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How to enthuse children who have been turned off by French!

Discussion in 'Primary' started by psycho_jo, Sep 7, 2008.

  1. I have started a new school and am to teach french one afternoon a week to all the upper junior classes. They have had some very mediocre (according to both staff -inc head- and kids) french teaching so far which has resulted in many of them being turned off by the subject.
    Bascially I'd like some ideas from anyone with similar experience on how to re-motivate them and also advice on where to start. Should I go with the basics? Revision? I really do not know how much they know and how well they know it but don't want to bore them by covering the same ground!!!
    I think they will enjoy it once they start getting into it as children have always enjoyed my lessons before as I have many IWB resources and ideas, but it is how to ensure they are enthusiastic from lesson 1 when I'm not sure where to pitch it!

     
  2. I have started a new school and am to teach french one afternoon a week to all the upper junior classes. They have had some very mediocre (according to both staff -inc head- and kids) french teaching so far which has resulted in many of them being turned off by the subject.
    Bascially I'd like some ideas from anyone with similar experience on how to re-motivate them and also advice on where to start. Should I go with the basics? Revision? I really do not know how much they know and how well they know it but don't want to bore them by covering the same ground!!!
    I think they will enjoy it once they start getting into it as children have always enjoyed my lessons before as I have many IWB resources and ideas, but it is how to ensure they are enthusiastic from lesson 1 when I'm not sure where to pitch it!

     
  3. Ask them what they want to do/what they know

    Give them a french name and use that instead (mine love doing this!)

    Have a french cafe

    Organise a class assembly ? based on a french version of Elmer, Dear Zoo, Hungry caterpillar (from little linguists site)

    Learn songs

    Split into groups and do mini topics on geography, celebrations, famous people etc

    Make silohoueetes (sp!?) of each other

    good luck


     
  4. tafkam

    tafkam Occasional commenter

    I'd be tempted to go for a very carefully balanced and planning under-estimation of their abilities.
    Try to find out what they have covered and will be familiar with, and go in pretending that you're going to teach them things they already know. Then you'll quickly 'discover' how good they already are, at which point you'll have to make some song and dance about them being even better than you'd expected and having to move onto the next lesson / unit / term in your plans.
    Does have to be very carefully done - nothing worse than them thinking that not only do they not like it, but they'll be repeating stuff they've already done -but a great boost for them to see that they have actually acquired a skill that they didn't have before.

     
  5. Sounds exactly like my old school!! Is it a mixed Y5/6 and Y3/4 you are taking in a small village school by any chance?!
     
  6. Thanks so much for the advice guys. I plan to do lots of fun ways to learn (songs, games, mini-project eg making own weatherforescast video etc) anyway. I do want to give them French names and usually do but there are 90 children and I haven't even been given class lists yet!!! Tafkam your advice is brill (as usual!) - I will defo go in and be 'wowed' by them then quickly get them moving along.
    lbainbridge, it is mixed y5/6 but in a large city primary so not quite your old school! Unfortunately I think many children will have had similar experiences as people have been forced to teach languages with no resources, training or indeed any skill in the area.

     
  7. Oh, ok. You are right! Good luck! (BTW, teacher at my old school was a French lady, very sweet, not control over the children - dunno who thinks just because someone is French they are able to TEACH it!)
     
  8. Weird...the lady that taught my lot before was a french native with no teaching qual and absolutely no control over children! Agree...just cos they are native speaker does not mean that are good at teaching it!!
     
  9. jog_on

    jog_on New commenter

    Lots of games so that actually they don't necessarily realise they're learning.

    One of my favourites:

    Get a policeman's helmet and give it to one child and send them out of the room. When they're outside, choose something that represents the vocab you've been learning e.g. something red (they have been learning "rouge"). Child comes back in and has to try to find the object...chn say "rouge, rouge, rouge..." getting louder the closer they are to the object and quieter the further away they get (like hot/cold). They love that!

    Learning how to say "je m'appelle..." and "comment t'appelles-tu?". Use policeman's helmet again. Send child out and nominate one person to be David Beckham or another celebrity. Child returns and is allowed to ask 8 (or however many people you like) what their name is in French...they are searching for David Beckham. Games like this reinforce vocab and make it really fun! My kids love getting up and moving around.

    Incorporate the language into PE lessons - have you seen Take 5 en francais? Think Devon make it and it's fab!

    Also, don't forget that language isn't 100% of the 1 hour entitlement (as of 09/09) of a foreign language - they need to learn about the culture too! Eat croissants, pain au chocolat and set up a French cafe (apologies if these suggestions have already been made - didn't get around to reading it all!). Amelie soundtrack is fab for evoking a French atmosphere. Do you think you could find a trip to a French Christmas market in Lille? Imagine how excited they would be if they were learning French in preparation for that!?!

