University of Richmond students are teaching French language and culture to local students through community-based learning.
Richmond professor Olivier Delers has implemented community-based learning as part of the curriculum for his French translation class.
Every Monday night, one of the groups in the class goes to the Youth Life Foundation-Delmont Learning Center to teach a small group of middle school students about French culture, CBL student Michelle Burian said.
“Many of the students have never been introduced to French culture before,” Burian said. “It’s really nice to see how interested they are in learning French words and participating in the activities that we give them.”
The volunteers follow a theme each week for the lessons, Burian said. For Valentine’s Day, the volunteers created crossword puzzles with French words for the students to complete.
Emily Smith, a student who participated in the Spanish CBL program last year, said the opportunity had allowed her to practice and improve her conversational language skills.
Students in CBL classes also act as co-educators, rather than as passive recipients, engaging in the community, reflecting on experiences, and adding their insights to the educational content of the course, according to the Bonner Center for Civic Engagement website.
Within Delers’ French translation class, there are four groups that work on different projects, Burian said.
One group works with the Virginia Crossover Clinic to make corrections on brochures, create brochures and translate new brochures into Spanish, French and English, Burian said.
This group will also create a video for Crossover patients in Spanish and French. Students in this group must also have knowledge of the Spanish language, Burian said.
The last group is helping to translate L’Encylopédie, a masterpiece from the Enlightenment era, which is currently being translated by a community of translators and scholars from around the world.
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