Towela Okwudire, Director and Adult Educator, French LIT.
“The other thing was the travel in part that I recommend to them because there needs to be some movement, there needs to be a little bit of nature, we have to get outside of the classroom. So I was trying to see what are those little things that a parent does or a teacher does with a young learner for language generation to happen. When are my adults actually, finally, picking up language? Many times, it was not in the classroom. So it had to go a little bit beyond that. I had to find ways to help them make French somehow bigger than that.” Towela Okwudire, Director and adult Educator at French Lit.
Towela speaks about how important it is for teachers to understand and cater to their students’ needs and language acquisition goals. At French Lit. Towela and other instructors work to build a teaching and learning environment that encourages authentic language learning by using active learning practices. Turuk states, “Language learning must be taught in a way that is “meaningful and relevant to the individual” (2008, p. 247). Towela also speaks about how important it is for language educators to consider time, place, and space when organizing their classes.
When thinking about language acquisition, Towela speaks about language learning that immerses the learner within the culture of the language they are trying to acquire. At French Lit., this is done by creating an environment that resembles a French cafe. French Lit. also does this by hosting movie nights. Towela sees movies as great multimodal literary pieces that communicate various cultural aspects as well as authentic language usage. Cope and Kalantzis’s (2009) thinking resonate with this pedagogical approach: “The logic of Multiliteracies is one which recognizes that meaning-making is an active, transformative process, and pedagogy based on that recognition is more likely to open up viable life courses for a world of change and diversity” (p. 10).
Towela explains that French as an Additional Language adult educators must also allow adult language learners to make mistakes, question, and explore all dimensions of the new language they are learning.
Here is a link to French Lit. to learn more about this unique approach to language learning: https://www.frenchlit.org/
Rachel White, Adult Learner, French LIT.
Rachel talks about the free movie nights offered at French Lit. to build community: “We watched a couple of movies by Dany Boon, which I have never heard of before. He acts in his movies as well as makes the movies. So even just learning about him and the kind of movies that he makes was helpful to me for learning about French humour and French phrases and slang and things like that I would not necessarily normally know about.” Rachel White
Typically, Rachel describes herself as a self-taught learner, using more traditional methods of learning French through textbooks, repetition, and rote memorization. She highlights a learning experience that was very different than this traditional method that she gravitates towards. One example of a new strategy used to teach French through French Lit. included an auditory challenge involving listening to the Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC) Radio Canada in French, and through incrementally increasing spending short time frames actively listening to radio programs and comprehending what is being said.
According to Bainbridge, Heydon & Malicky (2009), “sometimes we read our way into understanding, sometimes we talk ourselves into understanding, and sometimes we write ourselves into understanding” (pg. 225). This experience involving the interaction of auditory technology in language learning allowed Rachel to reach a much deeper cognitive challenge and meaningful experience. When adult educators are able to provide different learning opportunities, they are able to help enable adult learners to reach deeper levels of understanding when opening up to different experiences that may be outside of their usual comfort zone. Listen to Rachel comment on her experiences below.
Enjoy exploring this link for French Lit. in Windsor, Ontario: https://www.frenchlit.org/