EHS Teacher Brings French Culture To Classroom

Eureka— After spending three weeks this summer in a French linguistic institute for teachers, Jenny Trewartha is feeling energized and is using new teaching techniques with her students at Eureka High School.

Trewartha received a grant through the California Language Teachers Association and the French government to participate in a three-week course in France for French teachers from around the world. The group totaled 200 people including 10 from the United States and just three French teachers from California.

She lived and studied in Besançon in eastern France, near Switzerland. “Besançon is a town that was built during the Renaissance,” remarked Trewartha. “It resembles Humboldt with its rivers, mountains and greenery.”

The goal of the course was “to broaden our knowledge of French language and culture as well as training in pedagogy,” said Trewartha. “I took six hours of classes a day and in the evening attended and participated in various cultural activities.”

Trewartha was inspired by a class she took on integrating music, rhythm and movement in the classroom. “By teaching vocabulary through song, students learn so much more about a culture. I feel I can give my students a better understanding of French culture after this experience.”

During her stay, war broke out between Israel and Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon. “It was really interesting to be collaborating with Israelis, Lebanese, and Iraqis together in the same room when the attacks began. It was a transformative experience on many levels. Our conversation started with politics and the war, then moved beyond politics to friendship.”

Trewartha has taught French at Eureka High School for six years and has built the school’s French program to include the administration of the Advanced Placement exam into the French IV curriculum.