0043 - Newsletter Vol. 6

Department of Languages Newsletter    Vol. 6 - Summer 2002

Salsa Anyone?



Ismel González Spanish Instructor

   I was born in Havana City, Cuba on July 4th, 1971. I graduated from the University of Havana for Teachers in July 1994 majoring in Education and English. While at the university, I began teaching as part of my placement program and have now been an instructor for more than ten years. After graduation, I worked at the Technological Institute for Commerce Studies for two years and then got a job with the Ministry of Construction of Cuba. There I worked as a teacher of English as a second language and as a translator.

   In 1998, the Ministry of Construction of Cuba and Confederation College signed an agreement of collaboration between the two entities. The agreement included the upgrading of Cuban personnel in Canada. For that reason, I was sent to Thunder Bay together with two other teachers to take a course on teaching English as a second language at Confederation College.

   Now, anyone reading this newsletter, can really understand what I felt when I got to Thunder Bay and found out that 4 degrees here was just "cool".


   Nevertheless, I decided to stay in Thunder Bay and since then the road has been paved with more blessings than disappointments. I have worked as a banquet porter, as a cleaner, and a deli clerk. I have met great people that have taken me into their homes. Some as their son, others as their brother and others as a friend.

   Determination really paid off in 1999 when I was asked to teach the Spanish course at L.U. In the same year, I was also asked to teach one Spanish course at Confederation College. Since 2000, I have been working for D.O.O.R.S. To New Life (Diocesan Office Of Refugee Services) as an employment counsellor.

   Being a refugee and an immigrant myself makes me clearly understand what it's like to be a professional and unemployed.

   Working at Lakehead University has really helped me to understand Canadian culture at a higher level. It has also given me the chance to meet great people amongst my students and my colleagues.

   And now to a love of dancing salsa and merengue I have also added cross country skiing.
- Ismel González

From The Chair
   In my quest for a new Computerized Language Lab (a quest that makes me sometimes feel like Don Quijote fighting windmills and yearning for an ever beautiful but evanescent Dulcinea de Toboso), all news seems unfortunately, as always, to come in pairs, the good mixed with the bad.

   The bad news, however, is not really bad, but rather annoying. Progress in technology is going so fast, that it tricks and outsmarts us at every turn of the road. A new Computerized Language Lab model has just been developed, but, unfortunately, the computers donated to us are not compatible with the software needed to operate it. I think we should try to acquire a newer model, otherwise we would end up with a new but already outdated Language Lab. So we are now at a crossroads, pondering our next move, our aim being to try to secure the latest and the best technology available in order to offer to our students a new state-of-the-art Language Lab. It is somewhat frustrating, to put it mildly, but we are not at a standstill: the quest continues.

   Now for the good, the very good news. Following our last newsletter we have received many encouragements, supports and donations. You have responded enthusiastically to the campaign launched with the help of Rob Zuback and the Alumni Association, and to date more than $4,000 has been raised for the Lab (other money has been pledged: remember, it is never too late to send your contribution). You gave us the boost we needed to continue.

   On behalf of the Department, I would like to thank you for giving so generously. Many thanks not only for the money raised, but also for your support, your enthusiasm, your belief in the increasing importance of Language and Language learning in this fast changing world. Many thanks also for sharing with us the memories of your university days, and of your association with our Department. This is what keeps us going, and gives us the motivation and the energy to overcome the many setbacks and roadblocks, and even to fight windmills (and those who operate them), in order to make a reality of what is a necessity.

   Thanks again so much for your support and keep in touch. Cheers! - Alain Nabarra

Thanks to our latest supporters:
Ms. Jennifer L. Busch
Mr. Brian D. Campbell
Ms. Karen J. Chlebovec
Mrs. Luba Chyril
Ms. Wendy D'Angelo
Ms. Georgia Doricic
Ms Sheryl P. Hedlund
Miss Patricia Jean
Ms. Jessica E. Kukko
Miss Terry L. MacDonald
Ms. Carmela Marino
Mrs. Diana L. Mason
Mrs. Ulla A. McCutcheon
Miss Allyson E. McDonald
Mr. Alan A. Moorhead
Mr. Alain Nabarra
Mr. Saverio Nigro
Miss Anita Pavelic
Mrs. Kristina Plante
Mrs. Maritta Polowick
Mr. Michael B. Start
Ms Lorelle A. Stein
Mrs. Wanda J. Stilla
Ms Lisa Tonin Souckey
Mrs. Jane Zaroski

Letters from our Graduates

Karin Soomet (B.A./B.Ed. French 1999)
   After graduation I went travelling and I spent much time working at a popular restaurant in Paris with a friend. Four months later, we ended up in Senegal (west coast Africa); we had a really good time! I'm currently living in downtown Toronto where I'm teaching Grade 7 and 8 Extended French. I hope everyone is having fun and enjoying life! Au revoir!

