Sunday, 23 November 2014

Rethinking "doing a unit on..."

Much has changed, and continues to change, about the way we plan our FSL programs for the academic year, our units of study, and our lessons.

This year, I am facilitating a group of FSL colleagues in a collaborative inquiry around the very large topic of action-oriented tasks.  This and other opportunities have encouraged me to change the way I THINK about planning my program and lessons.  Action-oriented tasks encourage us to help students USE the language, rather than LEARN about the language.

What is the first step?  I believe we need to rethink how we think about and describe units of study.

"I'm doing a unit on animals."
This statement infers that the content (ie. animals) is the focus for the unit.  We want our students to know the names of animals in French, right? That's a start. We want them to move beyond knowing a chien says woof.

"I'm doing a unit on visiting a zoo."
"I'm doing a unit on expressing preferences for a family pet."
"We are working on researching and discussing Canada's endangered species."
These statements are explicit in promoting the USE of the language. They are action-based, rather than content-based.

We can continue to "do a unit on...".  It is my belief that our new vision for action-oriented tasks encourage us to continue that sentence with an action (think: skills) rather than a noun.

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