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Ep18: Movement as a Means to Learn a New Language

In this episode of “Body Talk” Dr. Traci L. Scheepstra interviews Nathalie Lauriault, an award winning educator with close to forty years of teaching and research experience. Nathalie has spent the majority of her career teaching primary students in French Immersion. She has also co-authored a book called “Tools for Teaching Conceptual Understanding,” is part of a research team dedicated to conceptual teaching, and offers professional development workshops to teachers in schools around the world. This conversation begins with a discussion on how the body can support students in learning a new language, which can be as simple as gesturing and making shapes with the body, to creating dances to tell a story. Nathalie shares how she spends the first several weeks of school to build community in her classroom so there is a level of trust and respect amongst her students. She knows from experience that the more comfortable students feel the more willing they are to take risks in the process of learning, which includes being self-expressive artistically. Nathalie also talks about how students internalize language through the body (e.g., making the shape of a mountain while saying the word “mountain”) and that using movement for learning is a form of differentiated instruction. She uses techniques such as mime, shaping, mirroring, charades, yoga, tableau, action songs, and dance for storytelling to bring movement and language together. She also uses teaching strategies (e.g., see, think, wonder) that get students out of their seats and moving to aid the thinking process. What is very clear in this interview is how movement creates engagement, joy, and fun when learning a new language. When Nathalie teaches, she takes her students on a journey. 

For more information on Nathalie Lauriault: 
Twitter: @nattylauriault

Inquiry in the Elementary Classroom: 
Education to Save the World: 
Learning that Transfers: 

Recommended Books
The Learning Challenge by James Nottingham
Making Thinking Visible by Ritchhart, Church and Morrison
Tools for Teaching Conceptual Understanding ( Elementary) by Stern, Lauriault Ferraro 
Tools for Teaching Conceptual Understanding ( Secondary) by Stern, Ferraro Mohnkern 
Visible learning Feedback by Hattie and Clarke


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