My journey as a secondary science teacher candidate at UVIC

Category: Free Inquiry

Final Inquiry Update

As we approach the end of the semester, I thought I would do a summary post of my danish accomplishments thus far! In looking back on my first few inquiry posts, I certainly have made some progress in the world of the danish language, but have plenty more still to learn. The reality is that this semester has left less time to do things outside of school than I had initially predicted, but nonetheless I have managed to integrate this new language routine into my life. I am proud of my ability to have stuck with my language learning and I am happy to have developed a habit that I plan to keep up in the future.

I have created a summary document on Canva sharing my danish learning journey throughout this semester!

As I reflect back on this inquiry project, I will admit I was bit skeptical of how it would all pan out at the start! Being someone who really appreciates structure, I found the lack of scaffolding a bit paralyzing at first, but it forced me develop my own. Through the use of Trello as well as my own handwritten lists upon lists and a well organized planner, I was able to plan out and develop my own structure for the project. As a future teacher, this experience has given me insight into what an inquiry project might feel like for students. On one hand the freedom is liberating and exciting, and on the other it also is a bit overwhelming!

I am grateful that this class gave me a justified reason to set time aside to learn something I am passionate about. I can say without a doubt, that had I not had the accountability of this inquiry project, I would not have started learning danish again this semester. What I have discovered though is that even 5 minutes a day is progress and as cheesy as it sounds, it really has fed a part of my soul that I would otherwise have neglected. Perhaps that is the real advantage of an inquiry project! Moving forward, I plan to keep up my danish learning! I am still a ways away from where I would like to get with the language but I have definitely made some progress and look forward to improving! In the near future I am looking forward to spending a Danish Christmas with my family, partaking in all of the danish traditions over the holidays, and maybe even muttering a few words of Danish along the way!

Farvel og glaedelig jul!

Week 10: Inquiry Update- Back to the basics

This is a typical page in my journal!

This week I thought I would share something non tech-oriented but that has certainly helped me along with my danish learning the last couple of months! Alongside my Duolingo lessons, I have also kept a small book with me that jot down any rules, vocabulary etc. as I go. This has been really helpful for me to refer back to as I go along or when I go back to do a review lesson. As much as Duolingo does build on itself, there is a lot to remember and having a reference to look and catalogue my learning has been incredibly helpful!

For those of you who have been following along, you will know that I have been loving many of the features of Duolingo! My one complaint has been that you end up figuring out some of the grammatical rules on your own.  Rather than outlining the rules they are taught through examples. That is where having this book to record as I go and note the trends I see is really helpful! In doing this it does help for sure that I have learnt french before, so I am familiar with the language learning process. Nevertheless, I would highly recommend accompanying any language learning with some form of journal or notebook!

Furthermore as I move forward beyond this inquiry project and perhaps beyond Duolingo as I progress, I hope this book will prove to be a valuable resource for myself in my danish learning journey!

 

Inquiry Update 9: Can you really translate ‘Hygge’?

Hygge: a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture).

Pronounced: hyoo·guh

If you have perused any pinterest pages, bookstores or lifestyle blogs lately, you most likely have come across the word ‘hygge’. You can even buy a book on how to live hygge!

But what does ‘hygge’ really mean? A quick google search reveals the oxford language dictionary definition presented above which by all means accounts for much of what hygge means, but it is also a word that in my experience truly doesn’t exist in the english vocabulary. I grew up in a house where there was simply nothing better than being hyggeligt and the word hygge was used frequently. Although certainly enjoyable a hygge practice is much more intentional than lighting candles, cozy blankets. Hygge in my experience is much more about the practice of coming together and sharing homemade goods and conversation in the company of one another. The coziness of being comfortable and sharing space and time together. It is an informal and comfortable way of being, so yes it might involve some cozy knitted garments and blankets, alongside a calming interior Scandinavian design, candles and the works, but it is built on the foundation of connection.

