From FAIS Middle School French Track teachers Angélique Cansse & Marion Rosier (French) and Spanish Track teacher Gloria Widdows
Sixth graders in the French, and Spanish tracks recently reflected on their own language learning, and on how communities of various backgrounds can be brought together by languages.
Students in the French track studied the francophone world and the rising of the French language in the upcoming years, especially in Africa. They learned how the OIF (Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie) coordinates cooperation and actions within its 88 participating countries. Students also focused on one specific country where French is spoken, in order to put together a short study. They could appreciate how languages enrich a culture, and they also understood that learning and speaking one or more languages encourage not only communication and connections, but also tolerance.
Students in the Spanish track studied how Spanish can be different in different countries, including the use of words, and pronunciation. Especially how there is a way to talk in Spain and how different it is in Latinoamerica. They learned to understand why and how one language can change in different countries and cultures. They also learned to appreciate being able to learn different languages and that would give them more opportunities in the future.
Their common summative assessment addressed these inquiries:
- How is a language connected to a culture?
- How does the study of your language of immersion help in creating international consciousness?
- What role does this language play in your personal life
- What languages does Gilkey offer, and if we could add another language, which one would you recommend and why?
- What does it mean to you to be a student in an international school and how will it help you in your future?
Teachers were impressed by the level of maturity that students expressed in their assessments. Many languages were considered as a possible addition to the Gilkey programme. Every suggestion was supported by thought out and powerful arguments. Students' suggestions were diverse and ranged from Latin to Farsi, Hindi, Arabic, Russian, or Japanese.
Teachers selected the articles that they thought represented the best the spirit and the overall goal of the unit.