This blog is a new professional endeavor for me. Most of my World Language colleagues know me as “the tech goddess.” From an early age, I have been a scientist and an experimenter who uses the scientific method to explore my hypotheses on the many questions I investigated. My curiosity in science, technology, and World Language teaching and learning led me to create an ever-changing Web site on technology tools for World Languages, the French Teaching Resources Wiki, and to serve as the curator and Social Media Manager for the AATF. However, I do wear other hats. I am a French teacher at Mount Vernon High School in Mount Vernon, Washington who tripled the French class enrollment in three years. With my colleague Jenna Harvey, our second French teacher and our Spanish teacher colleagues, we have embarked on a curricular and professional path that has guided us from a hodgepodge of proficiency ideals to a well-rounded, research-based, and departmentally-cohesive philosophy grounded in student-centered progress within the AP themes and other globally-minded topics using authentic resources, global thematic units, IPA assessments, and many unique “language laboratory experiments.”
These experiments in World Language education draw upon a wide variety of philosophies and practices. I believe that there is no “one way” to learn or teach a language. It is through interacting with the students I have in class that I best understand their needs and interests. I am not a standardized educator who follows the same rubric each unit or each class. Through my contact with thousands of students who were eager or at least curious about learning a second or third language, I have learned that their learning success supersedes any method or approach prescribed by the latest trend. Whatever the students need to pursue their proficiency goals, I will provide, reflect, and retry. While not all of my posts may apply to your situation or interests, please know that the Professional Learning Network to which we subscribe and from which we learn is a medium meant for reflection and discussion. I do not claim that my practices or units are the pinnacle of World Language education. I will say, however, that I am open to new ideas, activities, and opinions. For this, I consider myself to be an Epic Teacher.
I look forward to connecting with you and learning from you in this language laboratory.
Catherine Ousselin – @catherineku72 (Twitter)