First I would like to thank the NZAFT for this great opportunity.
When I arrived at Auckland University I was very pleased to see that there were language teachers from around the world. It is encouraging to see that teachers from each corner of the globe is dedicated enough to come so far for a conference and also it is encouraging for our students to see that their teachers are thinking about teaching and learning.
Sometimes you go to a conference and among great stuff there is something exceptional which is going to change the way you teach. On the first day of the conference there was a moment like that. While I was listening to a teacher from Japan, he showed us a cartoon. This cartoon changed my life (as a teacher).
This teacher has asked his class at the beginning of the year to draw their German class. I could not believe what I saw.
The students are drawn in what I believed to be a typical 1960’s class. The teacher was at the front of the class with a giant frown sitting at her desk. The rest of the class was sitting behind their desks facing the teacher. Some students were even drawn sleeping.
Then at the end of the year -using TBL as a learning method- he asked the same students to draw their language class. This was a different story- or should I stay cartoon.
The teacher on the second cartoon was nowhere to be found. Students were sitting facing each other and were actually drawn having conversations. The desks were put every where in the room instead of being aligned like on an army camp.
Like Bridget Jones when she realises that she has to change, that point of the conference is when I realised I HAD to change learning in our French class.
I do not want to be the frowny teacher at the front of the class, I want instead the students to have conversations in French and enjoy the ride.
Now the big question is how to manage this shift ?