Sandra Simmons


Lesson Fees
from $48.00 / 45 Minutes

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Passionate about French language, culture, and the broader francophone community, I have been a professor and teacher for over 20 years. I also lived in France for 10 years while working in the music business for an independent record label. While teaching high school, I taught all levels of French, including 4AP and French 5 along with French 1 for absolute beginners. One year I taught at a French university in Tours, l'Université de François Rabelais, in the music school (la conservatoire), giving English lessons to a group of jazz musicians. I am a fan of opera, which I taught about in a graduate level class at the University of Texas at Arlington, focusing on the adaptation of French plays to theater and opera. I have worked with singers both individually and collectively in choirs on how to sing French correctly, working on French phonetics, sung poems (such as Baudelaire and Mallarmé), and using phrasing to emphasize certain semantic aspects of French song (Fauré, Debussy, etc.). During my time in the music business, in addition to managing the international sales of our catalog, I also wrote some songs that were used in French films and worked as a speaker for various advertisements in Lille and Paris. For those who are creatively minded, my skills and experiences will provide you with excellent, personalized learning options. 

When I teach a subject, I center my approach on assisting student  learning through participation. No matter your level, we will work together to find ways to enrich what you care about, expand your horizons, and fine-tune your abilities during each session. I have extensive education in the French language. I started my post-secondary education experience in the liberal arts at the University of Texas at Austin, with a major in French language and two minors, one in history and the other in music theory. I also studied art history during those years. My master of arts degree from the University of North Texas in Denton is in French literature, option master's thesis, with a minor in Spanish for research. I earned my PhD in contemporary French poetry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, from a stellar  literature department.  My experience at UW-Madison includes several years of teaching introductory, intermediate, and accelerated French language and culture  courses through a highly reputable program for second-language acquisition pedagogy. As for my own personal style, I think you will find me to be your best partner in learning French because my approach is anchored in current pedagogical methods. But more than that, I care about sharing my passion! I hope you will find my online courses engaging from any of these perspectives!

University degrees: PhD in contemporary French poetry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison; MA in French Literature from the University of North Texas; BA in French from the University of Texas at Austin. Professional memberships: SACEM (Société des Auteurs, Compositeurs, et Editeurs de Musique) since 1995; SPEDIDAM (Société de perception et de distribution des droits des artistes-interprètes) since 1995; Amis de Pontigny-Cerisy (association serving the Centre Culturel International de Cerisy-la-Salle) since 2001; MLA (Modern Language Association) since 2007; ACTFL (American Council of the Teaching of Foreign Languages) since 2005; NLSC (National Language Service Corps) since 2010; AATF (American Association of Teachers of French) since 2013.

I use ACTFL standards to gauge student progress and have used a variety of online platforms to encourage learning, combining receptive skills (reading and listening) with production (speaking and using gestures to negotiate meaning). While at Highland Park High School in Dallas, Texas, I trained in using STEAM for innovative thinking, developing my own personalized approach to integrating this communicative, empathy-building process for language learners. My educational background has given me the chance to elaborate on my teaching philosophy, but classroom and online teaching have provided results where I see students grow in their own expertise and confidence.

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