Lori Olsen (Wark) (B.A. French 1996)
   After graduation I moved to Newmarket, ON and worked as a bilingual customer service rep. for a sporting goods distributor. In 2000 my fiance and I moved back home to Thunder Bay and got married July 7, 2001. I am currently working for a small local airline.

Kristina Plante (Benninghaus) (B.A./B.Ed. 1999)
   Salut tout le monde! I have been very busy these past 2 years teaching Gr. 2 French Immersion in Bowmanville, Ont. My school, staff and students are wonderful! This past August I was home in Thunder Bay for my wedding, and enjoyed a quick visit before heading back this way. Hope all is well with everyone in the Languages Dept! A bientôt, Kristina

Kelly Piché (Grzela) (B.A./B.Ed. Fr. 98)
   I've been quite busy since graduation!!! After my first year teaching french at O'Gormon High School in Timmins I got married to Ken Piché and moved back to my hometown Kapuskasing. However, in the 3 years that I was hired to teach Français at Kapuskasing District High School I've been on maternity leave twice. I am presently on maternity leave until September 2002. I have two beautiful daughters, Jessie is 21 months and Ashley is 4 months. A big hello to M. Nabarra who I miss a great deal (miss bugging that is!!!)

Karen-Lynn Kruger (HBA. 1996)
   "Latest news break from Karen Kruger is that it's still winter, I'm still doing Caribou Carnival this year, (March 29 - 31) and it's going well. I've also been offered a full time job with the RCMP up here (Yellowknife), so things are looking up. Now, if we can only solve the mosquito problem...." Cheers! - Karen

Nadine Bibollet-Ruche (Singleton) (B.A/B.Ed. 1995)
   Hello, I am a former LU graduate and would like to contribute to your newsletter. I am still teaching at the International School of Sophia Antipolis, on the Côte 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/Lakeahead Exchange. I'd love to be on the list, and if possible be of help to any of the RHÔNE- 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

Jean Boulter- A postcard from Bondi Beach, Australia
   Salut les amis!

   Nous sommes arrivés jeudi matin après 5 + 6 + 10 heures en avion. Sydney est une très belle et très grand ville, toute moderne, mais tout est assez cher. Mais il fait beau, assez chaud, et les feux de forêt sont à peu près éteints. Dimanche matin on prend le train vers Ayers Rock, dans le désert. J'espère que tout le monde aura une bonne note à l'examen. A Bientôt - Jean Boulter

A little history...

   A number of years ago, a group of the Thunder Bay Italian-Canadian community decided to attempt to finance a Chair in Italian studies at L.U. By May of 1994 this group became incorporated and began its mission to raise money.

   Having a Chair in Italian Studies meant that, every few years, a scholar from Italy would be invited to work at lakehead University in conjunction with existing academic units and a scholar from Lakehead university would have a similar opportunity at an Italian institution. Tony Cappello who was the Executive Director of The Chair of Italian Studies Fund and his colleagues hoped to raise over $1 million to endow the Italian Studies Fund in perpetuity. After an active and successful start with some initial fundraising efforts, the group eventually was unable to proceed for various reasons and the corporation became dormant. Today, the money raised is being held in trust in a bank.

The people...

   Some 1½ - 2 years ago, the idea of an Italian Chair was reactivated by three of the initial directors, Silvio Di Gregorio, Sam Federico and Joseph Logozzo. Together with a new committee of interested people of Italian descent, and in collaboration with Lakehead University , the group is re-examining its original object to determine if it is possible to move forward with the fundraising and some of the projects. Recently, the group has received encouragement by a number of interested people from the university community and abroad; Joe Baratta, former president of the Alumni Association and representative on the Board of Governors of L.U., was the Chairman of the existing Italian Studies Initiative. Syd Halter, Chair of the Lakehead University Foundation, and the Advancement Committee at Lakehead University, now headed by the new Director of Development, Kim Tobin. Tobin who was in a similar position at the University of Toronto, who has told the group about the Italian Chair at that institution. Professor Alain Nabarra, Chair of the Department of Languages, has also actively collaborated with the organization. Seppo Paivalainen, a Thunder Bay lawyer and a member of the Board of Governors at Lakehead, and more recently, Pentti Paularinne, Registrar of L.U. who provided information on how the Finnish community has sponsored a Finnish Chair at Lakehead University. Mary Louise Hill, Vice-President (Academic) at Lakehead, has told the group what opportunities are possible here at L.U. Arthur Mauro, a former member of the Thunder Bay Italian community and now residing in Winnipeg is a prominent businessman there, and is Chancellor of the University of Manitoba. He has spoken positively about having an Italian Chair at L.U.

