|Last summer, I was selected to be part of the first Open Educational Resources Adoption Grant Pilot Program at my institution. I worked to identify OER as well as create my own. That resulted in the completion of a free intermediate sequence for French university students, which I described in a conference talk last fall.|
My presentation was titled "A Free Intermediate French Sequence to Improve Accessibility to a Culturally Diverse and Complex Curriculum", and was given virtually at the first conference for Diversity, Decolonization, and the French Curriculum (November 2020). The abstract is as follows:
This presentation describes the transformation of an intermediate-level sequence (French 201 and French 202) from a curriculum that marginalized underrepresented groups to one that strives to portray the French-speaking world, as well as learners of French, as a multifaceted entity. This reshape was done using backward design, starting with redefining outcomes, creating assessment protocols and rubrics along ACTFL guidelines, followed by redesigning thematic units and lessons targeting all modes of communication on topics explored through the lens of a different French-speaking culture each week.
The starting point of each week-long lesson is a video showing a perspective and practice from a culture that is typically underrepresented in textbooks. For example, students learn about cities by examining the riad architecture in the historic Medina part of Marrakech; they learn about objects by studying cultural appropriation of first nations’ symbols in Canada. Specific vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation lessons are introduced at home, and practiced in class through cultural comparisons and discussions at the appropriate ACTFL proficiency level.
Attendees are invited to use or adapt all this material, soon available as a free Open Educational Resource. All lessons use gender-neutral and inclusive language, avoid stereotypes, and embrace the complexity of cultural identities. In addition, assessment prompts follow the Transparency in Learning and Teaching recommendations (Winkelmes), a framework that promotes equitable success in education. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the changes implemented have had a positive effect on the students’ learning experience and on enrollment.
ACTFL. NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do Statements, 2017, www.actfl.org/publications/guidelines-and-manuals/ncssfl-actfl-can-do-statements. Accessed 18 Jun. 2020.
ACTFL. Performance Descriptors for Language Learners, 2012, www.actfl.org/publications/guidelines-and-manuals/actfl-performance-descriptors-language-learners. Accessed 18 Jun. 2020.
ACTFL. Proficiency Guidelines, 2012, www.actfl.org/publications/guidelines-and-manuals/actfl-proficiency-guidelines-2012. Accessed 18 Jun. 2020.
Winkelmes, Mary-Ann. “Transparent Design Promotes Equitable Opportunities for Student Success.” EDI Tier 2 Workshop, 9 Jan. 2020, UW-Eau Claire.