0044 - Newsletter Vol. 5

Department of Languages Newsletter    Vol. 5 - October 2001

La Troupe des Etudiants Extraordinaires:

Dramatically wonderful!

In September 2000, French 3811/ Oral Expression through Drama, was offered for the first time at Lakehead. This experimental course using dramatization and group dynamics was designed to improve oral communication skills (fluency, enunciation, rhythm of speech), creative expression and self-confidence in the use of the target language.
Our first class was small, but the students eager. During the first half of the course, they worked on their diction, reciting poetry and stumbling through tonguetwisters. They worked on skits, taking turns acting and directing. Most skits were improvised and many French language skills had to be summoned in order to achieve a coherent, and often hilarious, performance.
In January came the task of choosing a play that was to be presented by the end of the academic year. We settled on Eugene Ionesco's Exercices de conversation et de diction pour étudiants américains. Ionesco had written this nonsensical play about the meanders of life and language as a possible textbook for American students of French. It seemed to be appropriate for our first performance. Thus began eight weeks of rehearsal... and language acquisition.
The hard work has paid off in many ways:
Noticeable improvement in French diction was found. The "final exam" was not to be spent facing a blank, but indifferent page, or a teacher too often immune to language violations - the public was to be the arbiter. Among the French-speaking audience, some came from France, some were Franco-Ontarians, most were accustomed to linguistic quality. It was imperative for the actors to strive for such quality, as the essence of the play, with its many nuances of the language, its puns and comments, simply had to be conveyed.
As the students worked on Ionesco's work, focussing on stage directions and memorizing lines, their syntactic and grammatical performance improved steadily during the many and lively spontaneous exchanges that took place in class. Klassen, the author of the Monitor theory, would have explained the phenomenon by suggesting that their "monitor", that little voice that prevents many students from speaking a foreign language for fear of making mistakes, was silenced. They were relaxed, attentive to a different form of language production and, naturally, they acquired higher skills in French.
As far as the audience was concerned, we believe it was an enjoyable experience. First year students who attended were able to witness work done by graduating students, something that the Department would like to encourage. Faculty members obtained further proof that drama is indeed a very efficient teaching tool in the context of language learning.
All in all, we feel that Oral Expression through Drama, was a successful first attempt. How does one define success when it comes to teaching, learning and implementing new courses? We could have attempted to "measure" oral and grammatical improvements, but let's simply say that we all enjoyed it. - Marie-Noëlle Rinné

News of Former Students
Kathie Perry(nee Koski) (HBA./B.Ed. 1991) continues to teach French to primary/ junior students with the Lakehead Bd. of Ed. Kathie teaches part-time in order to enjoy life with her husband Joel and daughter Bronwyn, 3.

Vickie-Lynn Reilly, (B.A./B.Ed French, 1989) Graham, Park and Kaitlyn have moved to the small town of Thorold Ontario.

 Karen-Lynn Kruger (HBA. 1999) is still living in Yellowknife but at a new address: Apt 306 - 5730 50th Ave. Yellowknife, NT. X1A 2C3 (867) 766-3779 (klkruger@ssimicro.com

 From The Chair
As I stressed in the last issue of this newsletter, computer technology will soon supersede all other language learning technology, not only making obsolete the traditional language labs, but also profoundly transforming the methods of teaching and the delivery of courses. In this regard I am glad to report that we have taken steps to upgrade our Lab facilities in order to take advantage of new technology. With the help of many, particularly Carol Otte from CTRC, Jim Podd from Physical Plant, Jim Gellert, former Dean of Arts and Science, Kim Fedderson, the Dean of the new Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities of which our Department is now part, we are in the process of establishing a new Computer Assisted Language Lab.

A grant from the Innovation Fund has permitted us to renovate and rewire the room adjacent to our present lab. We have also received twenty pentium computers, and we are now in the process of connecting them to the University computer network. The last thing to do is to acquire and install computer work stations at a cost of $250.00 per work station.

Soon the Alumni Association of the University will launch its annual campaign to help support special projects aimed at improving the learning environment at Lakehead. I am pleased to report that the Board of Directors of the Alumni Association has agreed to include our project as one of the special projects for this year. They will match dollar for dollar, any monies raised for our project through the Alumni Annual Fund. So when contacted please give generously and remember to earmark your donation to "Language Learning Lab" in the memo section of your cheque. You can also send your donation directly to the Department of Languages. All donations, as you know, are tax deductible and an official receipt will be issued for income tax purposes. The name of donors will be engraved on a plaque to be placed in the Lab. As well individual work stations can be personally endowed. Thank you in advance for your support on this important project.

