We aim to cultivate confident linguists who are comfortable with the skills and conventions of language learning.
Boys are encouraged to read, listen, and view authentic resources in French, not merely for the short-term purpose of exams but for their own lifelong enjoyment. We want our boys to enjoy using their French and to be able to hold conversations with native speakers, and so we have created a successful balance between the need for a sound understanding of French grammar and the importance of developing the spoken language.
The boys are encouraged and rewarded for ‘taking risks’ both in their written and spoken French; as much importance is placed upon the level of language attempted as it is on grammatical accuracy. Learning is enhanced by the use of a variety of techniques, including songs, games, role-play situations, independent reading opportunities, an annual Francophone day, and much more.
The Expo 1, 2 and 3 coursebooks are used with Year 5, 6, and 7 respectively, which equates to a level approximately two years ahead of national levels. By the time the boys reach Year 8, most of the content and grammar has already been covered, ensuring not only that they are well placed for their senior school entry exams, but that they are well prepared for any future study of the subject.
At the top of the school, the Year 8 Scholarship teaching works to develop a whole range of higher-level language skills including verb tasks, translations, dictations, and the discussion of current affairs. Literacy also features in the curriculum, where René Goscinny’s humorous and heart-warming Le Petit Nicolas stories are read not only for pure enjoyment, but also to introduce more advanced grammatical concepts such as direct and indirect object pronouns, the pluperfect, and future perfect tenses.
For native speakers, work is differentiated in lessons and preps, and there are further opportunities to interact and develop their advanced language skills, including a French-speaking lunch and a Commoner.
French language immersion
The French curriculum is further enhanced in Year 7 by a residential trip to Burgundy during the Christmas term. The boys enjoy a week packed full of activities run entirely in French by French-speaking animateurs. One of the highlights of the week is a trip to the hilltop town of Vézelay, renowned for its spectacular panoramic views. Going to a restaurant, shopping at a local market and preparing a meal, performing a play – there is something for everyone.