Mount Union French Majors to Teach French Language and Culture at Rockhill Elementary

April 22, 2010

Three Mount Union French majors began teaching French language and culture to Rockhill Elementary students on Tuesday, January 23 and will continue for eight weeks on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Pictured is Evgeniy Smakhtin (left), Christelle Savidan (middle) and Rockhill Elementary students.

Dr. Frank Triplett, foreign language professor, and Amanda L. Espenschied-Reilly, director of service-learning and community service, created this new service-learning program to allow French education students to benefit from the hands-on experience of teaching their own French class. They participate in designing the curriculum and prepping the materials as well as teaching and managing the students, Espenschied-Reilly said.

'Our students gain an excellent opportunity to share what they know with the community while improving their own resume,' Triplett said.

Freshman Lindsey Rapp and juniors Chelsea Dowey and Evgeniy Smakhtin along with the French teaching assistant, Christelle Savidan, teach the French alphabet, colors and numbers to over 60 third, forth and fifth graders. Rapp, Dowey and Smakhtin instruct 10 students at a time in separate rooms while Savidan assists with all three classrooms.

'This program gives us a unique opportunity to teach elementary students as opposed to high school students,' Dowey said.

'I like working with younger children,' Rapp said. 'It is amazing to see how quickly they learn.'

Espenschied-Reilly said it is valuable for students to be exposed to language at a young age.

'Alliance students, like many American students, do not take foreign language classes until high school,' Espenschied-Reilly said. 'Now the students at Rockhill Elementary will have some earlier experience with foreign language.'

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