Noteworthy News

Faughn, students study classrooms in France during fall break

Axelle Faughn, associate professor of mathematics, and four teacher education students observed classrooms in France during Western Carolina University’s fall break Oct. 10-17.

Heather Ervin, Cecilia Anderson, Kate Short and Ginny Simpson (left to right) made a stop near the banks of the Seine River to have a photo taken with the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris as a backdrop.

Heather Ervin, Cecilia Anderson, Kate Short and Ginny Simpson (left to right) made a stop near the banks of the Seine River to have a photo taken with the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris as a backdrop.

Students Heather Ervin, Cecilia Anderson, Kate Short and Ginny Simpson accompanied Faughn on the trip.

“The idea was for education students to go for 10 days and to observe classrooms in France,” Faughn said. “They went to a French high school in my hometown in Brittany, and spent five of those days there. The classes included some international students, so they observed classes in English as well as French language.”

While there, the students stayed in homes. “They got to see pedagogy in a French school hosted by French teachers during the week, and to become immersed in French family life, getting the real cultural side of life there, as well as the educational side,” Faughn said. “It was good for them to have that experience.”

The students had an opportunity to compare differences between the educational system in a foreign country and those at home.

“Among the things they found different was that the school day went from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.,” Faughn said. “It was much longer, though they have breaks for lunch, and sometimes break periods with no classes. For the teachers, that’s a very long day.

“The classes were much more structured; the level of subject matter a little higher than in United States classrooms,” she added. “And the food was very good in the school cafeteria. They were impressed with that.”

In addition to observing the high school classes, the group visited standing stones and medieval walled cities. “We went to Paris and did all the touristy things you’d think about doing there,” Faughn said. (The group’s visit was prior to the terrorist attacks in Paris in November.)

She was pleased that the trip went well for the students.

“I am hoping we can do this again next year, and that other faculty members can do this sort of study, too,” Faughn said.

By Keith Brenton

Categories | The Reporter


Photos | WCU News Services

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