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A2 cultural topic - French-speaking region

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by rosaespanola, Jan 24, 2012.

  1. rosaespanola

    rosaespanola New commenter

    I'm going to be starting the cultural topic with my Y13 class soon and as this is the first time I've taught this, I'm feeling a bit out of my depth. We've chosen to do Quebec as a French-speaking region but I'm really struggling to find any resources for it and quite a lot of people have told me that doing a region for the cultural topic is notoriously difficult. I'm aware that the main focus needs to be on analysis and personal opinions rather than just facts, but I'm concerned that I'm going to end up spending hours planning & creating all of the resources myself at this rate and that we're not going to cover everything that needs to be done.
    I've got all of the essay questions from past papers and the ones for this topic look horrid, so would it be a good idea to just focus on preparing this topic for the speaking exam, since there seems to be a lot more flexibility as to the type of things you discuss than in the essay? The other cultural topic being covered is a French film director and I think that would always be the better choice for the essay question, so would it be reasonable to pick a few aspects of Quebec that would allow for expressing personal opinions and work towards being able to discuss them in the speaking exam?
    If anyone has any advice, I'd really appreciate it, even if you've done a different region - any tips on finding resources or exam preparation would help me massively.
     
  2. rosaespanola

    rosaespanola New commenter

    I'm going to be starting the cultural topic with my Y13 class soon and as this is the first time I've taught this, I'm feeling a bit out of my depth. We've chosen to do Quebec as a French-speaking region but I'm really struggling to find any resources for it and quite a lot of people have told me that doing a region for the cultural topic is notoriously difficult. I'm aware that the main focus needs to be on analysis and personal opinions rather than just facts, but I'm concerned that I'm going to end up spending hours planning & creating all of the resources myself at this rate and that we're not going to cover everything that needs to be done.
    I've got all of the essay questions from past papers and the ones for this topic look horrid, so would it be a good idea to just focus on preparing this topic for the speaking exam, since there seems to be a lot more flexibility as to the type of things you discuss than in the essay? The other cultural topic being covered is a French film director and I think that would always be the better choice for the essay question, so would it be reasonable to pick a few aspects of Quebec that would allow for expressing personal opinions and work towards being able to discuss them in the speaking exam?
    If anyone has any advice, I'd really appreciate it, even if you've done a different region - any tips on finding resources or exam preparation would help me massively.
     
  3. lucyrose50

    lucyrose50 Occasional commenter

    I'm having similar issues, so I'm afraid I can't offer any advice but I'll be keeping an eye on this thread in the hope that someone can!
     
  4. noemie

    noemie Occasional commenter

    It's not the same region but it may be a starting point: https://www.tes.co.uk/teaching-resource/A2-Cultural-Topic-French-Regions-6111059/
    I've stayed well clear of the region topic, even though it's really interesting.
    It dawned on me as I was looking at materials that biology and geography teachers were photocopying for their A-level classes that ours is the only subject where we are expected to impart so much knowledge that it so far away from our degree!
     
  5. chriszwinter1

    chriszwinter1 New commenter

    Looking at the various chief examiners' reports was enough for me to keep well away from this topic. Those reports reinforce the idea that the questions in the written exam were horrid, but also the requirements for the speaking test go way beyond the description of a holiday at GCSE.
    My advice would be to do something else.
     
  6. steveglover

    steveglover New commenter

    I did Alsace with a student of relatively modest ability and she got a B in the oral for it (Welsh board). There are a lot of interesting aspects to this part of Europe (chosing my words carefully!) such as the changing of hands between Germany and France on several occasions, the nature of the language and people's attitude towards it. The issue of migration over borders by Europeans was also a good area to look at. So in brief the area has a*ttitude (thought I'd get that in!). There was also a good three DVD miniseries called les deux Mathildes which traced the history of the area. Another aspect which would have been interesting would have been the Alsacian migration to SW France at the outbreak of war and the treatment by the French of the Alsacians, not to mention the "malgré nous" conscripted by force into the German army. Easy to do an area like that-some can be a bit nondescript.
    I guess Quebec would offer quite a lot of interest on linguistic difference, the issue of bilingualisme, independance-much talked about, American influence etc.
    Another area I would have considered covering would be Provence with some many issues depending on the exact geographical focus-the arrival of foreign residents after the exode rural, the changing climate and desertification, attitude to water (see films Jean de Florette, Manon des Sources www.alevelfrench.com exercises) prevention of forest fires, how tourisme developed and how it is evolving in the face of foreign competition.
    There is so much stuff on mairie web sites, local radio etc but you need to focus down on specific micro topics very quickly after maybe studying the toporgaphy of the area on google earth or old fashioned maps.

     
  7. lucyrose50

    lucyrose50 Occasional commenter

    Exactly! I don't really feel equipped to do any of the film/literature topics as although I did do this as part of my degree, it was a long time ago and I worry that I'm not really sure what sort of things the students need to be able to do in order to get good marks. And the idea of me doing anything to do with history is hilarious, since I dropped history as soon as I could at the age of 13 and have a very haphazard sort of knowledge of anything historical (I've since discovered that history is really interesting, but sadly the teacher I had for the first 3 years of high school did not give any sign of this).I chose Quebec because I lived there for a few years, some of which was at uni and writing a research project on the French language in Quebec, so I was hoping to be able to get some of this knowledge into the cultural topic - plus I go on about Quebec so much to my students, they specifically asked me if it was something they'd be able to study as their cultural topic. I just didn't quite know what I was getting myself into!

     
  8. AVOID AT ALL COSTS!
    Get out a novel, L'etranger or La Symphonie Pastorale and do that instead. It has academic weight and you can easily form opinions and analyse within a tighter sphere than a region.
     
  9. rosaespanola

    rosaespanola New commenter

    I'm reluctant to do a novel because of the amount of time it would take to actually read it, plus my pupils specifically said they'd prefer not to do literature because they do English Lit and want to do something different in French. I think there are quite a lot of things to analyse and form opinions about with relation to Quebec - as someone else mentioned, separatism and language issues provide plenty of scope for discussion.
     

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