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broad 10-15-2017 08:29 AM

French teacher
 
Are there any French teachers out there?

I have just started tutoring a sophomore in 2nd year French. I'm a retired teacher - general education elementary mainly but know and love French.

She needs practice being able to write several paragraphs about a subject and general conversation.

I thought I would ask her to write several sentences that I say in English and she writes in French.

I would ask her questions in French and she has to answer in French.

Any ideas? I've never tutored before. I'm also going to take an advanced class myself so I can get help from my teacher.

TAOEP 10-20-2017 11:56 AM

Expectations??
 
To me, being able to write several paragraph sounds like a huge task for the beginning of 2nd year language. I would start by front-loading vocabulary and "stock phrases" that would be useful in talking about a very limited subject. (What do you do in the morning before school? What is your favorite season and why?) After talking about the prompt, then you could ask the student to write a few sentences, basically putting on paper what the two of you had just said.

You could use a photo or a drawing and name the things in the picture and then talk/write about them.

You might try dictating a few sentences in French and having her write them down (practice with French spelling, breaking sounds down into words, etc.).

I would not recommend having her translate from English to French. You are trying to get her to the point where she can function directly in French. Translating word for word sabotages that. Also one of the skills that people need to use when learning a language is the "work around." (I don't know the word for "breakfast", so instead of saying I got up and ate breakfast, I might say I got up and had coffee and a croissant.) Translating eliminates the possibility of expressing the important ideas in other words.

broad 10-21-2017 03:31 AM

Thanks
 
This is such good advice and ideas! Thank you so much for your response! I especially like the work around idea. I see how not asking her to translate from English to French makes sense.
Are you a teacher? What do you do?

Mme Escargot 10-23-2017 11:13 AM

French teacher here
 
I'm a French teacher with over 20 years of teaching experience, and getting my students writing is one of my strongest skills. I've even presented a workshop on it at my state conference for foreign language teachers. My kids can typically write a 10-15 sentence paragraph by the end of first semester of French 1 (which is much more than is usually expected of Level 1 students,) although a lot of it has to do with my in-class teaching strategies and lesson design; so some of that will be lost in a tutoring situation. Speaking skills are naturally integrated into my strategies as well, since both writing and speaking skills are productive language, rather than receptive.

I definitely agree with the previous poster's comments and suggestions.

I can give you some graphic organizers and ideas to help her develop her writing. PM me with your email address if you'd like some help.

TAOEP 10-26-2017 04:35 PM

About me
 
broad, you are very welcome. I hope that your tutoring goes well and you and your student enjoy your time together.


I've just retired from teaching. Way back in the dark ages, I taught Latin and Greek. Those classical languages did involve translation.

Later I spent 25+ years teaching in an alternative public school setting. I taught a large variety of subjects over the years, at the end it was mainly math.

My modern language experience is more as a student. I studied Spanish when I was in school. Over the past 10 years I have been part of an informal adult Spanish class, with a primary goal of improving our oral skills.


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