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ADVICE PLEASE: French primary schools

 
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3plus1



Joined: 09 Apr 2005
Posts: 17

PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2005 9:37 pm    Post subject: ADVICE PLEASE: French primary schools Reply with quote

I'm off to France in September to work as an English language classroom assistant. I've received my official letter of appointment but I haven't been told the name of the school yet so I have no way of finding out the age range of the children I'm going to teach, or their level of English.

Starting to feel a tad panicky now...

Anyway, does anyone here have any experience with French primary schools? I only ask because we're awful at learning foreign languages in the UK and I suspect the level of English that children have in French primary schools is possibly a tad higher than some children have here at the start of secondary school;)

A vague idea of what I'm walking into would be great. I'm terrified the English teacher is just going to say "Go talk English with them!" to me and I won't have anything prepared as a "OhnoIhavenoideawhattodo" back up plan because I won't know what level of English to teach...

Thanks in advance for any helpful bits of advice you might have for me.Smile

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rogan



Joined: 03 Mar 2003
Posts: 416
Location: at home, in France

PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2005 2:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

recent changes mean that a second language is required generally starting in the last year of primary school, but some schools start earlier.

Just assume that they have zero to very little English. Have some colouring activities with animals etc - straight away you have names of things, places, animals and also colours to teach.

Some nursery rhymes to teach, maybe on cassette and with printed copies to teach. Counting rhymes etc "This little piggy went to market" "Onne potato, two potatoes" etc.

Not difficult really. - that'll cover the first week, easily
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rogan



Joined: 03 Mar 2003
Posts: 416
Location: at home, in France

PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2005 2:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The teacher will, more than likely say "Vas parler en anglais avec les enfants" rather than "Go and speak English with them"
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NMB



Joined: 20 Jan 2003
Posts: 84
Location: France

PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2005 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was a primaire assistant last year. The assistantship Web site is full of useful information: assistantsinfrance.com

Some of the CM2's will have already had one year of English, but they won't remember much. You can start by asking them what words they already know, and they'll generally throw out a plethora of food items or designer brands (all with French pronunciation). That's about the extent of it.

You have to basically rely on songs, games, and activities, anything visual or that keeps them actively participating. They love to sing and will always ask to do so, no matter what lesson you've got planned. Vocabulary and simple phrases are the goal -- Forget about grammar and writing. Any vocabulary you teach should be accompanied by an image.

The job requires a tremendous amount of patience, and you will never accomplish what you think you should in a lesson. They are just too little.
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3plus1



Joined: 09 Apr 2005
Posts: 17

PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for all your advice - that's really reassuring, thank you! Although I haven't taught EFL before, I have taught children aged 6 to 8, so I do understand how slowly they learn new concepts.

So... little to no English? Does that mean I should think about bringing flashcards with me?

What are your thoughts about using French in the classroom? I know it's generally not a brilliant idea to use your students' mother tongue when you're trying to get them to speak in your own one, but if I do end up with the really young primary school kids, talking only in English is bound to get frustrating for them!

Any more words of wisdom would be much appreciated Very Happy

I'm off to check out that website before I ask any more daft questions that have already been answered elsewhere Smile

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