Teacher Candiates on Teaching Exchange in France
In May 2012, seven of our B.Ed. students participated in an International Teaching Exchange for their T2P (Transistion to Professional Practice) in Orléans, and the Centre du val region of France.
Our students were placed with families (of French students who had come here earlier this year to complete their international teaching practicum in London), and taught in diverse areas with diverse populations in this beautiful region (e.g. Chartres, Dreux, Tours, etc.) around the Loire River. The majority of our students taught in schools at the Intermediate and Senior levels. Some were placed in schools in rural areas whereas others taught in urban high schools, including elite preparatory classes. Director Valérie Zanelli and Assistant Blandine Champion at the IUFM Orléans warmly welcomed our students and organized orientations as well as cultural activities for them during their stay.
The students benefitted significantly from taking part in this teaching exchange as they were able to observe different teaching methods, social practices, and at the same time, share their knowledge and different teaching methods with students and teachers in France. Several of our students, while teaching in French, taught French students about Canadian varieties of French (e.g. Franco-Ontarian French), and challenged some of the common misconceptions about representations of Canadian French (e.g. that there are Francophones outside of Québec).
The French students really enjoyed learning about some of the historical representations of Canadians and different varieties of Canadian French, as well as Tim Horton's!! Several of our B.Ed. students received funding to participate in this exciting exchange, thanks to Dr. Julie Byrd Clark, who applied for and was awarded an International Curriculum Fund through the Western International Office. Dr. Byrd Clark also participated in this exchange by going over to France and conducting evaluations of our B.Ed. students during their international practicum. All in all, this exchange was a wonderful opportunity that will hopefully allow for exciting pedagogical collaborations (for students) between our future teachers at Western and the future teachers of the IUFM Orléans, France.