“Pardon my French!”


Dimitri Koufis, Class of 2018

Since the founding of Berkshire Waldorf High School, students have been able to choose between German and Spanish as their foreign languages. This year the school is offering a third language option for students: a French elective taught by Rachel Siegel. Ms. Siegel is a Berkshire native who attended Berkshire Country Day School as a child and from there went on to attend Harvard University where she studied Art History, German Literature and Classics. She also studied at the The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

In 2004 and 2008, Ms. Siegel taught Algebra and a Harlem Renaissance seminar at BWHS. She found that the philosophy of the school, the students, and the faculty all created a dynamic community that supported a style of learning that fit Ms. Siegel’s own philosophy perfectly. Ms. Siegel spent this past summer in France, rekindling her love for the language and culture. Upon her return, she asked Dr. Steve Sagarin if the students might be interested in a French elective, and he happily answered yes.

As a trained actor, Ms. Siegel conducts the French elective with gusto, using a wide inventory of different accents. The nine students enrolled in the class all have a chance to participate and begin using basic phrases and grammar. Ms. Siegel said “even at their age, these students all have the inherent tools [needed] to quickly pick up a new language and begin mastering it.” Her intent within the class is to give the students a taste of the language and inspire them to travel and understand the historical value of the French language.

Ms. Siegel’s final comment to the Globe was “Come take French!”

Categories: Article

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