Varied Activities and Materials
I teach to get energy and immediacy flowing through the class. I favor activities that make students engage each other's ideas or practice new skills as a learning community. I lend each class its own rhythm by incorporating warmups, group or pair work, explanation, and discussion. I address diverse learning styles by introducing variety in the form of overviews, targeted exercises, games, drama, simulations, and debates. I keep things lively and relevant by including films, songs, photos, and maps. I find real situations to confront so that students better integrate new material and draw on their background knowledge. I assign reading questionnaires so that discussion relates to their ideas. When I perceive a need for extra materials, I make them, for example coursepacks that wed primary and secondary sources to learning outcomes, and multimedia such as a resource bank of TV series excerpts that add authenticity when addressing cultural trends.
I am devoted to thinking about course style and content and always trying to improve. I read student evaluations carefully to see what lessons students preferred, and keep track of assignment formats to fine-tune those that are most effective. I put considerable effort into making students feel comfortable. I use Moodle to post essential resources and to make expectations transparent. Mapping out course aims and activities allows for reuse of content within a stable, adaptable structure. I have had particular success using technology to amplify effective pedagogical practices with my "French through Songs" educational website, which averages 40,000 hits per month from an international audience. I also invite colleagues to visit my classes and provide feedback. My participation since 2012 in Southwestern University's Quality Enhancement Program (QEP), via its "Representing Gender" cluster, involves monthly collaboration on reflective teaching across disciplines.
Challenging, Motivating Courses
My goals include staying in touch with student interests and with the evolution of French and Francophone language, culture, and society. I remain current in several fields through conferences, professional memberships, and listserves. I implement courses where students expand their knowledge, discover other cultures in depth, and intensively practice skills. As a teacher and mentor, I balance academic rigor with a relaxed atmosphere and use professional development experiences to further my own lifelong learning, for instance a 2013 ADFL Summer Seminar, a 2007 ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview Assessment Workshop, and a 2008 AATF Summer Seminar in Switzerland and Belgium. Drawing on this background strengthens French Program outcomes, from sharpening students' intercultural knowledge to guiding them toward French Teaching Assistantship scholarships (2006, 2007, 2008, 2012, 2013) and graduate school placements. In sum, I empower students to analyze issues across methodologies, to appreciate multiple perspectives, to articulate a complex understanding of cultural differences, and to apply what they learn toward helping others in turn.