Bonjour! I'm Elizabeth! Nice to meet you! I am so glad you are here! My decision to start a blog as part of Language with the Five Senses Education (LW5S Ed) was not easy. Even though I've written a couple of books, I don't enjoy writing as much as I love speaking. Before Covid, I was recording a regular podcast, which I will probably start up again at some point. I found that with the kids home, it's been hard to find time to record the podcast peacefully. The podcast also makes it harder to share my ideas and resources in a way that people can "see." This year, home with Covid, I have also reflected on my goals for my education program and how I want to put it out into the world. A blog really makes more sense than a podcast at this point. Now, while my kids are still asleep in the quiet of the morning and I am enjoying my coffee, I can peacefully write. I want to share how LW5S Ed began and hope it will go in this first blog post.
I've always had a passion for language and travel- and when I say travel, I mean immersive, cultural travel, not just being a tourist. As a citizen of the world, I've always seen myself as a person who is interconnected with those who live near and far. I have also always been a person who wants to do things my way. I am independent, creative, and strong-willed. I tend to see things outside of the box. I am a huge fan of Performance-Based, Student-Centered learning models and a strong proponent of eliminating all kinds of education testing. All of these values moved me to go my own way and start my own school in 2016. The vision I had for my school was simple- create culturally competent, multilingual, global citizens. I wanted to teach kids to speak languages and get them to travel around the world. In 2016, Bon Voyage World Languages Academy was born. We started with French because I am a French teacher with an immersion travel program in Vichy, France. Today, in 2021, we offer 13 languages, and we have 3 immersion travel programs and multiple culturally immersive travel programs for educators and families called Globetrotter Programs.
Language with the Five Senses was born from Bon Voyage. I wanted to give a name to how I was teaching language. This method was completely out of the box, zero translation, and used the senses. It was based on extensive research I had done (and continue to do) on how the brain is wired to naturally acquire language. I realized that what I was doing facilitated students tapping into all of their senses to make connections in the brain. I also realized that the connection to culture was highly relevant in helping students retain those connections. I am a French teacher first, but I am also certified to teach all subjects K-8 and English in grades K-12. I realized that this method could teach many different subjects, including writing and social studies. I began heavily researching cultural responsiveness and global citizenship education and set the goals and outcomes for what a highly educated student would look like in my ideal world.
Travel has always been an important part of the education of my children. Even though they have been in public school, I don't ever hesitate to pull them out to go traveling. Whenever we travel, I integrate culture studies and make sure we have ample opportunities to connect with the people and culture. We travel with what I call the intent to connect - traveling to connect with other humans and cultures, learn language, gain life skills, and step out of one’s comfort zone. When a person travels with intent, he or she experiences personal growth, empowerment, maturity, and a realization that he or she is part of a greater humanity.
When Covid hit, my kids were doing school from home, and I made the decision to pull them out of school and homeschool. During this time, I have reflected on the education I want for my children and how I can help facilitate that education for all students. Since we are now a homeschool family, but I am also a professional educator, I wanted to make sure that I created a program that would be accessible to professional educators and home educators alike.
Language with the Five Senses Education is not just a method; it is an educational philosophy that integrates all of the things that I value in education. It is:
This means that students are fully engaged in the learning process. This method is not based on a teacher-student relationship or a test-results relationship, but rather an educational partnership between teacher and student, where the student is an equal in the learning process. The teacher is the guide, helping the student discover and work through tasks or processes. Further, the student is learning to be a citizen of the world, how all humans are interconnected and what it means to be a good citizen. The teacher recognizes the wide variety of cultures that are probably represented in their classroom and teaches to all students, not just to the dominant culture. The curriculum represents all students, not just those who are white or of the dominant culture. Further, the teacher validates all students' home cultures through the building of relationships and through making sure all students are represented in the curriculum.
My goal with Language with the Five Senses Education is to provide all educators with the tools they can use in their own classrooms, the opportunities to further their own cultural and professional development, and the opportunities to travel with the intent to connect with their own students and families. I encourage you to poke around on the site, see what I have to offer, and reach out and connect with me!
Merci Beaucoup and I look forward to sharing all my love and passion with all of you!