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The Suburbanite
  • French teachers experience American style education at MMS

  • Manchester Middle School has been enjoying a French flavor to their education the last few months.


    Two teachers from France, Liandrat Vincent and Camille Jeandet, came over Jan. 5 in an exchange program through the University of Akron. After a few weeks of training have been working at MMS and taking in the American education system until they go back on March 24.

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  • Manchester Middle School has been enjoying a French flavor to their education the last few months.
    Two teachers from France, Liandrat Vincent and Camille Jeandet, came over Jan. 5 in an exchange program through the University of Akron. After a few weeks of training have been working at MMS and taking in the American education system until they go back on March 24.
    Vincent talked about experience thus far teaching physical education. He said his goal is not to judge the way things are taught, but to try and understand “why it is like this.”
    “I wanted to teach like an American,” Vincent said.
    He said a key difference between American style and French style is that Americans expect self-reliance of what students learn, where as in France there is a goal of trying to make students self-aware of what they are learning through projects.  Vincent used as example that if they were doing badmitton, students would have to do a simple project where they looked at how they played and whoever they were matched up against. They would have to point out their own strengths and weaknesses, and then their opponents to form a winning strategy. That is something at a basic level French middle school students might do in their physical education classes.
    Although Vincent hasn’t tried implementing this at MMS, he has done a few small things differently, like playing a different version of dodge ball, which translated in English to Prisoner Ball, and another game called “The Touch.”
    Annie Cherete, Inspector General for Modern Languages for the French Ministry of Education, said she liked how the program was working.
    “I think young teachers seem to adapt very quickly to new environments,” Cherete said. “They adapt fast and adapt reflective attitudes. Teaching by American rules, they can look back and analyze.”
    She added that one other difference here in America is the idea of school spirit - something that is non-existent in France. With the lack of school sports teams, school choirs and other extra curriculars, everyone in France that wants to do these things does them outside of school. There aren’t T-shirts with the school name on them in France, and that is something that Vincent said he would like to try and adapt when he goes back.
    Michelle Wilson, Executive Director for Akron International Friendship for The University of Akron, explained how the program worked on their side. They find host families in the area who can take a teacher in for three months. UA helps with the orientation event where the teachers to help them adjust to being over in America.
    “It’s not only a good opportunity for schools in our community, but for a family to learn about French culture,” said Wilson.
    Page 2 of 2 - MMS Principal Jim Miller likes having the program at the school.
    “It’s a great cultural experience for our kids,” Miller said.
    This the fourth year for the program, the second year in Manchester and also participating in this area is Green and Coventry. If people would like to host a teacher in the future, they can contact Wilson at 330-972-8296 or wilsonaif@earthlink.net.

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