These free interactive education programs for students of all ages are based around American art exhibitions and performances taking place in Paris and are led by trained art educators. Look & Learn programs aim to broaden French students’ appreciation of American art and culture while creating a friendly environment where students feel comfortable expressing themselves in English.
The feedback on these tours has been extremely enthusiastic:
“(…) I am convinced that having a “native speaker” run the tours is an incredible added value. A linguistic exchange is immediately created encouraging the students to express themselves in English on issues that are relevant to an American context. This is the second year that I work with Danielle Berger Fortin and Madeline Diaz and the quality and nature of their approach revolutionizes our way of teaching.(…)”
Sonia El Khalfi-Abusalha, Professeur d’Anglais, Collège Jean Jaurès, Montreuil, décembre, 2015
Main mediator of the Look & Learn program
Can you tell us more about you and your career path, your professional experience?
I was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New York City. I hold a BA in Art History and Theatre Arts from Brown University and an MA in Museum Anthropology from Columbia University. Before moving to Paris, I worked as an educator in numerous museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Frick Collection, and the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, the National Design Museum, where I was in charge of youth programs.
The program is entirely in English regardless of the students’ language abilities. How do you make art accessible for students? Do you have any specific tools/methods regarding the English language for French speaking audiences?
We promote a friendly environment where students feel comfortable speaking and asking questions about vocabulary. Because Look & Learn focuses on American art and
culture, we spend a significant amount of time discussing American history and culture to contextualize each work of art. We privilege students’ thoughts and opinions above all while acknowledging the challenge of expressing oneself in a foreign language.
What are your hopes and ambitions for the future of “Look & Learn”?
The Mona Bismarck American Center and I are currently developing the Look & Learn program and are constantly on the lookout for new partners wishing to get involved in the promotion of American culture and art in France.
Our main goal is to deepen our impact on each student’s experience by creating files for teachers to help them prepare the guided tours in the classroom beforehand. We also hope to consolidate the Look & Learn program by ensuring follow-up after the tours, through workshops supervised by an educator.