Hello, everyone! My name is Raquelle Bostow, and this is my third year serving as a Graduate Student Affiliate in the Center for Second Language Studies. I am a graduate student in the Department of French and Italian, where I work on French feminism. While this is only my second year teaching, I have already fallen in love with the experience of generating relationships and conversation within the foreign language classroom. Currently, I teach introductory French courses, which cover everything from the present to subjunctive tenses and incredible amounts of vocabulary and culture.
Inside my classroom, I like to create a relaxed and respectful atmosphere where all classroom participants speak almost uniquely in the target language. Everyday students are engaged in writing, listening, reading and speaking activities and are required to move around, converse with classmates as well as the teacher, and practice structures. This year, my department is implementing the “Flipped Classroom” method of teaching, which requires students to teach the material to themselves at home in order to come to class and practice vocabulary and structures. Thus, there is a huge emphasis on communication. I have already noticed an increase in the amount of verbal exchange in my classroom!
Culture finds its way into my classroom in various ways. Each class starts out with a YouTube video of a francophone artist, allowing the students to jump right into the target language mindset. In order to discover more about French culture, I have students use Twitter, Google maps, and various French websites. In addition to these technologies, I love the Prezi platform as a way to put together cultural and linguistic presentations for my students. Overall, my largest goals for my students are that they become motivated, empowered and enthusiastic about their language acquisition experience, that they discover how using a foreign language is relevant to their own life, either through personal or professional interests, and that they understand and appreciate francophone sociocultural norms while acquiring cultural literacy in the target language.
So, bonjour and bienvenue, and I look forward to the conversations that this CSLS blog engenders!