For me growing up hygge times were often when my family was all at home and we had the opportunity to slow down and be in each others company. Frequently this was at the end of the day after dinner over a homemade desert and coffee, or on quiet Sunday afternoon after a weekend full of activities. Usually we were all curled up in our own spots in the living room but we were all together. Some days we might all be engaged in conversation, other times we might be in our own worlds, but we were always intentionally together. Even our dogs learned the cues for hygge time. Like us, they also enjoyed a treat at this time, an as a result, all of our dogs growing up and to this day know that once my mom turns the coffee machine on in the evening, it is a sure sign that they are getting a treat! Once they get their treat the dog always joins us in the living room too, curled up in their bed or on a lap!

So what does this all mean?

When it comes to practicing hygge, I do highly recommend it! But don’t feel as though you need to go and redesign your entire home! Hygge is much more about the time spent together in a comfortable and in some might say ‘cozy’ way. It is about sharing homemade goods collectively and enjoying these experiences together. It is a chance to be grounded and centred in the company of others.

I speak about hygge in more of an experience form rather than purely definition based because I truly don’t know if the word translates to english. It is an example of how culture can come to form a language! It is also a reminder that to truly learn a language, it helps to immersed in the culture! Fortunately, I have had this experience to some extent through my mom growing up but I would love to spend some time in Denmark fully embracing the culture and the language together!

And with that I hope I can inspire you all to find that hyggeligt feeling in your day to day! It is a practice that truly nourishes your soul!

Photo by Erol Ahmed on Unsplash

Inquiry update: Progress Report (Week 7 & 8)

The last few weeks have been pretty stressful and busy with the culmination of many projects and due dates at this point in the semester. All that to say, I have neglected the blogging sphere a bit with my free inquiry updates. Despite my lack of blogging about it though, the Danish learning is continuing! I proudly reached a 50 day streak of learning on Duolingo and I am certainly getting a better grasp of how the language works grammatically!

                       

I also finished the first block of lessons and have moved onto the 2nd block!

To this date I have completed the following lessons:

  • Basics 1
  • Basics 2
  • Phrases
  • Food
  • Animals
  • Definites
  • Plurals
  • Genitive

I have started to pick away at many of the lessons within the second block and look forward to making some solid progress on those! I continue to watch Brogen and am still far from truly understanding what they are saying but certain words pop out to me more and more. As I reflect on this inquiry project, I am thankful for the accountability it has provided me to really commit to something I have wanted to do for a while! In an incredibly busy school program such as this one, I am proud to have kept this habit going and look forward to keeping it going beyond this class!

Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

Inquiry Update 6: Other language learning apps

I have been very loyal and committed to my Duolingo app, but this week I thought I would try to explore some of the other apps that are out there! Now, unfortunately it appears as though Danish is not one of the most popular languages to learn so not all language apps support it but there are still several options out there to check out! Now admittedly, I am very committed to keeping my daily streak going on duolingo and do not currently have the time to fully check out all of these apps on top of my current daily danish habit but I have listed some options that are out there!

Babbel

Babbel, unlike Duolingo is not a free app although it does offer a free 7 day trial before you commit. Beyond that 7 day period it varies in cost from $9.99/month to $19.99/month depending on your subscription choice. Now, although this in the grand scheme of things isn’t a huge monthly cost, (many of us probably spend equal to or more on this a month in coffees out or through our Netflix subscriptions), it is definitely more costly than many of the other language apps out there. That being said, it does offer more flexibility in terms of your own learning design and a unique conversation platform within the app. In searching for apps, I also found it repeatedly recommended, which to me is a good sign.

Drops

Drops like Duolingo has a free and premium version (of note, there is a teacher and student discount). The premium version offers unlimited play time, lacks adds and has a few additional features to the app. Drops is highly vocabulary based, and uses visuals combined with words to teach you new words in the language of your choice. As such I think this would be a good starting app to learn a language from which you could develop a good vocabulary base to then take to a more advanced course or app. That being said, in my experience Duolingo does a good job of teaching you vocabulary alongside grammar so I think I would continue to recommend this over the Drops app if the learning intention is to get a good grasp on the language outside of vocabulary. The one feature that I eel really sets Drops apart is its travel specific category that can help you learn some of the more common phrases to know if you are travelling to that country. That travel application could be very useful when visiting a new country.

