Conjugation Activity and Reflections

This is a conjugation exercice on irregular verbs of the present tense in French. It is one of the activities that were a part of the final exam for French III in the Fall. The final was a collaborative work, and we constructed the test as a team of 5 instructors for the 5 sections of French III. This is one of the exercices I made.

Final FRE 201 – Fall 2016 – Irregular Present

Challenges faced and how I dealt with them:

  • When creating the activity, a dilemma came up. I was making a dialogue that included missing verbs that the students had to conjugate correctly, and an idea came to me to include an idiom, a set phrase and proverb that would fit perfectly in the context and that also relied on a verb seen in class.
  • However, me and my colleagues were afraid that it might throw students off, because it is not an expression that can be translated literally. We were concerned students might lose track of the meaning of the dialogue and not have any cues to know which verb to choose (we gave them two choices for each blank with only one correct answer).
  • Here, two of my core principles—cultural authenticity and accessibility to all students regardless of prior knowledge—were clashing, and we had to make a decision. As a team, we decided to keep the idiom in the dialogue but not test students on it.
  • That was a valuable lesson I learned, that although the proverb was culturally relevant, that it put students who had knowledge of French culture from outside of class in too much of an advantage compared to students who only had in-class experience. At the end of the day, leveling the playing field comes first, and I judged accessibility as a principle as more important.