It's a long way from Nancy, France to Eaglesham, Alberta, but thanks to a teacher job shadowing opportunity, the gap has lessened considerably for two teachers.
Last spring, Eaglesham teacher Fiona Logan spent two weeks in Nancy, France, learning and sharing best practices in second language pedagogy while improving her French language skills. This month, Ms. Logan welcomed her partner teacher, Anne Pardieu, to Canada for two weeks.
While in France, Ms. Logan and Mme. Pardieu collaborated to enhance their respective French and English classes. The pair created a Google community to establish active communication and sharing activities between their Grades 3 and 4 students.
The opportunity was the result of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Nancy-Metz region in France, signed last year by Lesley Doell, Executive Director at the French Language Resource Centre in Grande Prairie. Under the agreement, three Peace-region teachers job shadowed teachers in France, while bringing their home classrooms together by way of virtual Google classrooms. The program also provides opportunities for student exchanges. Peace Wapiti Public School Division (PWSD) is the banker board for the French Language Resource Centre which oversees the enhancement of French education for seven school divisions, including PWSD, and six partner organizations.
Aside from the direct benefit experienced by their Grades 3 and 4 classes, Ms. Logan and Mme. Pardieu say the program has had a positive impact on all students and teachers at Eaglesham School.
"By connecting with students in France, the activities that I typically do with my students gained new authenticity," says Ms. Logan, who also hosted Mme. Pardieu at her home in Eaglesham. "My students were excited to share aspects of their lives with students in France. There was also a definite benefit for our students to be able to speak with native French speakers about real situations."
"As a teacher, it was helpful to spend time in another classroom," says Mme. Pardieu. "We were able to share new techniques and resources, but at the same time, see how similar our educational environments actually are."
Mme. Pardieu and Ms. Logan have connected their respective English and French curricula and students of various ages in a number of unique ways. In March, Mme. Pardieu's Grade 4 class will participate in France's annual newspaper appreciation week, Semaine de la Presse et des Médias, and will conduct interviews with senior high students at Eaglesham School for their newspaper.
Mme. Pardieu, who returned to France on February 20th, says her experience at Eaglesham School has engaged not just her Grade 4 class in France, but also the entire student body and staff. Although her students are currently on holiday, they have been regularly checking Mme. Pardieu's blog which details her experiences at Eaglesham: http://eamaz.ovh.
Photo Captions: Mme. Anne Pardieu with the Grades 3 and 4 class at Eaglesham School.
Fiona Logan (right), a French teacher at Eaglesham School, with Anne Pardieu (centre), an English teacher from Nancy, France, and Principal Terry Pattison (left). The teachers participated in a second language teacher exchange program in April, 2015 and Feburary, 2016.