The Suburbanite
  • An exchange program for teachers

  • Teachers from France come to area to study our education process.

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  • Students in several area high schools experienced a flavor of France.
    Over the last two months, Franco-American Teachers-In-Training Institute (FATITI) with the University of Akron, teachers from France have studied local schools. Funded by the U.S. Department of State, 30 French teachers visited area classrooms to instruct in their areas of certification, including history, science, geography and physical education.
    The educators took part in the training to further their teaching experience and be certified to teach classes in English in France.
    French educators were paired up with a teacher here and assigned a mentor teacher by the university.
    Local schools participating in the program included Green, Manchester and Springfield, along with several other schools in Akron and the surrounding region.
    The teachers started the last week in January and visited for eight weeks, concluding March 20. They had a pre-orientation session, then upon completion of their work, they had a post orientation session to review aspects of their experience.
    During the eight week program, the French educators were regularly visited by their Akron University mentors and program supervisors. They worked closely  with local teachers.
    “My teacher was very good,” said Eric Muzi, a social studies teacher at Green. “He had a very good command of English and was very knowledgeable in his subject area. He was willing to try a variety of teaching techniques and was very open to new ways of instruction.”
    “It has been a very interesting experience,” said Pierre Matheron, Muzi’s student teacher. “The relationship between students and teachers is different here in the US compared with France. So it took a little getting use to. But it has been a very rewarding experience.”
    Matheron was surprised by the amount of  snow and the frigid temperatures. “We never had this much snow in France,” he said. “And when it does snow in France it melts very quickly.”
    Matheron talked to the French classes. “It was interesting experience for the students to actually hear French spoken by someone from France,” said French teacher Val McKitrick. “It gave them a whole new perspective on the language.”
    Sarah Eloire was assigned to Matt Graves, a Springfield High School social studies and geography teacher. She volunteered to work with the French and Spanish language programs. “This has been an exciting experience, I have really enjoyed working with my teacher Matt Graves, and my students. And we had a chance to travel and see Columbus, Chicago, Washington, Detroit and Cleveland. America is so big compared to France, I would like to return and travel out west sometime.”
    “Sarah has done an outstanding job,” said Graves. “She knows her material and presents it in an interesting way to the students. And she wants to do her best and is always trying to improve her instructional techniques and her English.”
    Page 2 of 2 - For the students, having a teacher from a foreign country was informative. Matheron’s lessons dealt with the French Revolution, while Eloire taught French geography.
    “It was really cool to have Mr. Matheron’s perception on France,” said Green student Sarah Schmidt.
    “He really knows his material,” said Melissa Weinsz. “Sometimes it is a little hard to understand something he said at first, or what we say in return, but  we work it out. It can get pretty humorous.”
    “I really liked how Ms. Elorie presented the material,”" said Anthony Garcia from Springfield. “It was very interesting to see how other countries viewed the US from their perspective. We see ourselves one way, but other countries see us in ways we don't or didn't even think of.”

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