rebecca m. valette, professor emerita of french
B.A., Mount Holyoke College
Ph.D., University of Colorado
How long have you been at Boston College?
I was hired in 1965 to a tenure-track position as assistant professor and director of the Language Laboratory.
What courses did you teach at Boston College?
I taught French cinema, French phonetics, Foreign Language Methodology, Advanced French Conversation, French Composition, Conversation and Reading, and Elementary French.
What are your research interests?
My research interests include modern language testing and modern language classroom teaching techniques. I was the co-author (with Jean-Paul Valette) of a series of widely used French and Spanish secondary school textbooks, including French for Mastery, Spanish for Mastery, Discovering French, and Discovering French Nouveau. We also wrote Contacts, a beginning French textbook for university students.
More recently, my work has focused on the Yeibichai theme in Navajo weaving and art, and the French Flute School.
What did you like about teaching at Boston College?
Although my graduate work was in French literature, I quickly discovered that my true vocation was teaching French language students, and, by extension, helping neophyte language teachers develop their pedagogical skills. These interests led to a 40-year commitment to creating challenging and effective pedagogical materials and language programs. Boston College offered me the opportunity to work with both undergraduates and graduate students, whose many varied learning styles continually challenged me to refine and (hopefully) improve my own effectiveness as a teacher.
The administration also encouraged my professional commitments at a national and international level. I’ve served as vice president and president of the American Association of Teachers of French; chair of the Division on the Teaching of Language of the Modern Language Association; vice president, Federation of Alliances Françaises, USA; and as a Fulbright Professor in Freiburg, Germany.