What a busy term it has been! Here are some of the things that have happened in Secondary French so far.
Year 7 French in Exploration of the French-Speaking World
The start of Year 7 can be daunting, especially if you are new to studying a new language. As an introduction to French and gaining an appreciation for cultural diversity, the Year 7 students have been exploring French-speaking countries in the world. It is worth acknowledging that French is a widely spoken language: it is spoken on all the continents and it is the 5th most spoken language in the world. In celebration of the theme, the College library has a display of the Francophonie, the French-speaking countries in the world. Make sure to have a look at the display when popping in the library sometime this term.
The French Film Festival
The culmination of the French cultural theme was the screening of the French film Le trésor de Petit Nicolas. Year 7 and 9 French students attended the French Film Festival in Brisbane and enjoyed a taste of France in an authentic setting. It is safe to say that the highlight of the excursion was the complimentary ice cream and popcorn!
This is what Amelia Hughes, a Year 7 student, thought of her film excursion experience:
It was a lovely day and everybody appeared to enjoy themselves. I found the movie we watched very interesting, the movie was in French with English subtitles and I was surprised that I understood much of the conversations, especially the shorter sentences between the actors. Watching this movie has given me more confidence in speaking and understanding French. I hope we can watch more French movies in the year to come.
Education Perfect Languages Championships
The annual Education Perfect Languages Championships attracted an enthusiastic group of students to compete. Students’ hard work and dedication were rewarded with a pizza party and chocolate rewards. Our College did a great job as always, with over 78,000 questions answered. Our College placed 5th for French in Queensland in the 500-1000 student category.
Tips for improving your French
Year 9, 10 and 11 French students have been focusing on improving their speaking skills, among other things. This has been done through a variety of activities such as games, charades, role play and conversations with a partner or the teacher. Speaking is the hardest component of language learning, it is essential to practice regularly and consistently. Many students are afraid of making mistakes and, therefore, are afraid to speak. It’s better to have a different mindset: do not aim for perfection but rather aim for effective communication. From a teacher’s perspective, it is really rewarding to see students’ confidence levels growing as the term progresses.
Here are a few tips on how to improve your skills in French:
- Listen a lot! (French tv programs and French music, conversations, Education Perfect listening resources, video clips from Gateway resources).
- Read often! Reading is the best way to broaden your vocabulary. Use the resources posted on Gateway, borrow a French book from the library, read online material, such as Education Perfect smart lessons.
- Imitate. When reading new texts or when doing Education Perfect homework, read the texts aloud, imitating the model given. When imitating what you hear, it is often more useful to focus on the rhythm, the intonation of the language, rather than on the pronunciation of individual words.
- Write. When you write, you have the time to look up words, to look up grammar rules, or word endings. You have more time to think things through. This will then carry onto your spoken language.
- Speak. Try not to worry about mistakes. Focus on communicating, getting your message through. With time, you will improve your speaking skills and the correctness of grammar.
- Keep an open mind! Positivity is the key. Keep an open mind to learning a foreign language and to exploring foreign cultures. Often when teaching Middle School French, I notice negativity amongst students when it comes to learning French. It is considered “hard and pointless”. Language learning is never pointless! It creates more brain power. It improves your English skills. It opens doors for future pathways and increases your employability. It enables you to understand other cultures better and to have a better sense of empathy towards others in this increasingly global world.