April 26 2019
On Monday, April 7th, Atholton’s French 4 and 5 classes went on a field trip to the National Gallery of Art to examine French art, which was a unit learned during French 4 to explore French vocabulary and history. In the past couple of years, there have been less language field trips due to new rules that do not allow what used to be an annual trip to Quebec.
Ms. Cassard searched for a new location for a field trip because of this, hoping to be able to combine education with engagement. The students on the trip were rewarded by this experience for making it so far in French, or that they were in SHF, the national honors society for French students. Some members of SHF might not still take French, but use this club as an opportunity to continue their learning.
The field trip began with the bus ride to the museum, where they immediately began a 75 minute tour of the French art. The large group was split into three, where each would see the same art in different orders, but all learning about realism, escapism, and expressionism or impressionism. The group got the chance to interpret each painting and ask the question of why each brush stroke was made.
Senior Emily Bickel, who now takes French 5 AP, was thrilled to go on a French field trip, never having the opportunity before. She explained that the reason for the lack of field trips in this department might be because it “doesn’t get enough attention.” Bickel went on to say she’d be “interested in more.”
Junior Nidhi Baxi is in the French 4 class, where they just finished a unit on French art. She attributes the reason for the field trip to this, saying, “our class was already learning about it.” She said she might be interested in learning more, saying she was “more interested in the French art culture” after her experience.
Victoria Adler, another student in French 4, felt the visit to the museum improved the education she had already experienced in the classroom, adding that “seeing [the paintings] in person was honestly really impressive.”
The French field trip appears to have gone smoothly; students had different interpretations of the experience, but all of them learned and expanded their minds in a real-world context. The future of French field trips is brimming with possibilities.