Mondly

Mondly is in many ways quite similar to duolingo in that it teaches you vocabulary and grammar simultaneously. It has a premium version which allows you to unlock further categories out of the learning sequence, but otherwise you can access it for free. It includes a conversation practice feature within the app which is a nice feature as well as something that Duolingo lacks at this time!

 

Now these are only a few of the apps available, as I mentioned there are many options out there and if you are choosing to learn a language I would recommend trying out a few as some might work better for you than others. Here are a few more that you can check out further if you are so inclined:

  • HelloTalk– an entirely conversation based app
  • OptiLingo– focuses on high frequency phases to learn first
  • Innovative Language 101– Learn a language through audio and video lessons
  • Rosetta Stone– A very comprehensive monthly subscription-based language course app

And if you want to really dive into and commit to a full language course: here are two online learning courses for danish!

Inquiry Update 5: My Danish Network

Learning danish, continues to go well, although it is a slow process as with any language! However, I remain optimisitic and committed to my daily learning habit! As I start to progress a bit more in the language I am reflecting a bit on on my own network of danish speakers with whom I might be able to do some practicing with. Most notably, I have my mom, who is my main motivation for learning the language and the heart of danish in my life! We have already started some danish conversations on the phone, but she loses me pretty quickly! I look forward to returning home for Christmas or perhaps even for reading break to share some in person language conversing together. I can also partake in her danish community there! My most immediate connection to Denmark as a country lies in the family I have there! My cousin, who I grew up with in Vancouver, now lives in Copenhagen with his wife and child! With a little cousin who is growing up quickly I hope to make several trips over there to visit with that part of my family in the future! Although their little one will likely grow up to speak english and danish,  as both of his parents do I would love to be able to converse with him in danish! Other people in my network include one my best friends, who like me is the daughter of a danish mother and knows the language a bit through travelling there growing up!

Outside of my immediate circle, I would like to explore some opportunities to connect with other Danes here in Victoria! In a quick google search, I found that there is in fact a Danish Social Club of Victoria!  I am not sure how much danish speaking happens at their meetings, but I know that I will love being surrounded by the familiar danish culture I grew up with. Unfortunately, much of their usual meetings are not happening due to Covid-19, but I will definitely look to engage with this club once things get a bit more back to normal!

As I reflect on the people in my life who make learning this language meaningful, I am increasingly motivated to stick with it! The prospect of engaging with a greater danish community is exciting too!

Week 4: Inquiry Updates, a habit I can get used to!

These little guys are found in many danish households! Assuming this danish language thing goes well I think I will pick one up for my own home next time I am in Denmark!

This last week was admittedly a tough one! We are into October and the semester is in full swing, there doesn’t feel as though there are enough hours in the day and there are many assignments and due dates on the horizon! I have managed to keep my daily danish habit going though! I had my own apprehensions about taking on learning a language while doing this program, however I have been pleasantly surprised at the ease with which duolingo makes things. I know I have mentioned it before but the daily reminder is a life saver! It keeps me on schedule and the app itself is very encouraging to use! On the days when I feel like my to-do list has grown rather than shrunk, I still feel as though I can see real progress in my danish learning. It is also just so simple to use! I start most of my mornings doing my danish while I drink my coffee and I have to say I don’t mind the routine at all! I am still working through the levels of the 3 lessons I had focused on last week but progress is progress!

On top of duolingo I also started watching Brogen on Netflix. It is a danish TV show which I watch in danish with english subtitles. For the most part I rely heavily on the subtitles but it is nice to hear the language and I do pick up on the occasional word here and there! On top of that it is actually a pretty good show! If you are into political dramas, I would highly recommend, even if you have no interest in the danish language! I think that moving forward I would like to start exploring other opportunities to practice my danish! I would like to try reading a bit of danish, although obviously nothing too complicated! Maybe start with some kids books or comics!

Until next week! Farvel og Glædelig Thanksgiving! 

Fun Fact: Thanksgiving is not a holiday in Denmark, therefore there is not a danish word for it!

 

Inquiry Update 3: Making Progress in danish

I am happy to report that my danish is indeed coming along! I am still far from calling myself evenly remotely competent at it but I am quite happy with the progress I have made in the last week! I am finding it quite manageable to spend about 10-15min on it a day and complete a few lessons in that time. It helps that duolingo reminds me to keep my learning going daily as life is pretty busy these days! All in all though I am enjoying learning it and progressing through the lessons! I accomplished much more than I thought I would this week which makes me excited for the progress I can make moving forward!

