24 Hours of French—Wow!

Today marks the first full day of immersion for students at the French Academy.

June 30, 2016

Here at the French Academy, students are exposed to awareness.

The purpose of education, as defined by J. Krishnamurti—a renowned author and speaker on humanitarian matters—is to, “Think freely, without fear, without a formula, so that you begin to discover for yourself what is real and what is true.”

This notion is epitomized in and out of the classroom at St. Michael’s College at the Summer Language Academies. The teachers here do not simply encourage educational and global awareness, they advocate for it. In doing this, they enable their students to discover themselves—and then in the process, discover the world around them.

Today, French Academy students hopped right into their daily schedule, which started with morning classes. Although not every class was the same, there was nonetheless a central theme throughout many levels: expression.

Students were taught expressional phrases, such as: happiness, sadness and worry. For the more advanced speakers, they were encouraged to apply the new phrases into day-to-day scenarios that the students may encounter.

In the midst of learning about expressional vocabulary, other classes were learning about international understanding and awareness, and then analyzing how these international matters correlate with traditional differences across the globe.

The classes, specifically, honed in on Francophone countries. Discussions arose about how they compare and contrast with France, and other French-speaking countries.

Additionally, one class presented projects on “Object Poems,” which they made the day before. These poems are read through the images that appear on a posterboard; furthermore, no words are allowed to be placed on the poster boards. By doing this, students were able to create poems in a unique way that allows them to interpret it in whatever way they want—there was no single “correct” way to analyze them.

Another class of students, as said yesterday, presented theatrical monologues for their peers and teacher, Monsieur Davis. In these humorous monologues, students developed their own original, unique approach to an internal struggle people face from time-to-time, and then acted it out.

These internal struggles ranged from broken hearts to a fear of spiders—and even, forgetting to do a teacher’s homework. Is there a bit of foreshadowing in that…?

Afterwards, the schedule followed like usual: lunchtime and then cultural exploration classes.

In one of today’s cultural exploration classes, students had the opportunity to dive into the future tense of verbs, as they wrote letters to their future selves—at the end of the Academy—on what they’re going to accomplish in the upcoming weeks.

Here’s the construction they used, which is otherwise known as the “futur proche”: Subject (Je) + conjugated verb “to go” (aller) + unconjugated verb (what it is they’ll accomplish)

For example, here’s what one of the sentences could have looked like, “Je vais penser seulement en Français par la fin de l’Académie.”

This translates to, “I’m going to think only in French by the end of the Academy.”  

Once the construction was learned, students engulfed themselves in writing their letters, detailing all that they are going to accomplish during the course of their four weeks here at the French Academy.

In addition to this one, another cultural exploration class was available to students; in this course, students gathered in a circle around a large tree and learned more about expressing one’s emotions.

Students were asked to start off their statements with “Je me sens…,” which is French for: “I feel…”

Then, they would complete their statements and move on to the next person in the circle. Similarly to many classes, this activity’s primary focus was on expressional phrases and how to properly use them.

On the other hand, one cultural exploration class taught students about living abroad and the difficulties that can sometimes come with this decision. Home sicknesses was cited as one of the most common side effects people experience when they travel abroad for long periods of time.

Shortly after dinner, students seemed exhausted (rightfully so and in a good way!) from a long day of learning—but more notably, from their first day of full immersion!

So, as far as Day Two goes: that’s a wrap!

The Daily Grind