story by Claire Miller
College of Education & Human Development students Jennifer Grobeck, Elsie Jackson, Carrie Tahlor and Michael Vo have been selected for the French Dual Language Fund’s 2018 Future Immersion Teacher (FIT) Fellowship, which will prepare them to teach in dual language immersion settings.
In dual language immersion classrooms, students spend half of their school day learning in a target language and the other half of the day learning in English. The state of Georgia had 38 schools with dual language immersion programs teaching in Spanish, French, German and Chinese during the 2017-2018 school year.
The fellowships will provide financial support for Grobeck, Jackson and Vo to pursue dual immersion early childhood education endorsements and for Tahlor to complete her master of education in elementary education degree with a concentration in dual language education.
Born to a French father and an American mother, Tahlor was raised speaking both French and English at home and would spend three months each year with her grandparents in France. She also lived and taught in France, Australia and the U.S.
“Because I speak three languages and my adult children speak three and four languages, respectively, I am overwhelmed by the incredible opportunity that exists for students to become bilingual through public school dual language immersion programs,” said Tahlor, who’s currently teaching second grade math and science in French and French literacy at Trip Elementary in Grayson, Ga. “I’m looking forward to networking and learning with and from others who teach in dual language immersion settings.”
Grobeck, who teaches at Discovery High School in Lawrenceville, Ga., decided to shift her work to dual language immersion education after hearing about it from a fellow teacher, her school’s foreign language coordinators, and Cathy Amanti, CEHD clinical assistant professor in early childhood education.
“I hope to get some great tips and advice on how best to teach elementary school in French,” she said. “It’s a completely different world from high school and that can be quite intimidating, but I’m up for the challenge.”
Georgia State University is one of seven American universities partnering with the FIT Fellowship to prepare teachers for dual language classrooms and is the only university in the state that offers programs in dual immersion education.
“Dual immersion education is growing in Georgia. As the number of schools with programs continues to grow, there is also a growing demand for teachers that are fluent in languages other than English and prepared to teach across all content areas in those languages,” said Cathy Amanti, clinical assistant professor in the CEHD’s Department of Early Childhood and Elementary Education. “We are constantly looking for ways that we can make our programs both affordable and accessible to anyone interested in dual immersion education. We are excited to support our French-speaking students that are currently or will be teaching in area French immersion schools.”
The French Dual Language Fund’s FIT Fellowship is supported by the French Embassy and the FACE Foundation. For more information, visit https://face-foundation.org/french-dual-language-fund/future-immersion-teacher-fellowship.html.