Above: American Association for French Language Teacher’s (AAFT) local chapter at the October AAFT conference at Seatac.
The American Association of Teachers of French (AATF), founded in 1927, is the largest association of French teachers in the world (currently there are about 10,000 members). The AATF fall luncheon was held on 9 October 2010, at the conclusion of our annual meeting of the Washington and Oregon foreign language teachers. The luncheon was well attended by over 70 members from the United States and Canada.
After the luncheon, several young teachers expressed their interest in applying for travel grants to study in Canada and for library grants. Two seasoned teachers, musicians themselves, intend to contact the Léger family musicians living in Seattle about visiting their schools. We also anticipate that many of the French educators in attendance will take advantage of the Center’s annual Québec and French Canadian Workshop – the only all-day professional development training in French in the State that focuses on Québec that will be held in May on the University of Washington campus.Nadine Fabbi from the Canadian Studies Center was the keynote speaker. She began with an overview of the importance of the study of Québec in the United States. Québec is the only jurisdiction in North America where the official language is not English. “Québec is an extraordinary example of a minority culture and language not only surviving but thriving in North America,” she pointed out. In addition, Québec supports minority regional governments, such as the Regional Government of Nunavik for the Inuit in the Arctic region of the province.
This event provided the opportunity for AAFT and the Canadian Studies Center to work in closer collaboration in the future to ensure that our French language educators are supported and have a stronger foundation in Québec culture and its distinct language.
Mary Anne O’Neil is a professor of French at Whitman College. She is currently serving as president of Region IX for AAFT. This visit was supported by funding from the Canadian Studies Center’s Title VI grant, US Department of Education, Office of International Education Programs Service.