What follows is a set of departmental evaluations of my teaching at Brown University; it includes three evaluations written by three different professors on beginner, intermediate, and advanced classes. I have reproduced them entirely in reverse chronological order. A complete set is available upon request at French_Studies@brown.edu.
My teaching has not been formally evaluated since I have left graduate school. However, I was fortunate to have colleagues attend my classes both at Gettysburg College (2012) and at Wellesley College (2014). Florence Ramond-Jurney (Gettysburg College) and Catherine Masson (Wellesley College) have given me extensive feedback on my teaching; they wrote me letters of recommendation that I believe detail their impressions of my teaching. I can forward those letters upon request via interfolio.
Advanced written and oral French. French Heroes and Mythologies. Brown university, Spring 2010 (see syllabus and students' evaluations)
Date: May, 2010
To: Virginia Krause, Graduate Student Advisor
Report on Pauline De Tholozany’s teaching performance, French Heroes and Mythologies.
This semester, Pauline taught a section of FREN1510 (Advanced Written and Oral French) and her performance was excellent. The course, which was entitled “French Heroes and Mythologies”, explored various figures of French culture that have attained mythical status and which have helped shape contemporary France. Along with select incursions into visual art and film, this course, which was designed by Pauline herself, focused on heroic characters in literature, as well as on heroic figures in history, politics, sports… The objective of this course was twofold: helping students develop high-level proficiency while introducing the concept of heroism within French culture. It offered a compelling window onto the making of contemporary France, and was, for all these reasons, a very strong addition to our program. I would add that this was the first time the Department entrusted a Graduate Student with this advanced a course.
When I visited Pauline’s class, I arrived a few minutes before the beginning of the class. Pauline, who was already in her classroom, took advantage of this extra time to discuss with her students, and to inquire about the difficulties they encountered while preparing for class. She made sure the materials were well-suited for the class, and discussed the day’s assignment. My first impression was that Pauline cared deeply about her students, and that she constantly tried to follow individual students’ progress to ensure students receive all the support and encouragement they needed. This first impression was confirmed by the first part of her class, which was devoted to the correction of their second composition.
Guided by a PowerPoint presentation and accompanying worksheet, students had been asked to engage in individual editing practice while at home, which in turn prepared them to engage in constructive peer-editing of classmates’ written work while in class. This first activity gave me a general idea of the types of teaching and assessment methods Pauline uses. After class, she also showed me the written comments that she had given the students along with their grades for Composition 2. Her comments were thorough and detailed, and her extensive feedback on papers was extremely useful: not only did she provide her students with personalized advice on how to improve their writing skills, but she also pushed them to become more critical thinkers, while providing generous encouragement.
Pauline’s PowerPoint presentation also gave me a general idea of how she uses technology, inside the class, but also outside of its walls. All the materials for the course (syllabus, calendar, online resources, grammar-related documents…) were centralized on the class web site, which served as a constant resource for students and from which they could download and print all the materials prior to class. The class web site contained a myriad of information: it provided links to documents used in class (such as the above-mentioned PowerPoint presentation), as well as links to web sites relevant to class materials, providing students with easy access to a wide range of authentic documents. Her class website was both visually appealing and user-friendly, and contained a wealth of information, which shows that Pauline really knows how to use technology to enhance her teaching.
The second part of the class was devoted to the study of a play, namely Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand. In order to assess reading comprehension, Pauline first divided her class into small groups and asked her students to discuss their answers to the questions they had to prepare before class. Then, she conducted a discussion with the entire class and encouraged her students to develop their own original interpretation of the text by building upon their close-reading and interpretative skills. She skillfully led the discussion, and enabled them, by providing them with literary, historical, and cultural references, to further explore the notion of heroism in the French context and to reflect upon the cultural and social underpinnings of heroism.
I found that the general atmosphere of the class was stimulating and demanding, and that students responded extremely positively. It is clear, from what I have seen, that Pauline knows how to engage her students in challenging discussions while encouraging innovative thinking. It is obvious that Pauline is very knowledgeable in her field, and that students benefit greatly from her teaching. In short, I was impressed with her effective teaching methods, as well as with her wonderful presence and outgoing personality. Pauline is an inspirational teacher: she is generous, charismatic, and passionate, and she teaches with – to quote Cyrano de Bergerac – great panache!
Writing and Speaking French II. Brown University, Fall 2008 (see students' evaluations)
Date: November 28, 2008
To: Virginia Krause, Graduate Student Advisor
Report on Pauline De Tholozany’s teaching performance, Semester 1, 2008-09 (Advanced French II)
Pauline taught a section of FR600 under my supervision this semester, and overall I am very pleased with her work. She is organized, punctual, thoughtful and imaginative in her teaching, which she approaches with intelligence and dedication. She is also a great colleague with whom it is easy and pleasant to work. I visited Pauline’s FR600 class on October 8. As I already mentioned it two years ago, she has an active, engaging style and a respectful and friendly rapport with students.
