H. Jay Siskin (PhD, Cornell University) is Professor of French at Cabrillo College in Aptos, California.
Call Me “Madame”: Re-Presenting Culture in the French Language Classroom
Version of Record online: 31 DEC 2008
© 2007 American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages
Foreign Language Annals
Volume 40, Issue 1, pages 27–42, March 2007
How to Cite
Siskin, H. J. (2007), Call Me “Madame”: Re-Presenting Culture in the French Language Classroom. Foreign Language Annals, 40: 27–42. doi: 10.1111/j.1944-9720.2007.tb02852.x
- Issue online: 31 DEC 2008
- Version of Record online: 31 DEC 2008
- French language teaching;
- teacher education
Abstract: This study examines autobiographies of American teachers of French in order to make explicit their beliefs regarding French language and culture. The themes of class and power are prominent in these teachers' belief systems, as is the desire for self-transformation through mastery of French and miming a subset of French behaviors. These notions can be transformed into student expectations and outcomes. Such beliefs originate in mythologies surrounding the French language, in particular, the existence of le français correct2 and its symbolic role as a signifier of national identity and community affiliation. In light of these beliefs and practices, instructors are urged to examine their assumptions about language and culture and reflect on the importance of developing critical distance-a privileged space between outsider and insider.