With support from the Department of Languages and University Recreation, Dr. Jessica Sertling Miller (French) recently took her FREN 430 students(Environmental and Linguistic Diversity) to the campus climbing wall. During that hour, students were trained in French, allowing them to develop specialized vocabulary in a real-life situation while learning new athletic skills such as climbing and slacklining, two popular activities in the Francophone world.
It was not the first time that Dr. Miller utilized campus resources to help her students apply her language skills in interdisciplinary settings. Last Fall, with the help of Foster Gallery’s director Jill Olm, she took her FREN 101 students to an exhibit as a way to develop description abilities and learn about art. In addition, a previous cohort for FREN 101 students (Fall 2015) had to opportunity to bake éclairs in the Davies kitchen to expand their food vocabulary and understanding of French cuisine.
Taking students out of the classroom not only gives them the opportunity to use their language skills in concrete situations, it also creates the extra challenge to do so while performing another activity, which is intellectually-demanding. Other important benefits of those local field trips are discovering of campus resources available year-round, as well as strengthening bonds in our community of language learners.