So the dawn of another school at home week. Let’s ignore the fact this is a sunset…..

School at home is kind of working for some subjects. That’s often down to the availability of the online content, the accessibility of the material and how interesting the material is. Unfortunately some subjects are just not working. Prime amongst all of them is FRENCH.

Le Francais ne fonctionne pas

This is not something new. I remember struggling with the subject at school. The teaching method seems to be very dry. This works great for some kids but not others. But in the UK we are still focused on delivering one teaching approach to all pupils regardless of it works or not. One day we will shift to tailoring learning to suit the individual child rather than the needs of the Government.

Our Son is dyslexic. That presents significant issues when trying to learn another language. For a start certain languages are less transparent than others. Presenting more issues with learning pronunciation, spelling, grammar and word order. English and French are two really difficult languages in that respect. Potentially presenting greater challenges for those with dyslexia. Languages like German, Italian and Spanish may present easier routes to learning.

Our Son has Aspergers. The impact on language learning is not entirely clear. It largely depends on the individual. In our sons case he can visually remember lots of facts and instantly remember then. Not so good if it involves text. Visual imagery is best.

Then we come to the learning approach. What is the current approach. Trying to remember words parrot fashion. Translating text. Writing out sections of text. Old school spelling tests. Then expecting that to be brought together into listening and answering comprehension questions on spoken dialogue. Penalising errors. That just isn’t working for our Son. In his words

“I’m now dyslexic in two languages.”

Maybe a better approach is to let the child pick a language first…..

Then offer a range of multi sensory learning methods. See which ones work and which don’t. Every child will be different. Maybe our son would benefit from concentrating on listening and speaking. Focusing any other learning on more graphical approaches. He loves history. Maybe try to incorporate history about the country into the language learning.

That’s the ideal world.

But back to reality. The current school approach. I keep stressing to school that the current approach is just not working. He is quickly losing interest and patience with French. Eventually school has said that it will see what it can do. It looks like they will try to add some more explanations to the text and potentially video some parts of the classroom lesson. Problem is that it’s still the same teaching method just with added detail. It’s a bit like when you go abroad and struggle to make yourself understood. So what do you do. Often you don’t try to change what you are saying, you just end up saying exactly the same thing but now shouting it. So I’m not entirely hopeful of progress.

If and when we do go full homeschooling then language learning will be the very first thing we change. Find something that works for our Son. It has to be that way.

Ca doit etre mieux que ca

63 thoughts on “Francais

  1. French is hard. But I actually got a C in it when I was in school. Would have gotten a B if not for the fact that I kept pronouncing “Soleil” wrong. I don’t know why but every time I had to utter that word it came out as soLAI instead of soLAY. Still to this day, I struggle to remember that it’s LAY.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Sesame Street est la voie à suivre. Le Comte disant un, deux, trois …
    Yes, I used translate… I remember one, two, three… and a few other things from my 3 years of French. I did well enough in the class, but to just conversationally speak it?? I could say the words correctly, I had to look them all up though.

    Bon chance! (I remember that one😉)💌💌💌

    Liked by 2 people

  3. French is complex, no doubt about that. Even for us Frogs, it can be tricky. But it is a beautiful language, at least I think so. I’m always impressed when people learn it as a second language… I think I already offered you, but if you need any help, I’d be glad to give you and your son a hand.

    Bon courage! Vous y arriverez 🙂 xx

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Kids here are forced into half day Spanish immersion. It’s practical. And they experience what the rest of the day is like for nonEnglish kids. But it didn’t work out for my neighborkid at all. She hated every minute of it and has never spoken a word of Spanish outside the classroom. We can’t tell how much she understands when we speak it (catchphrases only). She kind of reacts like dog.. looks at us with an odd expression.

    When work had to translate medical device audio feedback to 31 languages (EU requirement), Chinese and French were the hardest. Due tobthe complexities of French they gave up trying to readout numbers (one hundred forty three) and had to change to reading digits only (one four three) in all languages.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Your approach is correct. I gave English classes to two teenagers (sons of friends) who were bottom of their class. I tried to develop visual reminders for them, concentrated on their interests and we played plenty of video games. It’s my proud boast that they became top of their class within the school year and now speak English with confidence.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. i thank god for parents like yourself every day..you keep trying and you care. So many i’ve experienced as a home care nurse just gave up. their kid/kids are pretty much neglected or merely tolerated.I love reading your sons responses- he is one smart cookie!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I really admire your tenacity. I hated French in school but came to appreciate it when I went to France on a tennis playing holiday. I certainly got to learn a few key phrases like: Game, set and match. How about a French treasure hunt or a French meal?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Really not fair to expect your lad to learn French that way. Best way for kids to learn is by total immersion. I was 10 when I was sent to a French school armed with the words oui, non and allez which my father told me I should say to beggars 😦 They placed me with the 5 year olds who seemed obsessed with looking under my skirt. I learned the language PDQ. It’s been many years since I was bi-lingual but I found watching French videos helpful. Maybe audio-visual would help the lad, but how many languages is he supposed to master? Over here they can’t manage one. I’m being a bit bitchy 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It would be great if they let kids pick a language. But most schools (In the US anyway) only teach French and Spanish. Latin doesn’t count!
    My daughter is interested in Japanese and Mandarin, but they didn’t teach those languages when she was in school.
    The idea of incorporating history and culture into language classes is a great idea.
    I would have remembered more names of places and things if they involved knights and kings.
    If you can recall 100 words, you can build on that.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I feel your pain. My son has dyslexia and reading and especially spelling are challenging for him. Being able to choose our curriculum, this fall I was quite surprised when he announced wanting to learn Japanese. We have the freedom to not require our son to have to write a foreign language, so I bought him a membership with Rosetta Stone – where he can go through lessons on his tablet all on his own. Apparently the interest sprung from the world of gaming and Japanese graphic novels. I bet your son would find German a bit easier than any of the Romance languages. Plus, there’s all the WWII history to go along. (My son loves history too).

    Liked by 1 person

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