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year 9 don't know what 'qu'est-ce que c'est' means?

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by Herringthecat, Jan 30, 2012.

  1. Herringthecat

    Herringthecat New commenter

    Hello,

    I am a wannabe MFL teacher and spent the day today in a school watching some lessons.

    I was really surprised to notice when I was helping out with year 9, how little French they could cope with - after nearly two and a half years of the subject.

    There is so much expertise and experience on this forum, I would be really interested to hear what you think might be going on when these kids struggle to translate simple (to my mind) phrases such as 'je voudrais', 'qu'est-ce que c'est' - one girl that I helped also didn't know what 'avec' meant.

    I was reading a thread lower down which suggested that 'subject knowledge' meant understanding how kids learned foreign language, rather than a teacher's understanding and knowledge of the language - so I'm wondering whether my expectations are way out, or there's other stuff going on. It's a mixed ability set in a good comprehensive.

    Your insights would be much valued.

    HTC
     
  2. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Well, some may be to do with the time allocation.
    We all know submersion in a language leads (usually) to fairly quick absorption, but when lessons are perhaps 2x 3x a week, punctuated by other lessons it's no wonder students struggle to remember from on elesson to the next. As I think it was spsmith said on the discussion about tenses, we need lots of time to re-inforce learning and constant revisiting. 1/2 hour per day would be more useful than 2/3 x 1 hour lesson a week and in 'fortnighly timetables that may be just 2/3 hours once a fortnight!
    Add into that a general disinterest by many students to learning another language and the hard work outside lessons to do well . . . .

     
  3. Unfortunately some students are really lazy and don't care. My motivated Year 7 students will be able to conjugate more verbs correctly in the present tense than Year 10 by the end of June.
    Sometimes, I bring Year 7 students into my Year 10 classes where we have a competition on present verbs and key high frequency words like (avec, ce n'est pas ou etc). The younger ones put alot of the older students to shame.
    Both sets of students have received the same quality of teaching but the results differ massively, This is because the teacher can only show the path, the kids must decide if they wish to walk down the path.
    If you enter teaching, your most important job is get the students to learn for themselves and want to do it by themselves. If you try and ram knowledge into their heads and they are not interested, you are onto a loser.
    Rousseau once said don't teach children the facts of science, teach them to have a taste for science
    Finally the Year 9 class teacher could be brillant in the school you visited but if the kids don't care, then you are stuffed.















     
  4. sam enerve

    sam enerve New commenter

    HTC, I think you must have been in my class today. My year 9 couldn't even complete the most simple of speaking exercises. Couldn't? Couldn't be bothered, more like. They also claimed they didn't know what "d'habitude" meant even though they all used it (when getting level 5) in their recent writing assessment. It is pure apathy.
     
  5. My year 10's (set 4 out of 6 in a comprehensive) don't know what that means! Would echo the comments about the gap between lessons, combined with lack of intrinsic motivation and hard work!
     
  6. catmother

    catmother Star commenter

    How true. Mind you,the pupils are probably exactly the same in other subjects. Can't be bothered and proud to know very little!
     
  7. This might help[​IMG]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNWvhpwav1c

    Qu'est-ce que c'est ?
    Qu'est-ce que c'est ? Qu'est-ce que c'est ?
    Qu'est-ce que c'est ? Qu'est-ce que c'est ?

    Zoizoi
    Ça n'veut rien dire
    Zoizoi
    Ça m'amuse, ça me fait rire
    De dire et redire
    Qu'est-ce que c'est ?
    Qu'est-ce que c'est ? Qu'est-ce que c'est ?

    Qu'est-ce que c'est ?
    Qu'est-ce que c'est ? Qu'est-ce que c'est ?
    Qu'est-ce que c'est ? Qu'est-ce que c'est ?

    Zoizoi
    Je dis aux gens
    Zoizoi
    Même dans la rue, à l'agent
    Qui part en souriant
    Qu'est-ce que c'est ?
    Qu'est-ce que c'est ? Qu'est-ce que c'est ?

    Ce matin
    Un oiseau brésilien
    Soudain m'a chanté
    Zoizoi !
    Et je répète
    Zoizoi
    Ça met de la joie dans ma tête
    Et le cœur en fête
    Qu'est-ce que c'est ?
    Qu'est-ce que c'est ? Qu'est-ce que c'est ?

