When working as a Teaching Assistant in the Department of French and Italian at UCSB, I helped to develop and implement two French language courses.
The first was the adaptation of a Global Studies version of French 6, which is the final intermediate course in the French series at UCSB. I evaluated the 16 literature and culture sections used in the standard French 6 course (using the textbook Réseau), and then either created new sections or adapted the current ones in order to make them more pertinent to Global Studies students. This involved finding authentic texts suited both to the students’ reading level and to the lexical and syntactic material of the chapter; creating an introduction to the author and context of the text; and crafting activities suited for introducing the material, for pre-reading, for comprehension, and for interpretation. I taught this course in Spring 2015 and Spring 2016, and I have written two blog posts about this experience (here).
I developed the second course, Biological Topics in French (course website), in collaboration with the French Language Program Coordinator and the Chair of the French and Italian Department. The goal was to provide students studying French and the biological sciences with the discursive conventions necessary to communicate effectively with French-speaking professionals in their field. I taught this course as primary instructor in Fall 2017. As I had no experience with and very little knowledge of the biological sciences, the development of this course was challenging; however, I was able to exploit my knowledge in other domains to accommodate for this. My experience as a Reading Instructor had given me tools for enhancing students’ strategic competence in reading, which I was then able to adapt to the French language classroom. My previous teaching experience and my Education and Applied Linguistics studies helped me think of creative ways to capitalize on the students’ background knowledge in the classroom.
While it was a challenge to create authentic, approachable, and appropriate materials for these two courses, these experiences allowed me to practice finding and implementing materials that more effectively address the interests of my students, which is an important aspect of language teaching.