A Teaching Revelation

It has taken a long while, but I have finally figured out a way to teach our foreign language of choice, French, that keeps everybody happy - cooking classes. What could be more French than cooking classes, and why did I not think of this sooner? For some years I have been conducting occasional French classes along the lines of thoses I had at school - conversation, flashcards, puppets. None of which ever inspired any of the children at all really. We have fun little French soirees every few weeks with my French friend Em and her children, and they are much more successful, as she graciously puts up with us murdering her beautiful language. The Domestic Goddess always cooks something deliciously French for these occasions, and one day when pressed for time, we cooked and practised our French at the same time. Sudden interest! Children diving for the dictionary and our French recipe book to look up cooking terms. The four year old suddenly producing entire French phrases. We talk about the ingredients, and measurements, we ask for things politely, and count and sing as we stir. And nobody is whining at all!

Maybe the difference is changing from passive to active learning; maybe it is not having me as teacher, but all of us as fellow learners; maybe it is because cooking is fun and sitting still being told stuff is not. Whatever, it works, and we all know the definition of true happiness is a half hour with absolutely no whining.


Anonymous said…

I am not sure I gave you my correct email address the other day.

Please try this one
jungle_mama at live dot com dot au

And I love your idea about how to teach French. The boys here "play" with a Rosetta Stone CD with about 12 languages. So far we don't know any one language very well but it is fun.

Best wishes
Jen in NSW
Jo said…
Hey Jen, thanks for the email address. I think it is important for children to realise that there are other languages, even if they are not learning one in particular. That can sometimes be a radical enough concept in Australia's monocultural country towns!
Anonymous said…
Good idea Jo! We are having to learn french as well, i never thought of cooking either, but you have to count, and use manners...and half an hour of no whingeing is bliss!!
Love Manni x
Jo said…
Manni, I am completely jealous of your reason for learning French. I am sure our French would improve no end if we were going to live in France for a year...happy cooking et bon appetit!

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