   Presently, the group is busy re-organizing the corporation and electing a new Board of Directors who will be in office by the end of April. The re-examination of goals set by the original members and establishing new initiatives will be the board's first priority.

The project...

   The Current Chairman of the organization, John Bonofiglio of L.U., commented that one fundraising effort which has been in the making for some time and will continued despite the changes occurring in the corporation, is the Italian Studies Initiative Book. The committee, in collaboration with Lakehead University, is currently engaged in the promotion of a project that aims at fostering awareness of Italian heritage in our community. The project consist of the publication of a book largely written by the children and grandchildren of Italian immigrants and the proceeds from the sale of the book will be used to further the programs of the organization.

A la Faculté d'Éducation
   A la Faculté d'Éducation beaucoup d'activités cette année pour les étudiants se spécialisant en français tous la conduite de Roy Fossum. Visites à l'Université et dans les écoles, stages pratiques et réflexions théoriques sur le métier d'enseignant, etc. Quelques exemples ci-dessous...

Une visite des étudiants CPO de l'école PACI à la Faculté d'Éducation.
   - par Amanda Greene.

   Je n'ai pas toujours voulu être enseignante. C'est plutôt une notion qui s'est développée au cours des années lorsque j'ai cherché des points communs dans mes expériences. Ce que j'ai retrouvé, c'est que je me situais souvent dans des positions où j'étais l'experte, donc je devais donner des exemples et enseigner ce que j'avais appris. En plus, mes racines françaises étaient et sont toujours une grande partie de la définition de moi-même. Donc, après avoir considéré mes points forts, j'ai décidé que je voulais devenir professeur de français. Ma prochaine étape, c'était de m'inscrire à l'Université Lakehead afin de commencer ma formation professionnelle.

   L'année professionnelle est divisée en quatre parties, un bloc de huit semaines visant la théorie supportant l'éducation, suivi par un placement dans une école secondaire. C'est la fonction de l'Université d'arranger les placements avec les conseils scolaires. Mon placement a eu lieu à Thunder Bay, pour le conseil catholique, à l'école secondaire Saint-Ignatius. C'est là que j'ai eu la chance de prendre de plus en plus de responsabilités d'enseignante pendant six semaines. J'ai enseigné deux classes de neuvième année cadre (académique) et une onzième/CPO (université). Nous avons etudié la grammaire, fait de la lecture, preparé des projets de groupe visant autant le processus que le produit final, parlé en français et finalement, assuré la compréhension de la langue.

   L'expérience acquise m'a permis de me rendre compte qu'il y avait des adaptations nécessaires à faire de ma part. L'usage du français clair et précis, la compréhension de la grammaire et le rejet des stéréotypes des élèves ont été mes plus grands défis. Je me suis rendu compte qu'il y avait aussi des avantages à l'enseignement. L'appréciation explicite des élèves envers moi m'a ému à plus d'une occasion. Et j'ai eu la chance d'aider à organiser une journée culturelle française, ou les élèves ont eu l'occasion de visiter "Le Café Français". Les croissants, le café, la musique, un artiste et des jeux en ont fait une journée remarquable!

   J'ai passé un stage plaisant, avec une enseignante coopérante et avec qui j'ai pu poursuivre un dialogue professionnel facile et ouvert. L'esprit a l'école semblait positif (entre enseignants) et j'ai eu des difficultés a trouver des points négatif. Dans l'ensemble, je suis très satisfaite de mon apprentissage, et je dois dire que sans immersion dans une salle de classe, je ne serais pas prête à enseigner. Maintenant, il me reste cinq semaines pour achever le contenu théorique, et de faire mon dernier bloc de pratique, après lequel j'aurai la chance de postuler pour mon certificat d'enseignant.

