies and resources. This POCbrought all of my assessment learning into focus for FSL/FLE. And to top it off, a conversation around assessment in the staff room led to an excellent book suggestion by Joe McRae titled Quality Assessment in Hight Schools Accounts From Teachers by Anne Davies, Sandra Herbst & Kathy Busick.

So having had the holiday to really process everything I’ve been learning of late, I have my action plan.

How Might We design and implement authentic performance task and feedback structures to allow students to drive their own learning of a second language?

To this end, I have joined @timrollwagen & Joe McRae among others at Lakefield College to embark as a PLC on an exploration of assessment throughout the school.

So I’m good to go right? WRONG!! I was so impressed while hanging up the C21 How Might We action plan statements in The York School hallways, that I … COMPLETELY FORGOT to put mine up. I missed a huge opportunity to crowd source an incredibly talented group of educators, and for this I am terribly disappointed, but I’ve not given up!

I’m hoping you’ll consider using the comments as your sticky notes! Any ideas, resources, people to follow on Twitter or G+, Apps, etc… would be greatly appreciated!

Au plaisir de vous lire!

One Reply to “Sorry, I don’t speak French…”

  1. THIS is ME! I took french from SK to OAC and felt like I missed out on a lot of basic information because I had some not so great french teachers and only felt like we conjugated verbs (which for the life of me I can’t remember!). Having gone to France this past summer I was able to clear the cobwebs and was forced to speak french, something I seldom did even in school. IT WAS GREAT! I loved it! I found myself thinking about how I would ask certain things, I never felt this way in school, I hated speaking french because I didn’t I was good at it. Now I am a believer in french education and see the value as an adult that I never saw throughout those 14 years of school. I think this is great Derek, you are teaching students such a valuable skill that will serve them throughout their life… maybe I should take up piano lessons again???? Nah!

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