Prior to the beginning of the class, while the 17 students were getting ready, she set up her computer and played some French song, therefore using her time effectively and establishing a warm ambiance. During the class, her explanations were good, and the students were relaxed, although attentive, and very active in terms of participation (with her and among themselves). Her group activities were well prepared, and it was obvious that the students were used to them. I found a good balance between teacher explanations, large group work and small group work. Pauline likes to use technology in her class, and switches easily from Power Point to video or music. I complimented her also for writing words on the blackboard, which helped those who do not have a very good aural comprehension. After class, we talked about her lesson. I had no negative comments, only suggestions on how to improve the way she delivered her work. For instance, I asked her to reassure the students by letting them know more clearly how each exercise will be done.
I would like to add that we met every week for two hours, and corresponded heavily by email. Throughout the semester, Pauline has shared many of her good ideas with her 2 colleagues. She has always volunteered to show a movie, prepare any exercise, or substitute for an absent colleague. Finally, I must add that Pauline came to see me teach in my early class (9:00 am) on a regular basis (on average, more than once a week throughout the semester). This tells a lot about her dedication for teaching and her willingness to learn.
Basic French, Semester 2. Brown University, Spring 2008 (see Students' evaluations)
Date: May 2008
To: Pierre Saint-Amand, Graduate Student Advisor
Report on Pauline De Tholozany’s teaching performance, Semester 2, 07- 08 (Basic French, Semester II)
Pauline taught FREN0100-200 under my supervision this year and I can say with confidence that, after 2 years teaching at that level, she has evolved into one of the best beginners’ instructors I have seen in my career. I am actually at a loss for useful, constructive suggestions for Pauline. She demonstrated again this semester all the wonderful qualities I documented in my Semester 1 report : creativity, concern for students, thoughtfulness, organization, team spirit, enthusiasm, etc. My only advice, really, is that she should pay attention to protecting herself from students taking advantage of her generosity. She sometimes tends to blame herself for students’ disappointments when she bears no responsibility. She is very devoted to her students, always encouraging, always giving them the benefit of the doubt, perhaps to an extreme, if this brings about self-doubt and undeserved self-blame or discouragement.
Pauline can be proud of her accomplishments as a teacher this year--I am! She has improved tremendously, learning and applying many different techniques and above all developing her own style. She is a precious member of our teaching staff, an instructor whose excellence we can rely upon. I am excited, as I know she is, that she will be teaching at the advanced level next year, enhancing the FREN 600 team with her great talent and intelligence.
Basic French, Semester 1. Brown University, Fall 2007 (see Students' evaluations)
Date: January 3, 2008
To: Pierre Saint-Amand, Graduate Student Advisor
Report on Pauline De Tholozany’s teaching performance, Semester 1, 07-08 (Basic French, semester I)
Pauline was teaching a section of FREN0100 under my supervision this past semester and her performance has been absolutely stellar. Visiting Pauline’s class was a real pleasure: her lesson plan was impeccable and she followed it with precision and ease. Activities were varied, flowing, with good rhythm and timing. Students got to use the four skills, listening to the “chanson du jour” and to a short student presentation, reading, speaking and writing (a dictation). Pauline had prepared a review session on PowerPoint, which was well thought-out and provided very useful practice for the upcoming test. The atmosphere in the classroom was lively, attentive, convivial and diligent. Students obviously loved every minute of their French class. As a matter of fact, I have rarely (ever?) seen as good students’ evaluations as the ones Pauline received this semester. Every single student gave her a 1 for her teaching performance and commented in great detail on how devoted, interesting and just good she is as a teacher.
Pauline is organized and serious in her class preparations and very generous with spending time outside of class with her students. She had them over for meals, took them to the Baudelaire exhibit, helped me with a film-pizza party we organized for the 80 students. She often brings food to class and even had her students make a mayonnaise in class as an introduction to the partitive article! Her generosity and organization were not limited to her own section, however, and we, her 5 colleagues, all benefited from it. Our collaboration this semester was excellent. I find that Pauline puts herself in question and looks for (and listens to) advice. She was eager to participate to the teachers’ blog to which she contributed a lot with very useful questions, ideas and materials. She is easy to work with, always pleasant and ready to help and do more than her share. I am impressed with the progress I see in Pauline’s teaching since last year. She obviously takes it very seriously and applies her great intelligence and creativity to it. I feel lucky to have her as a young colleague and welcomes with anticipated delight the prospect of working with her again.