Noele - étudiante de CPO PACI - classe de Mme Sylvie Brochu-Taniwa
   Le moment le plus doux pour moi de ma visite à la Faculté d'éducation Lakehead était la préparation, puis le désastre, qui était mon «pudding de chômeur». C'était un peu embarrassant d'avoir mon plat à coté des autres plats délicieux. Mais, en tout cas, c'était vraiment drôle - surtout quand quelqu'un m'avait dit «la pudding goûtait bonne... mais était difficile à digérer». Merci, Jen.
   Les discussions avec les étudiants étaient très amusantes aussi. Les questions préparés nous faisaient réfléchir, les sucettes étaient appréciées et l'expression qu'on a appris était hilarante! Cette expression était, bien sûr, qu'Eddy était un "coureur de jupes"! Dans l'ensemble, j'avais un visite excellente et je voudrais le faire encore si on a le choix. - Noele

New Faces in the Department
Viviane Andriamampionona - French Assistant

   Time goes by so fast! I remember my first days at lakehead as if it was yesterday and here we are, nearly at the end of the academic year! I guess that everyone who is familiar with the French Department knows me by now, and hopefully will remember me as the French assistante who came from some remote tropical island... Reunion Island. Where is that again? I must have heard and answered this question a thousand times! But for those who still don't have a clue, here is a little introduction to my home place.

   Reunion Island - or La Réunion in French -is a tropical island set in the Indian Ocean, which enjoys a warm weather all year long (so why did I come to Thunder Bay, many have asked!). The official language is French but "le Créole reunionnais" is the local language which unites our multicultural and colourful population, whose origins are as various as China, India, Africa, Madagascar, Arabia and France. So the name of the island is derived from this basic feature (RÉUNION). As a result every "Réunionais" has a complex identity and cultural heritage.

   My personal case could give you an insight: I'm a French citizen who has intellectually grown up within the French education system and culture that was transmitted through the media of the motherland (France?). My ancestral roots are in Madagascar, where both my parents come from. Plus I've shared my everyday life with my fellow "Reunionais" and their various traditions since I was born.

   Languages have always been my first love, therefore I intend to be a language teacher in a few years - whether of English or French as a Foreign Language. My other main passions are reading, Movies, philosophy and the reason why I'm here: travelling.

   Now I'd like to thank all the people who made my year at Lakehead such a great personal and professional experience: my colleagues in the French Department who have always been available, kind and supportive - mostly during the first three months when I had to face the challenging consequences of a bureaucratic maze: Cindy, Marie-Noëlle, Sylviane, Peter, Vincent, Al, My friend Tiffany who was the French monitor this year, and last but not least, the chairman Alain Nabarra; my students (thumbs up for the friendly and motivated ones!) and again last but not least, thank you to my "one-year" best friends.
   - Viviane Andriamampionona

Tiffany Elcheson - Second Language Monitor

   A little bit about me... I was born here in Thunder Bay but I spent most of my life in Riverview, New Brunswick. The region in which I lived was almost totally bilingual, so I began learning French at an early age. Not only did I learn French language but I was exposed to the Acadian culture. Although I loved the ocean and the people in the Maritimes I returned to Thunder Bay to come to L.U. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do so I thought of my favorite subjects and realized that I actually like learning. So, here I am in my third year in the Education program majoring in French and minoring in Biology. (I know it's a weird combo.)

   The majority of my time is spent working as the French Second Language Monitor alongside Viviane, the French assistant, or at the Cumberland Theatre as a cashier. I also tutor French and Biology. So if I do have free time I like to spend it with friends, reading and painting. I also like camping and I love travelling. Last summer I backpacked a round Europe for a month which was awesome.

   When I'm finished my schooling, I would like to go to France to work as an English assistant. After that I intend on returning to Canada and finding a job as a French teacher at the Intermediate/Secondary level. (Work all year/travel all summer - doesn't sound too bad)

   Sadly, after this year I will have completed my French degree, so I won't be around these halls as often. I would like to thank everyone from the French Dept. (M. Seyffert, M. Schonberger, Mme Rinne, Mme Kyryluk, M. Nabarra, Cindy and my friend Viviane.) I would also like to thank the students from my labs for giving me a great experience as a monitrice and I wish them all the best in their studies.
   - Tiffany Elcheson

A Cuban Joke

Three dogs were walking down the street in Havana when they spotted a pretty french poodle. Her name was Coco and she was absolutely charming.

"You know, part of the reason that I am so beautiful is because of my special diet of liver and cheese" Coco said. "If you want to go out with me, you have to have some class. To see how clever you are I want each of you to make up a sentence with the word "liver" and "cheese" in it. I'll go for a walk with the one who makes up the best sentence."

The dogs look at each other and then:

The German shepherd pushes aside the two other dogs and struts up to Coco and says, "I love liver and cheese."

Coco gives him a dog shrug and then she smiles at the English bulldog.

The English bulldog walks slowly to Coco and says, "Harumph, Harumph", very seriously. " I don't like Liver very much, but I do like cheese, harumph, harumph"

Coco looks down her nose at him.

Suddenly, the little Chihuahua barges in and gets between Coco and the two other dogs.

He yaps, "Liver alone. Cheese mine"

   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)