Redlands East Valley French teacher explores French culture with students

Redlands East Valley French teacher Jennifer Baldwin goes over student responses in her French I class on Tuesday, Feb. 26. In this lesson, Baldwin reviews conjugation of French verbs in the present tense. (ELLA FITZPATRICK/ Ethic Photo)


As a young adult, it is always difficult to decide what career to pursue. Choosing to be a teacher might not always be a young adult’s first choice; it wasn’t Madame Baldwin’s first choice, but her love of French culture and language inspired her to explore and teach high school students this alluring language.

In high school, Baldwin had no intention to take up the French Language, but her sister insisted that she should, which sparked her passion. When she graduated from California State University, San Bernardino with a French major, a teaching position was available, so she thought she would explore her options. Eighteen years later, she is providing new experiences for her students and is also the advisor of the French club.

As Baldwin became more passionate about learning more about the language and culture of France, she decided to study a year abroad during her senior year of college in Aix, a city in Southern France. It was here where she really embedded herself into the French culture and “got better at [her] own abilities and confidence in French.”

As a result of her studies in the country, she has now gotten more involved with teaching and encouraging students to learn more. She has also found opportunities to work in France over the summers through a program organized by the Council of International Educational Exchange, and she travels with her students to help familiarize them more with both the language and culture that they have been studying.

CIEE’s program allows students and teachers to come together to explore cultures and languages. By studying or working abroad with students, says Baldwin, participants exchange ideas and experiences “to build bridges between individuals and communities.” This organization gives students the opportunity to expand their knowledge about all of the cultures and languages around the world.

Sophomore Lilian Mohr said, “Her class is a good balance of learning the French language but also being exposed to the French culture, learning about foreign exchange programs to be part of, and learning the importance of being bilingual.”

When Baldwin had first started teaching, she had no experience teaching a class, so for the first couple of years she attended night school and got her credentials and masters in education. “Experience is definitely the thing you learn the most from,” Baldwin said. By being put into classroom situations and working with students, she has put herself onto a straight path. Even now she is still learning new ways to teach more effectively.

Over the years Baldwin has gone on many indelible adventures, but these adventures are what inspired her to encourage her students to explore new cultures.  Everyday Baldwin enjoys interacting and teaching this foreign language and culture to her students.

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