…”For example, my French professor, Annick Thibault, does a segment called “Quoi de neuf?” every morning, when we talk about what is going on in our lives and what we did the night before…”
It was the Summer of ’17…and SLT
OCdt Eliza Bruce, 27472 (IV), E-veritas correspondent
Once again, the halls and classrooms of Currie are filled with lively and industrious Officer Cadets posted to RMC for the summer for their Second Language Training course. This program takes mainly second years, with some third and sometimes first year students who require additional training, and annually puts them through 2 and half months of rigorous studies in French grammar, oral and audial proficiency, culture, expressions, and vocabulary, to bring them to the BBB profile acceptable for the levels required of Officers in the CF. OCdt D.G.R. Sale, (III), 27577 (photo left), is currently working through Module 9 of the learning series provided to all SLT classes, which are teaching students from a range of proficiencies starting from Module 1-17, but students generally test for all three components (Reading Comprehension, Grammar, and Oral) around Module 11-12.
By way of thoughts and feedback regarding his course experiences so far, OCdt Sale remarks, “Since starting French back at the start of first year, I have experienced huge progression from learning the basics of French grammar to being able to carry out a conversation with my French professors. In particular, this summer has allowed me to continuously practice my French through writing, reading and speaking exercises in and out of class. In addition, the tests have allowed us to challenge ourselves in using French on our own in various ways.”
When it comes to the difference of work environment that comes with the SLT experience, and the variety of teaching methods the profs can utilize with the summer training schedule, OCdt Sale says, “Working in a class of 9 students allows us to practice our ability to speak and read in French often throughout the day. This also gives the professor ample time to help each one of us when we are faced with a challenge in our second language skills. Also, some of our professors conduct activities that allow us to practice even more. For example, my French professor, Annick Thibault, does a segment called “Quoi de neuf?” every morning, when we talk about what is going on in our lives and what we did the night before. This activity promotes our ability to expand our vocabulary and develop confidence when speaking French.”
OCdt Sean Stevens (III), 27574 (Photo right), is undergoing the Second Language Spoken Prep course here right now, and is very enthusiastic about being in his final stage of bilingualism training.
“In my experience at RMCC with the second language program, the teachers all seem to have unique methods. Some believe that writing and repetition are the best methods to learning a new language, while others believe that learning rules and exceptions are the key. I have come to learn that both of these methods have their place in the classroom, and both have contributed positively to my learning experience. Currently in the summer SLT semester, I have had the pleasure of working with one of the professors I was with in first year. The approach she takes has us working nightly to write down different life experiences at RMCC with the goal of having us prepare ourselves for the oral test. This exercise allows me to practice the tools and lessons I learned that day, and apply them in a comprehensive and helpful way. This also allows me to determine stories that I could possibly use on the oral exam.”
Dynamic classroom activities and mental tasks stimulate both the students’ attention and interest in the material: “each week we are given the opportunity to prepare a short skit or video using a prompt and the techniques we have learned in the week. It has been noted that the phrases used during the skits and videos almost become part of our normal vocab, which helps to drive home the fact that our work and that of the professors over the summer SLT semester is having a positive effect on our understanding and ability with the French language.”
Now that Gen. Vance (CDS) has stated the new qualifications for commissioning, having a BBB bilingual language profile in one’s second language, or achieving higher than the minimum standard if possible, has struck many at the college with a new sense of self-discipline over how truly important it is for Officers now and in the future to continue applying themselves towards their second language. Ideally, the change of battle rhythm over the summer, combined with an immersive all-day class experience, will contribute to the maximum success of those who will be testing out near the end of July!