Experiencing French Culture

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Experiencing French Culture

Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School Head of Languages Debra Tunnington has recently returned from a three week intensive language fellowship to France during the recent holidays. 

Ms Tunnington was the only Western Australian participant, in a group of 19 teachers from across Australia, to be awarded an Endeavour Language Teacher Fellowship to France. Ms Tunnington travelled to Aix en Provence in the south of France and was hosted with a French family. The programme involved three weeks of intensive language instruction, cultural activities, interaction with teachers and educational institutions, curriculum writers, and field trips. The primary goal of the programme is to immerse and expand a teacher’s language and cultural knowledge. 

Ms Tunnington said “The days were very busy and I was fortunate to work with an exceptional group of language teachers from across Australia. Consequently I've developed an extensive network base and learnt a lot about how languages are presented in other states and schools within Australia. This opportunity to network was invaluable.” 

The course studies were supplemented with cultural activities and field trips including visits to the port city of Marseille to learn of its history, Arles and the life of Vincent van Gogh, Avignon and the famous Pont du guard, Nice, Aix en Provence and the life of Paul Cezanne, and two days in Paris.

The group of teachers were also able to also make contact with French teachers in primary and secondary schools and participate in classes with French students who were learning English.

Ms Tunnington also received a European certification of competency in French, rating her language ability as almost as proficient as a native French speaker.

While the trip may be over, the course work continues. Ms Tunnington said she still has one project to report and submit; applying her experience in France to creating resources and activities to use with her French students at Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School. 

Ms Tunnington said “I have returned with a boost of confidence, competence and enthusiasm for teaching French. But it is not just about French, it's about getting our young people to realise that outside Australia there is a whole world of cultures and language and adventures to be experienced.”

“Learning any language can open you up to these things.”