 

 

As you can see I have “mastered” the following lessons:

  • Basics 1
  • Basics 2
  • Phrases
  • Food
  • Animals

I am currently working on:

  • Definites
  • Plurals
  • Genetive

I am excited to move beyond the vocabulary a bit and learn a bit about the grammar and mechanics of the language in terms of reading and writing. It is becoming clear to me that at some point I am going to have to start speaking and listening to danish a bit more so stay tuned for what that might look like! In the meantime I am going to continue to work on the developing using duolingo as it is working well for me right now!

In going with my theme of ridiculous phrases I had to translate for the week this one made me laugh pretty hard! I suppose hydration is important for all!

Until next time! Farvel!

Week 2: Inquiry project beginnings

Kvinden og drengen spiser brødet.

(The girl and the boy are eating the bread.)

Well that is pretty much the extent of danish for me right now! Okay, well to be fair to myself, I do know a bit more than that but my ability to say anything of great use in society remains limited! Alas, we all start somewhere!

Full disclosure, this is my second real attempt at learning danish. In 2018, I travelled to Denmark with my mom for the first time to celebrate my cousin’s wedding! It was an amazing trip and I fell in love with the country! In preparation for the trip I thought I would try to learn some danish and downloaded the Duolingo app. I grasped some basics, but ultimately much of the language I picked up was while I was in Denmark. My mom is fluent in the language and was an excellent guide as I navigated the streets and bakeries in Copenhagen.  I came back having soaked up more of the language but without much holding me accountable eventually my duolingo habit was no more.

I am not sure as of yet what other resources might be out there to learn danish and I intend on exploring those further through this inquiry but for now I have downloaded my duolingo app again, and I have gone through the Basics 1 lessons. With so many new things to navigate these days it was nice to touch base with something familiar to restart my danish language journey on. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Duolingo it is a free language learning app that you can download and whatever device you choose.

As you can see on my app, I have a bunch of lesson categories which I can click on to further explore and learn. For some of the later lessons I will need to complete previous categories to unlock them. As for now I have reviewed ‘Basics 1’ and I look forward to tackling ‘Basics 2’ this week and maybe even a few more categories!

My Current lesson progress, and future lessons

Danish to English

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A pronunciation test

Auditory translation test

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The app is incredibly easy to use and provides you many different modes of learning. For example in some questions you translate danish to english, in others you translate english to danish and in some questions you have to practice your pronunciation. Overall, it really does give you a lot of different avenues to practice your skills.  Another great feature of the app is the daily goals and reminders you can set for yourself to remind yourself to spend a bit of time learning your language. You can also add friends who are also using duolingo and see their progress learning their language too! If you want to get competitive you can even challenge each other to spend more time or earn more experience points!

As someone who was in late french immersion, I have only ever learnt a language in a true full immersion experience so I will admit that I am a bit skeptical of truly being able to learn a language this way. For this reason I will certainly be exploring other resources that might help to facilitate long term learning, and once I get my feet on the ground I would love to be able to practice conversing with my mom! After all, she is a big reason I am on this journey in the first place! I look forward to further exploring this world and I am grateful to have both this blog and my Trello board to help me organize my progress and thoughts as I go along!

Until next time! Farvel!

Welcome, reflections and inquiry

Hello Friends!

Welcome to my blog where I hope to share my journey as a science teacher candidate in the PDPP program at the University of Victoria. How this blog will look exactly, will likely evolve as I move through this fall and but there are a few things you can be sure to hear from me here! First off, my reflections and experiences as a I move through my course work and field experience and secondly an inquiry project I will be exploring this fall semester. Full disclosure this is my first blog and my first blogpost so hopefully both you and I will see an evolution in my blog as I explore and learn further through the process of blogging!

A bit about me! 

I am a Westcoast girl at heart and a lover of this beautiful coast that I am so fortunate to reside on! On that note, I would like to acknowledge with respect that I will be blogging and experiencing my education at UVIC from the traditional territories of the Lkwungen, Songhees, Esquimalt and W̱SÁNEĆ people whose historical relationships with the land continue to this day.

