Teacher Feature: Leah Dupré

Posted November 16, 2018 | Discuss

Ms. Leah Dupré
Upper & Lower School Foreign Language- Department Coordinator 

Ms. Leah Dupré was invited to lead a workshop at the Alabama World Languages Education Foundation's (AWLEF)  14th annual Weekend Immersed in Language Development (W.I.L.D.) on November 9-11.  

AWLEF  was established by the Alabama Association of Foreign Language Teachers.  This organization seeks to enhance the opportunities for foreign language teachers and students to improve their spoken language skills. AWLEF is continuing the work of AWLA to provide opportunities to its teachers and students to practice and improve their skills in residential, immersion experiences led by fluent scholars. 

What do you teach at The Donoho School?
I teach Lower School French Enrichment to Pre-K4, kindergarten and 4th grades. I also teach 8th-grade Intro to French and Intro to Spanish, and high school French levels 1-3.  

What was your motivation for becoming a teacher? 
I feel that preparing the future generation to be caring, responsible, and successful leaders is one of the most important jobs that we have as adults.  Through teaching French, I pass on the knowledge and skills  I have gained in my subject area, but more importantly, I hope to pass on a love for other cultures and languages. One of the main reasons I began teaching was because of a desire to help students develop a broader understanding of the world around them.  Learning a second language and understanding other cultures and perspectives helps students to develop an appreciation for diversity, gives them a greater sense of their own identity, and prepares them to be respectful, responsible global citizens and leaders. 

What is a unique experience, talent, or interest that you bring to your classroom to help shape the learning experience of your students?
Although I don’t have the best voice or dance moves, I love to dance and music (which earned me the dubious title of “musically challenged mom” in my household). In my classes, I create songs and dance moves to help students learn. I did this intuitively for my own children when they were little.  Now that current research substantiates what I had begun to put into practice it has only encouraged more song-and-dance madness in my classes! 

What are some of the biggest challenges teachers are facing when it comes to teaching a foreign language?
In recent years, we have seen a dramatic shift in response to language acquisition research and the approach to teaching languages across the country.  One of the biggest challenges facing world language teachers is how and when to pioneer transitions from a more traditional curriculum to a more dynamic curriculum based on authentic materials and proficiency-based language acquisition. I have always used a practical, communicative approach in my classrooms, but after attending the ACTFL World Language conference last year (thanks to the DPA!), and hearing about other teachers experiences, I was encouraged to lead the Donoho World Language department in a new direction!  It has been challenging and exciting to develop the new proficiency-based curriculum this year! 

What activities did you lead, and why did you choose to lead them?  
This immersion weekend is a great opportunity for students to experience language as a vehicle for communication outside of the classroom in more real-life, applicable situations.  Students engaged in all daily routines and a variety of activities while only using the target language (French).  The immersion weekend theme was Time Leap/Time Warp.  Students engaged in activities such as campus-wide Jeux Olympiques (Olympic Games).

Sophomore, Vishwa Patel, was accepted as one of 20 students in Alabama to participate in the French program at AWLA's Immersion Weekend this past weekend.