Carly teaches French in New York. She spent three days doing Sabrina Sebban-Janczak’s immersion course for French teachers, then she attended the Agen Workshop. When I asked participants for feedback about the workshop, this was her reply:
I had a wonderful time in Agen. I still have a few weeks left of my summer vacation, but I feel ready and excited to get back in the classroom. I really enjoyed the language immersion class with Sabrina. I loved how fluidly the mornings were structured, having “class” in the school or at a cafe, letting “class” spill into lunch, then doing something different in the afternoons. I loved visiting the bee keeper and the sculptor, these activities were so enjoyable because they put us in contact with local people doing the things they are passionate about. Being with Sabrina is calming and invigorating at the same time, calming because she so wonderfully puts us at ease and invigorating because I notice the small things she does to make us feel good about ourselves and realize that I can do those things too! Her language lab was also my favorite part of the conference. I am absolutely a visual learner, in a very monkey see monkey do kind of way, so watching someone do the TPRS steps or other CI activities is absolutely the best way for me to understand how to do them myself. I know I will be a better teacher this year for having observed her in Agen. My other favorite part of the conference was Daniel’s Breton sessions, again because I could watch a master teacher doing the steps. It was both fun and informative to be a student – when I felt the excited panic of being surrounded by new language, it helped me remember that when I teach I need to go slow, pause and point, check for understanding etc.
I committed to going to all the Breton classes, but I also got to see a few of the other presenters. I enjoyed Robert Harrel’s presentation on getting repetitions without being repetitious. He shared wonderful ideas by demonstrating them in English with I found very effective. I was very moved by Jayne Cook’s presentation on teaching learners with differences and I found Marie Pierre’s presentation to be a great summary of Krashen’s hypotheses – I will be taking my notes on her presentation to my department meetings when I start up in the fall.
I loved the choices of sessions – actually I had great anxiety over choosing which to go to! Even though I had some FOMO (fear of missing out) regarding the schedule, I really did love the structure of the conference. I especially appreciated the teaching/coaching time that was worked into the morning language labs and I feel very grateful to have had the opportunity to teach Sabrina’s French class and receive feedback on what I did. I loved the tea breaks and the two hours for lunch, that time really allowed us to connect with all the interesting people who were there, to share ideas and get to know one another.
One more thing, I REALLY appreciated being able to stay with a French family in Agen. Catherine and I got along extremely well, she cooked delicious dinners, her house and the room I stayed in were lovely, her family was wonderful, and it was so refreshing for me to be able to spend the evening not thinking about teaching so I could be refreshed in the morning and ready to jump in again. I think if I had been staying with other teachers in a hotel I would have been talking shop all night – which is great, but tiring! I would love to come back and stay with her again and I would recommend doing so to any future participants.
Speaking of coming back, I would absolutely love to come again and I would definitely recommend this conference to any language teacher interested in exploring TPRS and CI. Judy, thank you and your amazing team for making this conference happen. You, Teri, Francoise, Lillian, Christine, Daniel, Sabrina, EVERYONE, you are all amazing and it means so much to be able to witness the passion you have for teaching and supporting teachers. I will be back in Agen with you again, if not next year, in the not so distant future for sure.
Much love to you all!