An Amazing Teacher

I think it so important now that teachers have access to streamed video – so important for teachers to watch other teachers. Here’s a player I’ve made as a start. These videos are revealing and helpful for teachers, watching, we absorb and see the little things. It really is in the little things that a good teacher becomes GREAT.

This teacher (in the above video), I’d hire in a heartbeat. He’s a genius. Really and truly. Even though he is teaching French, you can see so many small things that he does so well — so many things to inform your own teaching. Two I”ll highlight.

1) he lets the students speak and respond in their L1
— I find this so refreshing and it should be the norm. Students should respond to communicate, not to a set format (L2). When they are ready, the target language will come. He is wonderful in getting the students to focus on this so important aspect – meaning.

2) Contextualization. See how expressive he is. See how he makes eye contact and uses his voice. See how he asks questions in a closed way – so students can respond. See how creative he is and how he bridges and helps students deal with the ambiguity of a second language. Pure genius!!!!

Medal of honor. This is part of a series on Annenberg for MFL (Modern foreign languages) “Teaching Foreign Languages” – but also wonderful for EFL teachers. Language is language, a rose is a rose.

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Teacher trainer, technology specialist, educational thinker...creator of EFL Classroom 2.0, a social networking site for thousands of EFL / ESL teachers and students around the world.

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7 Responses

  1. Tara Benwell says:

    Have just had to make the decision whether or not to put my child in French immersion kindergarten. If I had seen this video my choice might have been different. I’d like to join this class!

  2. ddeubel says:

    I agree Tara! I’d love to be his student and not just for kindergarten – a good teacher like this is like gold.

    I’m sure you had a lot to consider for your own child – I think what it most comes down to WHO is the teacher?(and not just for so young students but for some reason we are biased to think so). So much of education is rapport, especially nowadays where we’ve moved from a knowledge based society to a more functionally / process based pedagogy.

    But this teacher is gold – got to get me to Ohio and drop in on his class.


  3. ALiCe__M says:

    I admire the teacher’s pedagogy but less his pronunciation, I’m afraid. “Varicelle” is repeated again and again in an anglophone way.
    And what he says is not accurate sometimes : just two examples “marchez à la table” and “bien fait”. ” bien fait” is tricky because on it’s own, (not in a sentence, just as appreciative words) it means “you asked for it” !! so the teacher could say “très bien” ! “parfait” “excellent”, “c’est très bien fait” (I think he did say that too at one point) but not just “bien fait”.
    As for “marchez à la table” : he could say “allez à la table”. “Marcher” implies “using one’s feet”, so it sounds totally bizarre to tell the children to use their feet to go there.
    These may appear as details, but at such a young age, I think it is very important that the kids are exposed to good pronunciation and good language.
    As he has a native speaker in his class, maybe it would be good to ask her to tell him what could be improved in his French, particularly the key word “varicelle”. The L is a flat L, which should not be emphasized at all.
    I fully agree with you : good practice is good practice everywhere, whatever the language, thank you for the bridge across the ocean.

  4. ddeubel says:


    I do think he could improve his French but on the other hand, I totally disagree that this does anything to hurt the children’s acquisition of “good” French.

    Having lived many years in France and consider Corsica my second home, I’m always perturbed by the French and their focus on accuracy, especially grammar. I am not aware of one iota of research that supports the idea that if the teacher doesn’t speak the target language perfectly, it will slow or inhibit acquisition. Not one iota. Especially in these young learners. The one caveat is that these young are exposed to other correct language models during their acquisition of French. I love how he says “Varicelle” and it doesn’t matter if they grow up and speak like their teacher.

    What counts is that the speaker use the language with freedom (playfully) and with force (believe that they are correct). IMO – there is nothing wrong with the speaker’s French. That’s the way many people around the world speak French. What would you say if he were Haitan and speaking patois? Would that we “good” French. Or my own Quebecois French with ever third word in English?

    Just some thoughts but I appreciate your own view also.


  5. It`s amazing the way he rivets down 27 infants, to draw their attention to the subject matter, to introduce them gradually to CLIL, without them noticing it, to alternate a variation of activities always centered around the same theme (chicken pox) and how to react to the illness; and even to use dramatisation and to be patient with each learner`s cogntive skills to “utter” the TL, “whenever” they feel ready to do so..even with “prompting” from himself, too…A PRESTIGIOUS ACTOR..

  6. ALiCe__M says:

    Hello David,
    I agree that we focus too much on the accuracy with adult people in France, but with young children, to me accuracy is paramount, *precisely* because they absorb everything so quickly!! you say you don’t know any research saying the young learners won’t be slowed down in their acquisition if the teacher does not speak good target language : well, I don’t know about research, all I have is my little experience. In the UK, once the children had learnt a word from a previous teacher with a wrong pronunciation, it was almost impossible to change it. Because the pronunciation is associated the the previous teacher’s authority and trust. If the teacher had talked créole from Haïti, I would say great! he teaches créole! If he spoke with a corsican accent, I would agree too! same with québécois! As I said, I think the way he helps the children remember the parts of the body (spoken *and* written words) is amazing. Pity his French is not as amazing.

  1. January 8, 2010

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