Remote teaching during this period involves both synchronous and asynchronous activities. Our synchronous classes are conducted over Zoom. Asynchronous activities are especially important as students are dispersed across multiple time zones, have variable bandwidth, and family and other commitments as we approach the peak of the global pandemic. In order to provide the best possible teaching under the circumstances, Global Languages has created a remote teaching plan that combines both approaches.

In order to increase opportunities for students to practice in case they find it difficult to participate synchronously in the Zoom sessions, I posted optional assignments.

One such assignment is to listen to a song by Manu Chao, a popular French singer. The title of the song is “J’ai besoin de la lune, pour lui parler la nuit” (I need the moon, to talk to it at night).

I have played this song in class many times in the past, because it has a very regular beat (6 syllables), simple words and beautiful imagery.

A few days ago I received a recording a student had made. She was singing the song, a cappella, with a lot of emotion. It made me listen more deeply to the lyrics that I had heard many times before. The song ends with “j’ai tant besoin de toi, tout à côté de moi” (I need you so much, right next  to me), which of course is very relevant to what we are all going through these days.

I was touched by how the student found Manu Chao’s words and her own voice to express deep emotions, hopefully experiencing how music can carry us through hard times…For me this story shows that as we look for ways of creating meaningful connections with students in a totally new environment, new opportunities arise to express ourselves and be heard.

Lyrics below are to song sung by student in audio file above.

J’ai besoin de la lune
Pour lui parler la nuit
J’ai besoin du soleil
Pour me chauffer la vie
J’ai besoin de la mer
Pour regarder au loin
J’ai tant besoin de toi
Tout à côté de moi

I need the moon
To talk to it at night
I need the sun
To warm my life
I need the sea
To look away
I need you so much
Right next to me

Sabine Levet is Senior Lecturer in French and a board member of the New England Regional Association for Language Learning Technology (NERALLT).