Independent Study

A few weeks ago I was looking at my memories of past years on Facebook and I saw a few things I had written in French while I was away in Shippigan for a 2 week course to improve my French. I’ve taken a few courses since then, nothing as intense, and I do make an effort to speak to my colleagues in French as much as possible at school but I felt like my French hadn’t improved enough to justify taking my oral evaluation again. The last time I took it was just after I got back from Shippigan. I got Advanced which is good but I want to have Advanced Plus as it may be able to open a few more doors for me in terms of jobs. Reading these older statuses and seeing that there were a few mistakes in the grammar made me think that it is possible my French has improved since then so I am going to make another attempt.

I got an e-mail today giving me a date and time next week to call the evaluator. I wish it was still done in person instead of over the phone, though it will be nice to be able to have a few notes in front of me and to be able to walk around while I talk but I prefer being able to see people when I talk to them.

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To get ready for this evaluation, I’ve been listening to French talk radio in the car for the past few weeks and looking up a few phrases but not doing much in terms of preparation. Now that I have a deadline though, I’ve upped my preparation. I found all my French books and dictionaries to read through, I put some French music on Spotify and wandered around the house talking to myself about various topics that they might ask about. I realized I don’t know very many theatre terms in French so I spent about an hour on translation sites looking for the correct terms for things like stage manager, sound board, chorus, and set. Some, like fly operator, I couldn’t find.

Doing research, study, learning in general can be challenging without a goal I find. If I’m interested in a subject, I’ll look up some information and read a bit but unless I have a use for that information, I rarely go in depth into it. For example, if I’m reading something on facebook about a scientific discovery, I might crosscheck one other site if I’m interested in the topic, but if I am going to teach about that scientific discovery or if I have a friend who is really interested in that topic who I know would like to talk about it indepth, I might do more digging. It’s the same with learning or improving a language. I enjoy French. I like being able to speak it and understand it fairly well but without a clear incentive to improve my French I’ve been fairly content to just be happy with the level I’m at. I think this is also true of students. They need to see why the information is important and why it is beneficial for them to learn and practice whatever we are teaching them, otherwise the learning is going to be superficial.

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