    Good luck! [​IMG]
     
  10. When i taught colours in spanish (2 minutes after i had learnt the colours in spanish might I add) I dotted coloured pieces of paper all over the hall and let them walk around until i called out a colour that they had to go and jump on. Loadsa fun. Think i will probably pull of some clipart pictures of animals, jobs etc and do the same.
     
  11. More great ideas thanks! I love the policeman's hat ideas, especially as I have one - I bought it for VCOP stuff! Jog_on your idea on trying to find out who is David Beckham is ace as I reckon they'll have defo done that one so it will be a novel take on it. My usual approach to french is fun stuff so this just adds to my list of games! Thanks guys
     
  12. Andrew Jeffrey

    Andrew Jeffrey New commenter

    AMOS, when our French teacher was away I naively put myself down to cover the lesson, as I foolishly thought that my French A-level would suffice! It didn't!



    Fortunately it was a planned absence, and she had left me some work - the children were allowed to bring in their own outfits and do a fashion show, where they took it in turns to describe what each other were wearing as they walked up and down the makeshift catwalk. They had had a couple of lessons to prepare the vocab and the outfits, and loved it.

    It was brilliant - the best (the only) French lesson I have ever taught!


     
  13. Like the fashio show idea though prob won't get around to clothes just yet. Mini-projects and practical, group work stuff is great for French.
     
  14. After a few weeks of training with secondary teachers coming in to show a colleague and myself how to conduct french lessons 2 years ago I was given the task of teaching Year 4 French and co-ordinating French last year. This year I am now teaching years 3, 4, 5 and 6. This would amaze my dear old french teacher (if she is still alive?) from Grammar school, as I only just managed to get GCE french many years ago. The only other french experience I have had has been holidays in France. So I am not particularly well qualified to teach it but I am doing my best! I find using a large variety of activities and changing lesson formats constantly helps keep the children interested. I began using the LCP scheme but have added Early Start materials which I find really helpful and these include videos on CD Roms which the children love. I also use puppets, songs, sets of boules, powepoint presentations on the IWB, storybooks, role play, flashcards, games and our school also has a subscription to the Lingquascope website which provides a lovely range of fun games including hangman and memory games which cover most of the topics. Also don't forget the Cultural awareness strand which could involve a class project.
    The main thing though is if you show enthusiasm yourself - it usually rubs off on the children. The children I have taught french to (as well as other subjects) tend to greet me in french rather than english when they see me about the school and always ask when their next french lesson is. So I must be doing something right.
    Good luck and enjoy.
     
  15. Thanks Twixie for reminding me to be enthusiastic about it! Linguascope is great but we haven't got that. We do have espresso which has some stuff on but as our projectors have been stolen I'll have to wait on that one! Going to do lots of fun stuff tomorrow and try to assess where they're at.

     
  16. Teach them German. Far easier to learn than French and much more fun and sense of achievement.



    German is far, far easier for British children to learn than French.
     
  17. Introductions: I've used something similar to the David Beckham idea before where a chosen child is given a toy with a name (e.g. Pierre the cuddly frog) to hide in their tray/up their jumper whilst someone is out of the room, the child enters and has to find Pierre by introducing themselves to someone in French and asking for their name, if they have the toy then they reply je m'appelle pierre, but if not they use their real name. Child continues until they find Pierre or have a certain amount of guesses.

    Colours: Also, using smarties (not too much though for healthy eating schools) play guess the colour of the sweet, childen ask le bonbon est rouge? le bonbon est bleu etc, the child who guesses it gets the smartie, and those who don't know their colours soon learn them!

    Finally, douze is very popular in my classroom, where the children stand in a circle and one by one can say up to 3 numbers in french, the person who has to say douze sits down; gets very tactical, and the children love it if the teacher is out early on! E.g. child 1: un, deux, trois, child 2: quatre child 3: cinq, six, sept, child 4: huit, neuf, child 5: dix, onze - child 6: douze (and would have to sit down) then repeat with those left standing


     
  18. Love the smarties idea Lomslip! I do play the last game you mention - It's great! As you say they get very tactical, esp boys trying to get girls out and viceversa.
    Had first lesson with new lot on Friday. Half an hour for each class. Played Jacques a dit to remember classroom instructions with actions (eg touch ear for ecoutez), played the David Beckham game (went down really well!) and played Apple Pie where child facing away from class has to identify voice of another who says Je m'appelle Beyonce (or whatever) in a silly voice.
    Would consider teaching German but whole school is doing french...plus, I speak French a lot better than I do German!
     
  19. jog_on

    jog_on New commenter

    We do three languages in order to help the high school and also teach the children language learning methodologies (not necessarily just "French")...but it all depends on what has been agreed.

    Yes, German is fun and can be easier to learn (I found it easier...but learnt French first so had the methodology there!)...but there are far fewer resources for teaching it!
     
  20. Have a look at the etwinning website, it's a web run by the British Council putting in touch people who are looking for patnership around Europe. It might be more motivting for your pupils to talk to "real" people and learn French for a purpose.
     

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