UM Today UM Today University of Manitoba UM Today UM Today UM Today
News from
Faculty of Education
UM Today Network

French Language Cohort Practicum

August 29, 2012 — 

Dr. Krystyna Baranowski works with students, teachers, and staff to develop a unique practicum experience

Dr. Krystyna Baranowski

The French Immersion Cohort offers teacher candidates an opportunity to practice teaching in a supportive French Immersion environment in the Seven Oaks School Division. Through this unique practicum experience candidates and their cooperating teachers, as well as other interested French Immersion staff will be offered professional learning opportunities by the students’ faculty advisor, Dr. Krystyna Baranowski. Dr. Baranowski is an Associate Professor at Université de Saint-Boniface (USB) and a cross-appointed professor at the Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba. She will be working with the Faculty of Education’s, School Experiences Office (SEO) Director, Dr. Melanie Janzen, to develop a learning community within a French Immersion setting.

The SEO was challenged to meet the requests from schools for teacher candidates in French Immersion. The Faculty’s teacher candidates have been hesitant about completing their practicum in French Immersion classrooms as much of their initial teacher preparation has occurred in Anglophone environments. As a result, Drs. Janzen and Baranowski wanted to find supportive opportunities for the teacher candidates to develop their French language skills and gain confidence in French Immersion classroom settings. Dr. Baranowski explains, “There is an ever-present need for competent French Immersion teachers in Manitoba, both in the classroom and in specializations such as Music and Physical Education. At the same time, the Faculty of Education at the U of M admits students who may be fluent in French, either as Francophones, or as French Immersion graduates. This pilot French cohort is a way of providing a rich, fully supportive French Immersion practicum experience to a small group of 1st or 2nd year teacher candidates. The experience will include journaling, professional development discussions and self-assessment.”

Teacher candidates selected for this experience are expected to volunteer, demonstrate an interest in pursuing French Immersion experiences while working to develop teaching competency. In addition, they must pass or be very close to passing the USB test.

In addition to supporting the teacher candidates, Drs. Janzen and Baranowski recognized the need to support the cooperating teachers and staff who will be working with the students. Dr. Janzen explains, “We wanted to support the cooperating teachers who host our teacher candidates, providing opportunities for professional development about French Immersion and about French Immersion pedagogies. As a result, we will be offering two professional development workshops focussing on current theory and best practices in the language classroom. Dr. Baranowski will be leading workshops in the areas of second language acquisition, diversity and inclusive education, and new approaches to multi-literacies. These workshops will target the needs of the cooperating teachers as well as engaging the teacher candidates in the connections between research and practice. We are excited that the cohort and the workshops will create reciprocal opportunities between our students’ and our community’s needs.”

It is the hope of Drs. Janzen and Baranowski that teacher candidates will develop their knowledge and understanding of immersion programming, increase their confidence in speaking and working professionally in French, and grow their understanding of the complexities of French Immersion instruction. They also hope that all the partners involved will become exposed to the options available for improving French programs, courses, and exchanges. In addition, they anticipate that the teacher candidates and other educators will find the professional development experiences productive and that they will develop an understanding of varied strategies for instruction in French Immersion that will challenge the norms of French Immersion instruction.

Six students will participate in the French Language Practicum in September 2012 at École Constable Edward Finney School. The SEO plans to expand the program in 2013.

For information please contact Tara Baxter.

© University of Manitoba • Winnipeg, Manitoba • Canada • R3T 2N2

Emergency: 204-474-9341