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Service-learning: Teaching a foreign language from Kindergarten through College Frédérique Grim Colorado State University Frederique.Grim@colostate.edu CLAC 2008 What is service-learning?

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service learning teaching a foreign language from kindergarten through college

Service-learning: Teaching a foreign language from Kindergarten through College

Frédérique Grim

Colorado State University

Frederique.Grim@colostate.edu

CLAC 2008

what is service learning
What is service-learning?
  • Both a pedagogy and an activity in which students perform a community service as part of their academic coursework (Gascoigne, 2001)
  • An opportunity for service while putting students directly in the midst of the learning process (Terry and Bohnenberger, 2007)
  • A way “to provide a service to members of their communities by allowing them to apply theoretical knowledge to practical situations” (Overfield, 1997)
what is service learning 2
What is service-learning? (2)
  • Experiential education (developing learning and teaching through concrete applications),
  • Academic achievement and course objectives that are linked to community service (profiting the community, the students and the teachers),
  • Ongoing and effective reflection (increasing awareness of educational aspect),
  • Overall goal of citizenship (increasing awareness of community needs).

(Goldberg, McCormick Richburg and Wood, 2006)

benefits for service learning
Benefits for service-learning
  • Facilitates effective content teaching,
  • Encourages students to reflect on their experience
  • Gives a deeper understanding and a concrete application of the content learned in class
  • Increases the level of students’ critical thinking
  • Teaches independence in the real world, and provides students with a valuable experience

(Goldberg et al., 2006; McKenna & Rizzo, 1999)

slide5

Research with FL

  • Very little research on FL service-learning
  • Very few FL learners involved in service-learning courses (Grassi, 2003)
  • Contextualized the L2 by bringing cultural meaning and practicality in the center (Enos and Troppe, 1996)

→ Foreign Language National Standards (ACTFL)

slide6

Research with FL

  • Elem. school child grouped with HS student (both learning Spanish) and Hispanic senior citizen;
  • To share activities for at least a semester (e.g. weekly outings, meals, shopping);
  • Communicative skills learned in class, practiced with community partner;
  • Growth in sense of social responsibilities and in their use of Spanish;
  • In return, provide attention to community partner;
  • Senior citizens were able to bond with younger minds

(Shrier, 1996)

slide7

Research with FL

  • 13 students of Spanish (8 in 2nd semester and 5 in 3rd semester College Spanish courses);
  • Worked with a newly-arrived Cuban colony;
  • Partnership with a migrant and participation in small trips (movie night, art gallery visit, Latin American festival);
  • Encouragement for students
  • Ease migrants’ integration

(Overfield, 1997)

slide8

Research with FL

  • In the Teacher Education FL Methods course
  • To provide real teaching experience at K-12 levels
  • 4 hrs/week for 14 weeks, by tutoring or teaching mini-lessons in Fr., Germ or Span. lang. and culture
  • Creation of own lessons
  • Benefits:
    • first-hand experience
    • application of concepts learned in class
    • lesson plan development for true purpose
    • facilitation of the transition to student teaching
    • children exposure to a foreign language and culture

(Gascoigne Lally, 2001)

slide9

Programs with FL

  • Most projects in FL on
    • health care,
    • translation,
    • migrant education programs,
    • summer camps,
    • elementary schools,
    • Hispanic achievement,
    • social services,
    • community services
  • Spanish students can be exposed to many different opportunities (Mollica, Nuessel and Cedeño, 2004)
slide10
But…
  • What about other languages than Spanish?
  • What are opportunities for FL students to be involved in their community?
research questions
Research questions
  • How does service-learning impact College learners of French

a. On personal learning motivation?

b. On community children?

c. On professional aspirations?

project description
Project Description
  • Teachers = Colorado State University students enrolled in French classes

(with at least one semester of French)

  • Students = preschools-Grade 6

from Fort Collins, CO public and private schools

  • 2 semesters of volunteerism → pilot

Subsequent semesters → service-learning

  • Grants (AATF, CCFLT, CSU service-learning)
project description 2
Project Description (2)
  • CSU students:
    • 24 students in fall 2006
    • 16 students in spring 2007
    • 20 students in fall 2007
    • 17 students in spring 2008
    • 27 students in fall 2008

TOTAL = 104

  • 7-11 schools each semester
  • ~ 450 children involved since fall 2006
goals
Goals
  • Encouraging French use in authentic situations;
  • Show ability to use French outside of the classroom;
  • Giving confidence in oral skills;
  • Benefits others through use of French;
  • Giving valuable teaching experience;
  • Strengthening of résumés
impacts motivation
Impacts: motivation

Question 1:

“Yes, it has. Intuition-based questions – the kind most asked by children – provided me the opportunity to thoughtfully reexamine and introspect on my own language apprehension and retention patterns.” A.

“Yes, I’ve done a lot of review of vocabulary that I don’t use very often. Also having to explain things to the kids helped solidify my understanding.” J.

slide16

Question 2:

“I have loved teaching the preschoolers. It’s the highlight of my week, so it has motivated me to continue with French and Education.” R.

“ Yes. There’s a certain amount of motivation that comes with young children, who start learning French with nothing and succeed, that prompts me to drive myself to learn more” A.

“Yes, it was a really fun way to use the language. It actually felt like French was useful to me.” J.

“ This experience has definitely been a great motivation for furthering my learning of the French language and culture.” M.

impact children
Impact: children

“Not only did the experience demonstrate the difference between the cultures, but it also showed them similarities and the connections they could make to the French language, country, and culture.” M.

“Maybe not significant, because they only used French for a few minutes once a week. But I think it encouraged some of them to study French more, maybe in Middle School.” T.

“Yes, by the end, the kids were able to have short conversations with each other in French.” J.

slide18

“Absolutely. Children who spoke not a word of it on day can now converse in simple terms and an appreciation for this language’s origin comes with it.” A.

“ No. I only taught 10 half hour sessions. I think it takes much more exposure to a foreign language for a significant impact to take place.” G.

impact professional aspirations
Impact: professional aspirations

“I’m not necessarily more motivated to study French but I am motivated to pursue a career choice away from teaching” G.

“I am more interested in this age group and the Waldorf philosophy.” R.

“It did help, but it made me realize I’d like to teach older kids.” T.

“This opportunity has provided a lot of great experience regarding education and has made me consider teaching French as an option. I really liked the creative aspect.” M.

goals accomplished
Goals accomplished?
  • Encouraging French use in authentic situations
  • Show ability to use French outside of the classroom
  • Benefits others through use of French
  • Giving confidence in oral skills
  • Giving valuable teaching experience
  • Strengthening of résumés

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

is it still worth it
Is it still worth it?
  • Very time consuming for organizer and students
  • Beginning of semester
    • Often slow with students
    • With programmatic issues
  • Need of teaching material – grants
  • Children won’t remember very much
yes because
Yes, because…
  • Appreciation for a language (in particular French  )
  • Memories will stay
  • In contact with college students
    • motivation for pursuing higher-education studies
    • Influence from older figures
  • Fun for all
  • Great social and mental experience for our students
  • Appreciation for teaching
  • Community involvement
  • CV booster
  • Might be the solution to prepare K-6 licensure in FL
merci

Merci!

Questions?