It all started when I was invited at Calstate LA University to teach "Learning French through acting", a course I developped for the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures while co-producing with the University a play by Nathalie Sarraute, "Just for Nothing". After this first experience, I spent five summers being the artistic director, and teaching a prononcation course and a workshop for the Middlebury College French Language School. Recently, I taught at UCLA a "movement" class, building a character through imagery and physicality, for the School of Theater, Film and Television.
"Learning French through acting" in a nutshell is desiged to put the words in motion and emotion and to emotionally grasp the meaning of words. It was an introduction to acting and was also designed to improve public speaking abilities.
For details, they are best described in these testimonials.
"I have known Mr. Fathy for 3 years and had the privilege of working with him closely for two summers when I was a faculty member (2011) and then Director (2012) of the intensive immersion language program at the Middlebury French School in Oakland, CA. During those summers, I had the opportunity to attend Mr. Fathy’s workshop and to watch the remarkable transformation that his method fosters in his students. Language is at once rational, emotional, physical, and cultural, a complex human phenomenon that is often treated in an overly simplified manner in the classroom. Knowing these multiple facets of language learning and integrating years of experience as a professional actor and coach, Mr. Fathy designed “Learning French through Acting” to create a deeper, more efficient means for students to learn the French language and making it their own.
During Mr. Fathy’s atelier students explore themselves, French culture, and French language through activities that weave together physical movement, pronunciation exercises, improvisation, as well as individual and collective public speaking and performance situations. Students are challenged to think, feel, express themselves, and create in French, which makes for a language-learning process that is at once engaging, challenging, and an absolute ball. Strongly connected to the theater world both in France and the US, Mr. Fathy brings well-known guest actors and coaches to work with the students, which is extremely productive and exciting for them. Mr. Fathy’s workshop culminates in a performance by his students showcasing theatrical works of the French literary canon, new experimental theater, and original pieces created by the students themselves. The quality of these final performances is astounding and a testament to the efficacy of his method of language instruction. “Living” and “embodying” the French language in his atelier helped transform beginner-level language learners into advanced-level speakers in a short 7 weeks, a feat which one must see to believe.
Mr. Fathy himself is charismatic, competent, reliable, enthusiastic, and generous both as a teacher and a colleague. Students at the Middlebury French School flocked to his atelier, which was always the most popular at the school, and colleagues like myself found him a joy to work with and an incredible asset to the team. Charles Fathy Abdi and his “Learning French through Acting” workshop are simply fantastic."
Christy Pichichero, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of French, George Mason University
"As the Director of the French School, Middlebury at Mills, Oakland, I had the pleasure to work with Charles Fathy at the Middlebury French Summer Language School. His original workshop "Learning French through acting", which he has created at Calstate LA and developed at Middlebury at Mills through these last 5 summers has pushed the efficiency of cultural immersion to a new level. His original concept, based on years of acting and coaching, gathers specific acting exercises to put words in motion and emotion. He believes that movements and emotions, when linked to words, help the process of imprinting this new vocabulary in the student mind. Tied with pronunciation, improvisation, and group exercises, the students were able to express themselves, be comfortable in public speaking situations, and play classical and modern pieces for a show at the end of the program. The progress made by those involved in this workshop were spectacular, and made a real difference in the learning curve of those students, often compared as linguistic rockets!
Mr. Fathy has been a dedicated and dynamic French Instructor of high competence, always professional and sharing his ideas and opinions with his team. Because of his sense of humor, creativity, and flexibility he has developed a good relationship with his pupils and became their mentor and their friend. He has become a real asset to the French School."
Director, French School, Middlebury College, Mills, Oakland, USA Academic Developer, Educational support services, Office of the Vice-President Academic and Provost, Université de Montréal, Canada.
Working for Middlebury College Summer Schools requires very special skills. Amongst the most prominent are: intelligence,dedication -it can be a 16 hours a day job-, passion, openness, drive, patience, sociability, balance, being a team player and having a great sense of humor. I can say that in all of these categories Charles was an A+."
Director, Columbia University Undergraduate Programs in Paris (CUP)