And don't be deterred by the fact that elsewhere in this publication a pirated photograph seems to imply that "French Cancan" has been introduced as a teaching subject in this Department. As my former students know, I will do almost anything to boost the learning of languages, even some cancan dancing. So any attempt to blackmail me using this photograph will be another exercise in futility!
Fortunately you will also see in this issue the reproduction of a postcard sent to us from Paris by Angela Kurmey (HBA/BED, 1998). She now teaches French and she took her class to Paris for a field trip! Way to go Angela, and thanks for the card and the thought. Nothing cheers us more than to hear from our former students, and to learn of their pursuits and successes. Please keep in touch! - Alain Nabarra



Monique Ménard - this years' English Assistante in France

Cher Professeur Nabarra,

Ah que le temps passe vite!! Nous voici déjà au début septembre, ce que pour moi veut dire en plein milieu de mes préparations pour mon séjour en France! J'ai réussi à trouver un vol de correspondance de Paris à Grenoble, où un des profs d'anglais de mon lycée viendra me chercher pour me reconduire à Voiron, où je passerai mon stage. Le nom de l'établissement dans lequel je serai monitrice est le lycée Polyvalent Edouard Herriot, et il se situe dans le centre-ville de Voiron. J'ai réussi déjà à correspondre avec quelques professeurs d'anglais de mon lycée, et elles semblent être très sympatiques! Elles me disent que Voiron se situe à une trentaine de kilomètres de Grenoble, dans les montagnes!! Elles m'ont offert un logement dans l'internat au lycée à un prix très modéré. Je crois que je vais l'essayer pour un mois ou deux, voir si cela me plaît. Si non, je chercherai un studio ou un appartement ailleur. On verra!! J'ai passé beaucoup de temps cet été à recueillir des documents pour apporter en France. J'ai trouvé plusieurs livres, des dépliants, et BEAUCOUP de musique Canadienne. J'espère que cela m'assistera dans mes labos. Mes collègues me disent que mes étudiants seront âgés de 16 à 22 ans, alors j'espère pouvoir m'arranger bien avec eux! Souhaitez-moi bonne chance! Je vous garderai certainement au courant de mes expériences au cours des sept prochains mois. Merci, et à bientôt!! - Monique Ménard



A Postcard from Angela in France

Bonjour M. Nabarra!
Enfin, je suis en France! Je voyage avec un groupe de 7 élèves de mon école. Nous sommes restées à Paris pendant 2 jours, et maintenant nous sommes à Tours. Demain, nous irons à St-Malo, et le lendemain, à Rouen. Puis nous retournerons à Paris, et rentrons au Canada samedi J'aime la France! C'est fantastique! Je t'écrirai encore quand je serai rentrée. - Angela Kurmey BA./B.Ed. '98


Letters from our Graduates

Jennifer Pino-Martone
(B.A. /B.Ed French 1998) Upon graduation in 1998, I accepted a position at Pope John Paul II School in Barrie, On. as an Intermediate Core French teacher. This was a challenging yet enjoyable experience. I got married in July 1999 to Joe Martone, also a former Lakehead Graduate. Currently, I am teaching Core French and English at St. Peter's Secondary School in Barrie. I am really enjoying my teaching experiences at the secondary level. In May I will be spending 4 days in Québec with a colleague and a great group of Grade 10 students. I am looking forward to a wonderful "Québecois" experience. Next year I will be Chairperson of the French and International Studies Department at a new high school in Barrie - St. Joan of Arc. I look forward to this new position. Hello and thanks to all my profs. You made my stay and education at L.U. that much more pleasant and valuable. 23 Leslie Avenue, Barrie, On. L4N9N9

Nadine Bibollet-Ruche (Singleton) (B.A./B.Ed. 1995) Hello, I am a former L.U. graduate and would like to contribute to your newsletter. I am still teaching at the International School Of Sophia Antipolis, on the Cote d'Azur and am happy to announce that I recently got married in August. I noticed the picture of Randy Prescod with whom I participated in the GIFU/ Lakehead Exchange. I'd love to be on the list, and if possible be of help to any of the Rhone Alpes/Ontario candidates. In 1993 I was on the exchange in Grenoble. I hope all of you in the dept. are well, and that this new school year is not too hectic. All the Best, - Nadine.

