Confession time! As you probably know, I am anglophone. I grew up speaking English, in an English household, in an English community. I fell in love with the French language in the sixth grade and never looked back, but I was taught completely in English up until grade seven. (In grade six, I had the most amazing Core French teacher who completely opened my eyes to the French language and got me so excited to give learning a second language a go!) Everything I was taught about reading, grammar, etc. as a child was in English. Now that I am teaching 5-year-olds en français, I have to be sure I am teaching them the right things. Most things are pretty evident, but not all! For example... syllables! English and French have different rules about syllables and when to divide a word into parts/how many parts are in a word. Most of my students come from English-speaking homes as well, so I wanted to be sure I understood the rules correctly before trying to teach them. And,...
Has this ever happened to you in maternelle? It's September, and your kindergarten students know pretty much nothing about being in school. You're bustling about trying to teach them how to properly use scissors and open their lunch boxes... forget about learning to read and write! At the beginning of the year in maternelle, it can feel like you are putting out fires and running around like a chicken with its head cut off. Our main goal is to keep everyone happy, alive, and in one piece! I've always struggled with letting go of the idea of jumping right into learning. We have so much to cover, and so little time! Plus, what in the world do you even DO with these 20 five-year-olds if you don't start teaching right away?! I don't like wasting time. Spending all of September and October learning how to walk in a line and use a glue sponge can feel like a waste of time sometimes, even though I *know* it's an important and crucial investment. But...
A few weeks ago, I was speaking with a friend of mine who teaches in another school board. (We both teach en français, but I teach with the francophone board, whereas she is teaching French immersion with an anglophone board). We both teach maternelle, and so we experience many of the same experiences and frustrations. Even though my students have French heritage, most of them do not speak French at home, so it can be challenging for them to reach our expectations and outcomes. Our outcomes assume that they DO speak French, and fluently. One difficulty my friend and I both share is that even though lots of our students can't really speak French yet, we are still expected to teach them how to read. Guy. I don't know if you know this, but... You can't read if you can't speak! It feels so silly to me that we are expecting our students to LEARN TO READ (aka use all THREE types of clues - visual, structure, and sense) when they can't even speak yet. Ho...