Uncomfortable in edu is the new norm – A Shot at Stepping out of the Comfort Zone

Uncomfortable in edu is the new norm – A Shot at Stepping out of the Comfort Zone

posted in: CEFR, Technology | 4

Thank you to my rock star of a colleague, Brian (@mraspinall) , who was gracious enough to post my ideas to his personal blog and help me start to share my ideas!  Now I can finally post them to my NEW website!!  


“This is my first go at this. Thought i would give it a shot and I hope it helps me gather some of my thoughts.

So after the ‘unconference’ I attended yesterday, i have to admit that my head was spinning a bit. it was really great to meet so many like-minded people who shared similar ideas and passions. The conversations were rich and it was overall a great experience. Thank you again to the @edcampswo for taking time out of your busy lives to set something like that up. I also want to thank the people who chose to give up their saturday to come share their wonderful ideas with everyone.

With that said, I left feeling a bit overwhelmed but inspired. As a core french teacher, I am often left trying to find where and how I can include these 21st century ideas in my classroom. I constantly feel like I want to and can do more, and I am always trying to harness that energy and find where is the best place to channel it. While I have to admit that I found (and still sometimes do find) Twitter overwhelming, after listening to Doug Peterson yesterday, I realized the importance and great opportunity we have with such technology to learn and share with others, from all around the world.

This afternoon, as I sat down to read through some students’ work, I found my head being filled again with ideas and the only way I figured I could get them out was to write them down. My students are writing books about different TV families (in French of course). They have been doing great research and have now finished their rough copies. Thanks to a grant through my school board, I graciously received 12 iPads that stay just in my classroom. This has been a the greatest gift of all (which is a-whole-nother post in itself). After they have finished editing their work, we will publish e-books using Book Creator. I liked these because it creates more resources for me to use with future classes, the students are completely engaged and have been producing great work and I hope to be able to share them with others.

After browsing through @mrswideen ‘s website yesterday (http://www.mrswideen.com), I saw a project that she had done asking people from around the world to create a couple pages about their communities that they would share with her. In turn she would create the Global Community iBook Project, which I am assuming she shared then with others and could use with her students. What a great idea!! Things like this have crossed my mind, but I never knew where to start and I guess part of me was always afraid that I might not get any results back. Again, I was left thinking ‘how can I apply this to core French?’.

It is very difficult to find authentic resources that are accessible to a core French classroom because often the vocabulary is too difficult or people speak way too fast. That leaves us no other choice than creating all of the resources ourselves. With the new curriculum and the ideas from the CEFR, we want to expose our students to different accents, dialects and cultural information from around the world. Here’s where I hope Twitter can help, and other French teacher or speakers from around the world can help.

So here is my idea: if different people from around the world that speak French send me an oral recording or quick video clip of them introducing themselves and talking a bit about their families, I would be able to expose my students to the different dialects. They might learn some new words or expressions that are unique to that area of the world. They would improve their oral comprehension and listening skills. I also hope it would improve student engagement and peak their interest.

Here is a link to a sample oral text


Speaking would have to be a slow to medium rate, so students would be able to hear and have a chance to comprehend. We have been focusing on introducing other people, telling their age and birthday, describing them briefly with an adjective (i.e.Ma mère est gentille….) and talking about what they like or don’t like to do, preferences, and favourite things.

I am located in Ontario and would like samples if possible from different French speaking communities not only in Canada, but from around the world. The more the merrier. If the response is good, I can set up a central location for other core French teachers to access the recordings also.

If this is something you are willing to take 5 minutes to do, please send any recordings or videos to me at myria.heinhuis@lkdsb.com

Or if you have any questions, thoughts, contributions, help, suggestions please email me too.

So thank you to the people who inspired me yesterday @edcampswo to throw myself out of my comfort zone and see what I get back (@dougpete and @mrswideen to name a few). We will see where this journey takes me.”


4 Responses

  1. Great post. You know you are more than ‘JUST’ the French teacher. Nonetheless, great name for a new blog.

  2. […] Uncomfortable in edu is the new norm – A Shot at Stepping out of the Comfort Zone […]

  3. Just saw your post. Our school is on break right now but I will share this with our French teachers and maybe you will end up with some Maryland Parisian accents for your kids. Great great project idea!!

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