L'Instant du Mentorat
So we have been working hard on our project, finding ways to implement inquiry-based learning in our Extended French as a Second Language classrooms.
This has always been a problem of practice we have encountered, and we have been delighted to have time and money to take a long hard look at what can be done to make it work. My partner and I are great believers in inquiry-based learning, and we are also passionate about helping students learn to communicate in their second language. This means, for example, that having students do research in English and type it all in to Google Translate, doesn't work for us. It may be inquiry-based, but it doesn't help them become more fluent in their second language. Likewise, standing in front of the class and giving them endless vocabulary lists and grammar sheets, while it may foster a greater understanding of the language, is no longer considered good pedagogy. So how can we help them learn what they want to learn, share how they want to share, all when they can't read or write or speak very well?
We have come up with some great ideas, but the theme that has come out time after time is keep it small. Smallify being the applicable verb. Cut things into small chunks and the kids can handle it. Celebrate the small wins. Accept that the learning goal is something that is, perhaps, somewhere off in the distance, but that there are smaller goals that can be reached along the way - like they do in Kindergarten. Smallify...
It's been a great, great experience to take the time to read the research, reflect on our practice, and really take a look at what is working in our classrooms and what is not. I look forward to sharing more details of our project with all of you!!