Want your kids to speak French, mama? We spoke to this French teacher to learn more about the new French-English bilingual programme at CIS
Canadian International School Lakeside will be opening a new French-English bilingual programme in August 2018 for children in Grade 1 and Grade 2. The programme is the only French-English bilingual programme in Singapore that is taught following the inquiry-based, International Baccalaureate framework. Read on as Albana Bertin, CIS French teacher for the bilingual programme, explains the reasons behind launching this exciting new programme and its key features!
What is your background and training?
I have been teaching French to school students for over 15 years in Kosovo, Angola, Australia and now in Singapore. My husband and I are both French and we have 3 children. I have a French master’s degree in Communications from the Sorbonne and completed a course at the Institute of Oriental Languages in Paris to teach French as a second language. I love learning languages and can also speak English, Italian, Spanish and Albanian. For many years I have worked closely with the Alliance Française and prepared students for the official language exams. For the past five years I have been teaching students French within the International Baccalaureate framework.
What is the objective of CIS’ new French-English programme?
To educate students in becoming bilingual, biliterate and bicultural in both French and English through an inquiry-based teaching approach.
Why has CIS decided to launch this programme?
CIS is an international school committed to offering a high quality, comprehensive language programme designed to give each student a competitive edge in tomorrow’s job market. Five years ago we successfully launched a Chinese-English bilingual programme for students in kindergarten to Grade 6, developing a reputation as offering one of the best bilingual programmes amongst international schools in Singapore. We now believe we are well placed to offer an additional bilingual programme, this time French-English.
What are the key features of the programme?
Each class has two qualified teachers — one English speaker and one French speaker. Instruction is inquiry-based and fully aligned to the world renowned international Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (IB PYP). Students also have equal exposure to both languages — classes are in English one day and French the next.
You’ve mentioned learning through inquiry as a major part of your teaching approach. Will you be focusing on incorporating any other approaches?
We will be placing a strong focus on creating authentic experiences where learning mirrors real life activities. This will not only help make learning for our students more meaningful, but also motivate them to want to learn more. We will also be using authentic materials (songs, storybooks, TV, websites) as much as possible instead of textbooks, and engaging students in active, hands-on activities like acting out plays, cooking and participating in quizzes. All learning will be done through immersion and not translation.
What do you love most about teaching?
I love accompanying my students through their learning and seeing them progress. Watching how a new language offers them new ways for understanding the world around them is very fulfilling. I love being able to directly contribute in helping them to understand each other better. It gives me hope that they will be more tolerant adults, world-savvy and culturally-sensitive.
Merci beaucoup, Albana! To find out more about the new French-English bilingual programme at CIS, click here!