South Orangetown Central School District

In an effort to teach students about the many French-speaking countries, South Orangetown Middle School World Language teacher Marie-Laure Spatz is inviting guest speakers to visit French classes to teach them about their culture. 

As part of the celebration of Francophone Week, students researched information about the Francophone world before Fawazath Moutairou, a parent of a student at SOMS, visited their classes on March 30. “Over the past few weeks, my students and I have been working on discovering how large the francophone world is. Indeed, 29 countries have French as their official language! March 20 is the International Day of celebration of the Francophonie and is followed by a week of celebration of French-speaking countries. I asked Mrs. Moutairou to come and talk about her birth country, Benin, located in North-West Africa. She shared with my students in French and in English, her experience growing up there as well as the traditional dishes, music and way of life. Students were also able to share their own traditions through our discussions,” explained Spatz. 

Throughout her presentation, students eagerly asked her questions about her culture. Sidney said, “It was interesting to learn about her experience in Benin first-hand and not just by searching online.” Mia added, “It was cool to know what she was saying in French, I didn’t think I would understand but I did!”

Spatz noted, “My hope is that learning first-hand of Benin and French speaking countries in the world will leave a life-long impression on my students. Beyond fostering interest and curiosity in the French speaking world, I want to develop cultural awareness to have respectful interactions between people and be able to celebrate differences and similarities between people from different cultures.” Later this month, guest speakers from Haiti will visit classes to give them insight about their culture and traditions.

Guest speaker visits SOMS French classes