A Cross-Disciplinary Lesson in MS French

A Cross-Disciplinary Lesson in MS French

Comment dit-on United Nations en français?” Middle School French Teacher Ayaovi Sobo asked her Class 7 students on a Wednesday afternoon. (How do you say United Nations in French?)

Several girls raised their hands. “Les Nations Unies,” one answered.

With a smile, Madame Sobo nodded. “Maintenant, répète après moi” (Now repeat after me).

“Les Nations Unies!” the class exclaimed, their voices filling Room 502. “Les Nations Unies!

Their excitement was understandable given the fact that a recent grade-wide trip to United Nations Headquarters was still fresh in their minds. During the informative tour, the students learned more about this venerable institution’s commitment to global equality and human rights.

To deepen their learning, Madame Sobo led an immersive, cross-disciplinary exercise that kept the UN front and center while giving her students the opportunity to further develop their French speaking, writing and comprehension skills.

Now in their second year of studying French, the students spent the period engaging in a lively discussion about various aspects of the UN, guided by Madame Sobo’s prompts. For example, she asked them to name the five permanent members.

With several students contributing, they arrived at the full list, carefully pronouncing each country: “Chine, France, Fédération de Russie, Royaume-Uni et États-Unis” (China, France, Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States).

They also learned new French vocabulary words related to their United Nations trip like fondateurs (founders), maintenir (maintain), conseil (council), paix (peace), droits de l’homme (human rights), court de justice (justice or law court) and organe (body when referring to an organization).

Très bien,” said Madame Sobo, who shared with her students that she grew up in Togo, where French is the official language, and, later, France.

During the last part of the class, the students broke into groups to role-play critical situations connected to a particular international humanitarian issue. “You are members of the UN, so I’m going to have you talk a lot,” Madame Sobo instructed.

Conversing in French (and some English), the eager scholars expressed their thoughts on the prevalance of child labor, the lack of clean drinking water, the shortage of doctors, and educational barriers girls face.

During the next class meeting, the students were busy putting the final touches on their presentations that delved into their issue area. They had been asked to cover four overarching topics: le problème (the problem), les raisons (the reasons for the problem), nos solutions (our solutions) and les obstacles éventuels (possible obstacles).

Following their teacher’s gentle reminder to be a respectful and curious audience, the groups took turns coming to the front to share their expertise. Aided by attractive visuals, the students spoke in competent French and capably answered questions afterwards. Everyone played a part and seemed to enjoy bringing their projects to life.

“Bravo!” Madame Sobo told them. “Je suis si fière de vous!” (I am super proud of you).

This multi-layered lesson vividly demonstrated the hard work and perseverance of our Class 7 French students as well as their compassion, empathy and strategic thinking – an essential foundation for understanding worldwide challenges