A pair of Hay River neighbours recently made an interesting linguistic exchange.
Diamond Jenness Secondary School (DJSS) students from the Grade 11-12 French class visited Ecole Boreale on April 25 to take on the role of travel agents, while the French school’s Grade 7-8 students played the part of curious travellers.
The DJSS students had picked destinations where French is spoken and had to answer questions about accommodations, plane tickets, restaurants and attractions.
Language instructor Sara Beaudet said the students looked everything up on the Internet to make sure the numbers were as accurate as possible. They gathered all their information together and created informative pamphlets.
“I think it went really well, but the students were pretty stressed out,” she said of the DJSS students, whose French skills aren’t as advanced as those of their counterparts at Ecole Boreale. “When you practise your second language outside the classroom, it can be nerve-wracking. But we helped them out by letting them know which questions they were likely to be asked.”
Those questions were sent ahead of time to Ecole Boreale high school teacher Audrey Toutant and her 18 students.
After the mock travel fair was over, Toutant’s students wrote down their preferred destinations and why they chose them.
“We will send all our texts over to DJSS for them to read,” Toutant said. “I think it’s great for these kinds of francophone exchanges to take place within the same town. It gets students out of their classrooms and makes them practise French with students they might not know well. It helps eliminate a lot of the stereotypes that exist between schools.”
DJSS teacher Phyllis Gibbons said she really enjoyed the experience for her students and would like to do it again next year, if possible.
Beaudet had initially tried the activity with the Grade 8 French class at Diamond Jenness and, following that successful experiment, decided to try it with Ecole Boreale.
— Myles Dolphin