Teach in French: pros and cons
The teaching of foreign languages is fully part of the scholastic panorama of modern and innovative teaching.
Nowadays the knowledge of at least one European or extra European language as well as English is of vital necessity. Mainly because of the growing development of mass communication.
Increased trade with other countries requires knowledge of a second Community language. And for these reasons also the teaching methods must adapt and renew themselves.
In this article we will focus in particular on a scholastic practice still very controversial, that is to say on the importance of teaching in French. We will look at both the positive and negative aspects.
We realize the value of studying a foreign language when we meet people from other cultures, appreciate the traditions and customs of other nations or break down the barriers that divide peoples. Learning to speak a new language therefore contributes to increasing one’s self-esteem as well as improving employment prospects.
Only a few years ago a French lesson was nothing more than a series of grammatical notions explained in the mother tongue, verbal conjugations learned by heart and endless lists of words never contextualized. Little, or none at all, was the space reserved for conversation in language and role-playing games.
Recently, however, since the needs have changed and also thanks to the development of modern didactic tools (the LIM whiteboard for example), the central point of the lesson is communication.
The teacher must be able to create a linguistic routine made up of simple commands such as “prenez le livre à la page 10”, or “est-ce que je peux aller aux toilettes?”, Or “prenez le stylo rouge et écrivez the titre de la leçon d’aujourd’hui ̋etc …
The students, accustomed from the very first lesson to this routine, will use these commands unconsciously and will be more inclined to accept new ones.
It is good to always make our students notice that the ultimate goal of any language study is to communicate, send a message, ask and / or receive information.
Totally teach in French: pro
Of course total teaching in the language involves, like every methodology used in the classroom, positive aspects and negative aspects.
WE SEE FIRST SOME OF THE MOST IMPORTANT PRODUCTIVE ELEMENTS OF THIS MODERN EDUCATIONAL PRACTICE.
A first important point in favor of global teaching in language is the vehicular use of French. The communicative approach attempts to create the conditions for real, authentic communication in the LS lessons.
The foreign language plays an important role. In fact it represents a means by which we learn other things like concepts, notions, competences and as such, for the student, plays a “natural” and therefore, authentic role.
The greater identification of the student with learning in French has a positive feedback on an emotional level. The student is more attentive, more interested, more aware and more focused on the language.
It has been demonstrated by some founding theorists such as Do Koyle that learning will therefore be more lasting.
A third important consideration is that of linguistic immersion. Diving is probably one of the oldest approaches to teaching and learning a language. So much so that already at the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans scholars were in favor of this way of learning languages.
However, the term linguistic immersion was introduced by Wallace E. Lambert around the 1960s. When in Canada they began to implement the first bilingual programs structured within educational contexts, both in areas where French was the dominant language, and in those where English was considered first language.
These programs and studies were born thanks to the push and support of user associations that required new methods for language learning for educational institutions.
They started from the observation that almost half of the world’s children could learn to speak two or more languages without any formal training. While only a few of those undergoing formal classroom teaching were able to acquire appreciable oral knowledge of another language.
To teach totally in French: against
Finally, we will now go on to list some negative aspects of informal language learning.
A first great difficulty of this methodology is manifested above all for language teachers in terms of preparation and facilitation of lessons. It is a challenge for the teacher to use the same routine every time in a new way. Furthermore, it is not always easy to use purely authentic material. As it is often too high level and the students risk not even understanding the key concepts of the message.
A student in difficulty who cannot immerse himself in the French language is discouraged by placing a “wall” between him and the discipline.
In conclusion, among the negative aspects, more related to the practice, it appears then that there are still too few published materials, that it involves more work by teachers and students. Furthermore, it has been noted that there is a slower pace, although this latter aspect is often viewed positively. In fact, the slow pace would lead to choosing the pivotal contents and to dwell less on the superfluous.