Queen's Gazette | Queen's University

Search form

Foreign languages captivated Jill Scott at a young age

Jill Scott.

Jill Scott was captivated by foreign languages at a young age, when she heard her Grade 8 French teacher speak in French to another teacher.

"I thought it was so exciting. It was magic – being able to open your mouth and sound different,” says Dr. Scott (Languages, Literatures and Cultures/Gender Studies). “To know that they understood each other, but I didn't understand them, was so cool. I wanted in."

When she had an opportunity to spend a year in Germany after high school, she grabbed it and hasn't looked back. She eventually pursued undergraduate studies in both German and French, and completed graduate degrees in comparative literature. These days she works on questions of law, literature and restorative justice, and is moving into questions of indigenous legal traditions.

Definitely hooked on languages, Dr. Scott returned to Germany three different times, for a year each time, wanting to perfect her German. She hopes to pass on her passion to others who may have never spoken the language before. At Queen’s, she teaches everything from beginner German to graduate courses in German and international studies (law, literature and human rights).

Dr. Scott is not a fan of "front of room" teaching. She likes her students to move around in class and work in groups. She believes in developing a real community in class and often makes a class council so student volunteers can meet with her during the term to discuss how things are going.

"I really believe that to be a good teacher, you have to make yourself vulnerable to your students,” she says. “We as teachers have to take risks if we expect our students to take risks. We have to invite them in.”

Read a longer version of Jill Scott’s profile