Associate Professor of French and Francophone Studies Laura Burch last week brought students and Fulbright Language Teaching Assistants from her French Conversations class to John Papp stadium for a special unit on soccer, gender and culture.
In the unit on soccer, the class studies vocabulary related to the game itself: the players, the field, the rules, the equipment, the act of playing, etc. “Out on the field students learned all about reinforcing that vocabulary through simultaneous speaking and engaging in physical activity,” says Burch. “They also examine flyers, documentaries, texts, and music videos about women in sports, the history of women in soccer in France and Senegal, cultural attitudes toward women’s soccer/sports in France and Senegal.”
The topics covered in the course come directly from students who were asked about their interests outside of school and what they wanted to learn to speak about most in French.
Through listening, speaking, reading, and writing activities students learn a variety of things beyond intermediate conversational French, including but not limited to: mastering habits to facilitate consistent, thorough, enjoyable progress toward personal learning goals and ways to explain how the knowledge of French and Francophone language and culture they’ve acquired changes their understanding of the world and its communities.