Wednesday, April 8, 2009

What do I think when I teach??!!!

OK, so Toni wants me to put a new post about my teaching. Yeh right, but now comes the question "Do I really know what I am doing?"
I teach French in a rural school (year 9 to 13) in New Zealand. French is an option and as you can imagine the community does not really see the point of learning a foreign language in NZ; and anyway we speak English in NZ and everybody speaks English in the world don't they??!!!
So it is a struggle for me to keep good effectifs. When I started in 2006 we had 2 year 9 and no year 13 because nobody wanted to carry on French. In 2009, we have 3 year 9 and one year 13 (OK only 5 kids but still!!!).
When I reflect on my teaching and that I look at what I am doing in the class, I would say that I concentrate on making my classes enjoyable. If the students enjoy my class they will work harder, and if they work harder they increase their chance of succeeding. If they succeed they will carry on French. So to make my classes enjoyable I try to vary the activities as much as possible. I love ICT as it is a fantastic tool for engaging students, but I also dance and sing heaps (with a funky plastic microphone) and I always make sure that students are pushed hard. I have really high expectations and I do not lower them down. One of my priorities is to always teach what the kids want me to teach even if it is not in the curriculum. It is sometimes more important to capture a student that is interested in " how is a day at school in France?" than force feeding him with "l'accord du COD place devant le verbe"!!! If you captured this child, if you have answered his questions, you might have captured him for the rest of the year. I am thinking right now about this girl N who is so out of her depth in French, but who is also so excited and she even gave me some easter chocolate!!!!!

So how do I teach???? What is my philosophy of teaching ( what a grown up word!!!)? Well I work hard to make my lessons enjoyable. Am I a clown in front of my class?? I'd say "Yep, all the time"



  1. That Toni sounds like a blog-bully :)

    I like reading about why other people teach and how they view their role in the classroom. I think it's really important to think about and sometimes we don't do it often enough as we get caught up in the busyness of day-to-day school.

    I think that the point you make about teaching even if it is not in the curriculum is interesting... I am wondering do you mean curriculum or assessment? - can you change the assessment to assess that which the kids are interested in? Or does your curriculum dictate the content which much be taught?

  2. I think you may have just captured a universal truth about learning. Interest >>> engagement >>> hard work >>> success... leads to... interest >>> engagement >>> hard work >>> success... ad infinitum.

    I also believe that teacher interest (in the material) has a big influence on student engagement. You're obviously passionate about what you do, but for some teachers that passion has waned. How can we give it back to them?

  3. Hi Florence
    I've just discovered your blog an really enjoyed the 'food' powerpoint resource. It's so encouraging that you have (a) stepped out to explore how you can integrate ICTs into your teaching this way, and (b) now taken the time to share what you've done so it can be an inspiration for other teachers. Thank you so much!!

  4. Flo, enjoyed reading your "how I teach" post! It is so totally new NZC! "What I teach" is no more! Hope your comments are read by many in the light of the CSD starting up in May! Let's make widely available!