French faculty members Sophie Adamson, Patti Burns, Olivia Choplin, and Sarah Glasco represented Elon's French program at the 91st annual convention of the American Association of Teachers of French.
French faculty Sophie Adamson, Patti Burns, Olivia Choplin and Sarah Glasco represented Elon’s French program at the 91 annual convention of the American Association of Teachers of French (AATF) held July 18-21, 2018, in Martinique in the French West Indies. The annual convention is a unique gathering of over 300 French teachers from around the U.S. and from several other countries.
The AATF, founded in 1927, is the largest national association of French teachers in the world with nearly 9500 members. It is organized around 70 local chapters and governed by a national Executive Council of 18 members. Its national headquarters is located in Marion, Illinois.
The AATF publishes the French Review and the National Bulletin and holds an annual convention that alternates between sites in Francophone countries and the U.S. The AATF also sponsors the National French Contest and National French Week (Nov. 1-7, 2018). Elon’s French program was recognized as a Program of Excellence with Honors from the national organization in 2016.
The group session led by the Elon cohort entitled “Modest Numbers, Major Impact: Strategies for Student Engagement in French on a Small Campus” offered insight into the curricular, co-curricular, and extra-curricular initiatives that have allowed Elon’s French program to retain enrollment numbers and improve student outcomes and engagement over the past several years.
In addition to their group panel, all four faculty members presented individual research. Sophie Adamson offered a preview of her upcoming sabbatical project on integrating stand-up comedy in the French classroom as a way to engage students with current events and cultural differences while improving their listening skills in French. Patti Burns introduced attendees to scaffolded activities that allow students, even at beginning levels, to have authentic conversations with native speakers, thus improving their confidence, speaking skills, and intercultural awareness. Olivia Choplin shared new research from her sabbatical work on Haitian-Québécois authors Marie-Célie Agnant (who will be visiting Elon in January 2019) and Jan J. Dominique. Sarah Glasco presented an introduction to her forthcoming sabbatical project on the French yéyé singers as pioneers of French feminism.
The Elon cohort was part of a strong presence of North Carolina-based French teachers, including faculty from Duke University, UNC-Charlotte and several North Carolina high schools. Elon’s program was praised for its engagement with students and alumni by Bill Rivers, executive director of the Joint National Committee for Languages and member of the Working Group on Language Learning of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.