Posted September 09, 2009
Building upon a long tradition of the Department of Romance Language’s involvement in local schools and other community groups, Katherine Dauge-Roth sought out a partnership with teachers from Mt. Ararat High School and Woodside Elementary School who wanted more opportunities for their students to speak and learn French.
As a result, her Intermediate French course included a community-based learning project to inspire a love of the French language as well as an interest in pursuing their studies in college among local elementary and high school students Bowdoin students in Intermediate French traveled weekly to the partner schools where they taught language and culture through a variety of creative activities, and conversed with kids in French. Then, a field trip back to the campus for the high school students at the end of the semester not only reciprocated the exchange, but helped demystify the college campus for students who lived close to it but had never visited.
Many students in local schools have Franco-American grandparents who spoke only French as children. Katherine hopes this project is one small way to help keep Maine’s rich Franco heritage alive.
“As educators we're always looking for ways to increase student engagement and to encourage our students to take greater ownership of the learning process. I don't know of another pedagogy that is a more powerful tool for achieving these ends than community-based learning.”