Undergraduate senior Erin Fell receives TAF Thesis Research Scholarship
Erin Fell, Honors College undergraduate researcher and CHSE Distinguished Scholar, was awarded a Tiger Athletic Foundation Thesis Research scholarship for her research project titled, “Tactile Manipulatives, Color Coding and Storytelling as Effective Strategies for Improving Second Language Fluency.”
Fell is a senior studying French Secondary Education. She is graduating in May 2016 from the College of Humanities & Social Sciences with her teacher certification from the School of Education.
“Erin’s research is focused on meaningful learning in French. Research indicates that students learn better when the content is meaningful,” said Dr. Calderon, School of Education Assistant Director and Coordinator/Instructor, Foreign Language Education. “French is a heritage language in Louisiana. By focusing on meaningful learning, she is also increasing interest and love for learning French, thus keeping the language alive in Louisiana. Not only will Erin be able to publish her research, but she will also be able to use this research in her own secondary grades French classroom. Likewise, Erin’s colleagues will be able to use her techniques and discoveries in their classrooms creating a culture of enthusiastic teaching and learning.”
Dr. Calderon describes Fell’s enthusiasm for French and for teaching as “infectious.”
Fluent in French, Fell has studied abroad at L'Institut des Etudes Politiques, Aix-en-Provence, during the 2013-2014 academic year and earned the Certificat des Etudes Politiques for the rigorous French as a Foreign Language and Political Science coursework. She has also interned with the National World War II Museum's Normandy Academy Program as a mentor, translator and cultural guide for a group of high school and university students as they travelled through Normandy, France doing on-site learning about WWII.
The purpose of Fell’s research project is to determine whether certain alternative foreign language teaching methods, such as sentence building with tactile manipulatives, color coding, and storytelling, improve language learners’ French fluency in terms of correctness, complexity, and confidence.
Her study involves LSU students enrolled in FREN 1002. Fell will conduct two-hour supplemental tutoring sessions per week. At these sessions, she will review, clarify, and preview material to be covered in the FREN 1002 students’ classes. She will use sentence building with tactile manipulatives, which are physical representations of grammatical features that are touched, moved and combined to demonstrate grammatical concepts, color-coding, and storytelling to communicate and explain material.
To test the effects of her methods on students’ language learning in terms of correctness and complexity, she will conduct pre- and post-activities, including written feedback surveys. These surveys will show students’ attitudes and confidence. Fell will analyze this data to conclude if a positive, negative, or neutral effect is produced on the FREN 1002 students’ French fluency.
Currently Fell is working solely with LSU students enrolled in FREN 1002, but is collaborating with Dr. Paula Summers Calderon, her Ogden Thesis Director, and Mme. Michèle Braud of Baton Rouge Magnet High School to expand the research project to Mme. Braud’s French classes.
The Tiger Athletic Foundation Undergraduate Scholarship supporting Thesis research in the Honors College provides $750 for thesis research expenses.