I grew up on the Westcoast of Canada where to this day I play in the mountains and along our coastline. As the daughter of two fisheries biologists who prioritized family camping trips over other vacations, I had the opportunity to have many meaningful moments along salmon spawning streams, collecting kelp along the beach, exploring tide pools and hiking among alpine meadow flowers. Outside the gratitude for rubber boots and rain gear, as these were rain or shine adventures, I developed a deep gratitude for our natural world, the ecosystem we inhabit and an appreciation for science based explanations to my many questions and observations. As I moved into my undergrad in biology and earth and ocean sciences I fell in love with my ecology and oceanography classes and those classes that applied science into topics such as conservation biology, resource management and climate science. In a day where information behind issues like Climate Change are cloudier then they should be for many individuals in society I feel fortunate to have received the access to an education that allowed me to comprehend the severity and need for action on such an issue. And yet, it is also frustrating that not everyone had this opportunity to learn science in a way that allowed them to apply it to real world issues. I hope that as I enter the teaching profession as a science teacher I can inspire and empower students to ask tough questions, think critically about what they are hearing and to use their science education confidently in both it’s purest forms and applied manners as they move through their daily life. Not every student wants to grow up and be a scientist, that is okay, but I hope that every student will be able to take the most valuable lessons of a science education and apply it  into whatever they do next!

Week 1 Reflection

As I sit and write this, I have just finished my first week as a teacher candidate! Hard to believe it has only been a week as I reflect over the volume of new material, new ways of learning, new people, new resources and more that were packed into my last seven days! As I sit here after my first field experience day and now having had each of my 6 classes, I am feel excited, grateful and a whole lot less anxious than I was a week ago! I have thought about education in ways I have never thought of before and I have been pushed outside my comfort zone on numerous occasions whether that is navigating this new virtual classroom we are existing in due to Covid-19 or the many new technology hubs I have added to my repertoire. It has been a week, a good one even if at times overwhelming but I am sure of a few things. Firstly, this program is for me, I am in the right place and doing what feels right for me. Secondly, I am going to learn and grow in so many diverse ways! And last but not least,  connection with peers, teachers and professors will be essential to making this journey the most engaging and fulfilling. This community I am starting to build will be something special!

An Inquiry project?

For my tech education course, I have a term inquiry project on which I can do pretty much anything I would like to do! This is both a blessing and a curse as I have the tendency to be overwhelmed by the dilemma of just too many options and also feeling as though I have none at the same time! That being said, I have one area of inquisition that I am leaning towards. It involves me, my danish heritage and the danish language which I have longed to speak for a long time. In many ways, my mother raised me and my siblings aligned with the danish ways in which she was raised. For example, we ate a lot of danish food, I was the owner of many danish wooden clogs, we celebrated Christmas the danish way and she peppered our lives with the ‘hygge’ principals and many danish sayings. As the eldest sibling, she spoke almost all danish to me from a young age unless my dad was present, who like me speaks but a touch of danish. This lasted, until one day when I was 4 years old and looked up to her and asked her to “please be quiet”!  To this day I would like to tell 4 year old me that I should be the one to “listen and please be quiet!” Alas, it was an uphill battle for my poor mother to teach me and the rest of my family danish! I tell you this story because my mom is a big reason behind my motivation to embark on this specific topic. Although my mom is beyond competent speaking english there is something that lights up in her when she speaks danish! I saw this same spark inside her as I travelled to Denmark with her for the first time a couple of years ago. It would make me so proud and happy to be able to converse with her and share more of Denmark with her!

How this looks in the form of my inquiry project specifically I am still trying to figure out! Without a doubt I will not be able to master the danish language in the next four months, but I would love to make progress on that front and develop a learning practice that I can carry forward beyond my ed-tech class. Alongside, learning the language I think it will be important to explore and learn more about danish culture, society and values. This may involve cooking some of my favourite danish meals that my mom makes, exploring and implicating some danish lifestyle philosophies and who knows what else! I will certainly be giving this some more thought as I embark on this inquiry! First step is probably to redownload my duolingo app! Wish me luck!

 

Until next time!

-E

 

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