He may never become a full-time teacher, but Benjamin Tardif seems to have all the qualifications required for the job.
Over the last few months, a lot of young students from the Estrie region have been taking part in the Dictées avec Benjamin, an initiative designed to help students improve their knowledge of the french language through a dictation exercise that is read by the Sherbrooke Phoenix forward.
“Since all the schools were closed, we came up with the idea of this dictation test. This allows them to practice their french and have fun at the same time”, explains the 20-year-old.
Tardif says he really enjoys playing the role of teacher for all these kids.
“I film myself with my cell phone while I read the dictation test I chose for them. I repeat each sentence many times to make sure every kid hears every word of it. We then publish the text version on the Sherbrooke Phoenix Facebook page. A few days later, we post the corrected version to allow the students to see how they did.”
Benjamin Tardif got inspired by actress Marie-Lyne Joncas, who took used the web to offer her advice on the best ways to read those dictations to kids.
“I thought it was an interesting challenge. It made me realize that it’s not that easy to read a dictation exercise to kids”, added Tardif with a laugh. “When I was reading it, it reminded me of when I was their age. I remember that the teacher had to repeat herself many times to allow us to understand every word.”
“The first time, I read the whole thing only once”, he remembered. “So, when I listened to the video afterwards, I said to myself: there’s no way the kids had time to write everything down. I wouldn’t have been able to at their age.”
That’s when Tardif changed his approach.
“I then decided to repeat the text a few times. I repeated each sentence, and each word, to make sure everybody understood everything clearly.”
His project was quickly praised in the community.
“Many parents wrote favorable comments on the Facebook page”, the forward noted. “They really liked the idea and said that their children enjoyed the experience of being a part of something with some Phoenix players.”
Benjamin Tardif recognizes the importance of learning the french language at a young age and he’s happy to be a part of something so positive for students in the Sherbrooke area.
“When I first came into the league at 16, I didn’t really see the importance of being involved in the community. I’ve since realized that we can have a lot of influence on those kids”, says the one who scored 26 goals in 49 games last season.
“I really enjoy doing my part in helping the next generation become not only good students, but also good people. We have to be role models for these kids.”
Tardif’s involvement in the community comes naturally to him since he’s used to being around kids.
“I think I can relate to children. I worked at a hockey school and I found it very gratifying to help them in their development. I took a lot of pride in that and it was really cool to spend some time with them.”
Like many, Benjamin Tardif can’t wait for things to get back to normal. But in his case, it’s to be able to go see his little friends in different schools from the Sherbrooke area!
“We can feel they are happy to see us when we visit schools. We almost have more control over them than the teachers!”
For more information on Benjamin’s dictation exercises, you can visit the Sherbrooke Phoenix Facebook page.