Tammy Blewit (H.B.A. 1997) Salut M. Nabarra, Ma soeur et moi, nous allons à Paris en mai! S'il y aurait quelque chose que vous aimeriez de là, dites-le nous, et nous essayerons de la trouver! Ca nous donnera plaisir! Et puis, si vous serons très reconnaissantes. À bientôt, Tammy 925 SW Virginia Ave. Des Moines Ia. 50315

Back to School!
Some people choose to go back to university later in life. Two university alumni, Valerie (Tony) Widdop and Marion Strawson, both took French courses in the Language Department. They agreed to share their experience with us
What motivated you to study French at Lakehead University as a mature student?

   Valerie: I love French. L. U. was the closest. I had taken French in high school for five years and was very successful. I was encouraged to continue with it. I started six years ago. Pleasure was my main motivation. 

Marion: I liked studying French in high school. From 1960 to 1970, terrible events happened in Quebec: there were many dissatisfied people. The kidnapping of J. Cross occurred in that period. All that puzzled me. I thought that a way to understanding was to study the language; I wanted to be able to read and get a better feeling of the French Canadian places in Canada and their relationship with the rest of Canada. (A culture can be understood through its own language) It also opened the door for me to travel in France.

How would you describe your experience at L. U. in the Language Department?
Valerie: Fantastic! The teachers always took the time to help you. I loved the grammar. Even now, I enjoy writing in French.
Marion: All the teachers were good. I had a very stimulating experience with Mrs. Seyffert. (I really appreciated her insistence on excellence); learning about French civilization and literature with A. Nabarra, and French Canadian with A. Cloutier were the high points. Classes were small; it was a good opportunity to learn.

Do you have the opportunity to use French in your everyday life?
Valerie: I write letters to three former French assistants and two friends. I watch the French television. I try to speak with a friend.
Marion: Only by reading and when I travel. It quickly comes back to me.

Would you recommend this to other people in your situation?
Valerie: Yes, I certainly would. It is a wonderful opportunity to open your mind.
 Marion: Yes I would. I would advise them to read as much as they can to build vocabulary. If you have an inquiring mind, learn about other cultures, get the most out of travel and make friends. Learning a foreign language adds another dimension to one's life. It gives greater insight and appreciation into your own language. It also facilitates the acquisition of a third language.

    - Sylviane Kyryluk

International Week is Celebrated at Lakehead
    An international week was held at Lakehead University from March 26th to the 29th and it has been a very interesting and surprising week!
    Several nationalities were represented thanks to foreign or exchange students who come from abroad to study at Lakehead. Among the countries represented were Australia, China, Finland, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Sweden, the Ukraine and France.

On Monday the 26th, a fashion show took place in the Agora. Each country showed its national or traditional outfit, well, most of them... since France had organized a show whose theme was: "The Prejudices about France", which conveyed all the ideas and opinions (more or less true) that people around here have about France. It went from the typical "French man" with his "beret" and "baguette", without forgetting the red wine of course, to French Can Can dancers. During the three following days, the countries displayed their traditions and advertised their culture in the Agora. For each country, you could find information about tourism, traditions, and even cooking for some. It was very animated and people seemed quite interested.

Anyway, we all had a lot of fun participating in this International week. That will stay a wonderful memory that we all share and never forget.

- Delphine Dehos

Jokes - "Let's go camping!"
Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson go on a camping trip.
After a fine outdoor meal and a bottle of wine, they crawl into their sleeping bags and go to sleep. Several hours later, Holmes elbows Watson, and says, "Look up, Watson, and tell me what you see."
   "I see millions and millions of stars," says Watson.
   "And what does that tell you?" asks Holmes.
   "Well ..., Astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and billions of stars in the universe. Astrologically, I see that Saturn is in Leo. Chronologically, it tells me that it's about half past three in the morning. Theologically, it tells me that God is infinite and we are infinitesimal. Meteorologically, it tells me that tomorrow will be a beautiful day.
    ... And what does it tell you, Holmes?
There is a pause.
Then Holmes says, "Watson, you twit, it tells me that somebody stole our tent!"

This newsletter was prepared by: Al Ketonen (Al.Ketonen@lakeheadu.ca), Vincent Schonberger (Vincent.Schonberger@lakeheadu.ca), Marie Noëlle Rinne (mnrinne@.lakeheadu.ca) Alain Nabarra (Alain.Nabarra@lakeheadu.ca), & Cindy Lamontagne (Cindy.Lamontagne@lakeheadu.ca)