Monday, March 26, 2007
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Friday, March 16, 2007
You see, when I was a kid studying French, English was FORBIDDEN in the classroom. In fact, if we spoke English, our teacher would have a fit and we risked being sent into the hallway or even the Principal's office. This way of teaching didn't stop as I got older either. When I was 17 years old my parent's sent me away for the summer to Trois Rivieres - a city halfway between Quebec City and Montreal. I guess you could call it the Red Deer of Quebec. Anyway, while I was there I went to CEGEP to study French - it is like a college. Can you picture me? I little 17 year old guy all by himself for the first time? It kind of reminds me of some of my students who are studying here in the LEAP program right now. Anyway, not only was English forbidden in the classroom, it was forbidden EVERYWHERE! That's right, I could drink beer (illegally), smoke cigarettes and ignore doing my homework, but if I ever spoke English anywhere in the city at all and I was caught, there were huge consequences. And I mean huge! You see, the CEGEP had not only teachers, but also monitors who hung out with us after class. On top of that, many of the local people in the city knew that Anglophones came to study French every summer and they kept an eye on us to. If we were caught speaking English at any time, we would get a warning. You only got three chances. If you were caught on the third time . . . you were put on a plane back home! I'm serious. I personally know people where were kicked out of French programs for speaking English too often. Even me, your teacher got caught speaking English one time. I remember I was in a pool with some friends and we were swimming. As some of my students probably know, I love talking, and suddenly I just started shouting to some friends in English to come and jump into the pool. Right behind me was a monitor! Holy cow, did I get in trouble. It was really serious. They had me totally freaked out that I was going to be sent back home. From then on, it was French only for me.
So you can see that from a young age I have been indoctrinated that the best way to learn a langauge is through the immersion method. It is almost like a Canadian way of doing things. I guess that it has affected me a lot,but you know what is amazing . . . . I speak French :-)
Anyway, I have the honour of doing three things while I am in Seattle. I'll be doing a poster presentation on the Thursday of the Conference, a hands-on showcase of my students' blogs on the Friday, and finally a workshop teaching teachers how to use blogs with their students on the Saturday. It's going to be fun :-)
What I would like my students to do is please complete this survey (please click when you are ready):
I'd like to share your opinions with my colleagues in Seattle.
Thank you in advance to everyone who does this survey!
Thursday, March 15, 2007
This is a picture of my mother and I :-)
It was recently my mum's birthday, and we went to the Palliser Hotel in downtown Calgary for their Sunday Brunch. I think this must most definately be the best Sunday Brunch in all of Calgary, if not Alberta (well, actually the Banff Springs Hotel would be a close second). This brunch is absolutely fantastic. It has a mix of breakfast items and lunch items. For example, you can have a gourmet omlet made for you while you watch, or you can get Belgian waffles made fresh in front of your eyes. There are also other amazing things like eggs benedict and eggs pacifica. Eggs pacifica is one of my favourite breakfast dishes. It is an english muffin with smoked salmon on top. Placed on the smoked salmon you have a gently poached egg, and it is all topped off with a sauce that is out of this world. Yum. Actually, I kind of go smoked salmon crazy when I go to the Palliser for Brunch. I take huge amounts of smoked salmon. I just can't get enough! They also have lunch items like roast beef, and things like that, but I usually stick to the breakfast items. Finally, there is a large variety of cakes and desserts. It is all amazing. Unfortunately, it is a little bit pricey. For one person, brunch is $40 and there there is tax and tip, so if 4 people go, you can end up spending around $200. However, it was my mum's birthday, so it was worth it :-) If anyone ever has their parents visiting town and they want to splurg, I recommend the bruch at the Palliser Hotel.
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
Anyway, this is the online link to the article http://gauntlet.ucalgary.ca/story/11102, but if you pick up a current issue of the Gauntlet, you can read the article there too. I wonder what my LEAP 4 students would think of this article. I really hope that now, because of the program, they are able to do things in March that they could not do in January. I guess that is the real measure of a program. If a student can say "now I can do this, but I couldn't do it before" that would be a way of demonstrating that they have learned something. Anyhow, I won't let this article get me down, but sometimes I do feel that I am faced with an almost impossible task compared with a normal professor at the university. It almost seems like if students fail in the LEAP program it's the teacher's fault for not teaching, but if they fail in normal university it's the learners fault for not learning. Complex stuff . . .