    Qu'est-ce que c'est ?
    Qu'est-ce que c'est ? Qu'est-ce que c'est ?
    Qu'est-ce que c'est ? Qu'est-ce que c'est ?

    Zoizoi
    Viens m'embrasser
    Zoizoi
    Et dans tes bras je vais brûler
    De mille baisers
    Qu'est-ce que c'est ?
    Qu'est-ce que c'est ? Qu'est-ce que c'est ?

    Qu'est-ce que c'est ?
    Qu'est-ce que c'est ? Qu'est-ce que c'est ?
    Zoizoi
    Qu'est-ce que c'est ? Qu'est-ce que c'est ?
    Zoizoi !
    Qu'est-ce que c'est ? Qu'est-ce que c'est ?

    Qu'est-ce que c'est ?
    Qu'est-ce que c'est ? Qu'est-ce que c'est ?
    Qu'est-ce que c'est ? Qu'est-ce que c'est ?
    Zoizoi !
    Qu'est-ce que c'est ? Qu'est-ce que c'est ?

    Qu'est-ce que c'est ?
    Qu'est-ce que c'est ? Qu'est-ce que c'est ?
    Zoizoi !
    Qu'est-ce que c'est ? Qu'est-ce que c'est ?...
     
  8. musiclover1

    musiclover1 New commenter

    The human brain retains what it considers important. So those year 9's who consider Qu'est-ce que c'est?' an important part of their existence will remember it. Others won't. We should have a separate discussion about why year 7 generally like languages, and what can be done to retain that enthusiasm.
     
  9. chriszwinter1

    chriszwinter1 New commenter

    Welcome to the <strike>wonderful world</strike> harsh reality of the mfl classroom. I used to have year 11 oiks who would ask me for the French for such words as we, and, in, etc., and my all time favourite do for such phrases as I do not play football. When I replied that I'd like to hear the full sentence, they would say, "I just want one word." So you can have an even more frustrating experience after four and a half years of trying to make a silk purse out of sow's ear.
     
  10. chriszwinter1

    chriszwinter1 New commenter

    Now if you'd just make the lessons interesting, they'd want to learn. You need captivating lessons with engaging activities that enthuse the young learners. [​IMG]
    My own former HT said that five years ago during one of the most mind numblingly boring staff meetings he ever held, and this is an oaf who could get an Olympic gold this summer if boredom were a sport.
     
  11. Herringthecat

    Herringthecat New commenter

    On ne saurait faire boire un âne qui n'a pas soif...



    So does it boil down to a thought about motivation, and how one motivates these kids? Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation? To what extent is the teacher (French or chemistry or PE , doesn't matter) responsible for the kids' motivation and to what extent does each individual's motivation come from within? Or other factors (peers, I guess, largely).



    But does a teacher who loves his / her subject start to instill Rousseau's 'taste'... kids surely can see which teachers are enjoying themselves and which would rather be somewhere else? Perhaps?



    Just thinking aloud, really.
     
  12. Herringthecat

    Herringthecat New commenter

    Yes, I saw some year 11 German too. One of them asked me how to say 'were' and was utterly confused by the fact that in the dictionary it said 'see be'. Suppose she did actually bother to look in the dictionary though!



    This brings us back to the 'in favour of grammar' debate, perhaps?
     
  13. That's an interesting question. I think they like languages because in the beginning, it's funny to find out what strange kind of word the Germans/French/whoever use for whichever thing, and during Y7, languages are still generally quite easy - but when they notice that it's hard work, and that they will not be able to get perfect results, they stop putting in effort. Y7s (or Y5s here in Germany) often think that within a year, they will be able to speak the language fluently because a year is such a long time - and then, at the end of the year, they notice that they are by no means fluent...
     
  14. noemie

    noemie Occasional commenter

    CLIL - teach them something interesting! I never understood why we had to make sure our students knew how to express 10 different chores and "describe my routine" either. But make them compare their life to that of a Third-World child, or compare it to a King 400 years ago, and it's a lot more interesting!
    I disagree with the markets, kids find them interesting, there's plenty of live crabs, weird things (horsemeat anyone?) and tat to make them interesting, as long as you don't spend more than 1 hour there. Animal-based things are always a success, be it zoos, aquariums or yes, even a goat farm. Again, in moderation. Most kids only see live animals on youtube these days, so to get the 3D experience is actually nice for them.
     

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