Hi Carl, you have been a school teacher in New York for the last 5 years, and you offer French classes and homework help on My Tutor Speaks French. Could you please tell us to whom your classes are made for?
My classes are made for children willing to learn French from 1st grade (CP) to 5th grade (CM2). I have a diploma from the French Ministry of Education and I propose classes of math, as well as French, reading and writing, but also history, sciences and geography regarding the entire curriculum from 1st to 5th grade, curriculum proposed by the French Ministry of Education.
Which methodology would you suggest to a child whom parents would like to strengthen his or her level of French?
The first thing I’d do, would be to meet the child and propose him or her a diagnostic assessment that will enable us to appreciate the student’s gaps and what he or she has already learnt. This would enable us to plan a program aiming at learning skills or fill the gaps.
Following that assessment, which activities would you propose to the student to improve his or her French?
According to the evaluation, I will do diverse proposals. Generally, I try to find out what are the student’s points of interest. I suggest albums, stories or characters that the student may already know which will enable a continuous work, for example, on a same album. This will aim at working on several skills always around the same characters, with the objective of raising the interest and the pleasure of the child. After all, learning French is about making them willing to speak French!
As parents, how can we help our children between each tutoring session?
Between 2 tutoring sessions I plan homework to do for the next session. I give tools to the child and I also give tools to the parents in order they can do a follow up. When one sees a child once a week, perhaps twice, it’s necessary when learning another language to have a regular practice. I think it’s important the parents do a follow up. I’m conscious that parents have an important (role to ?) play.
For bilingual children, what are the most difficult French language skills to learn?
I’d say that the most complicated skills are the sounds to pronounce which can be very different from one language to another. I’ve seen a lot of children coming from various countries and it’s true that sounds being different, it’s sometimes difficult to pronounce sounds that don’t exist in one’s own mother tongue. A problem that may also happen when it comes to the writing since one has to transcript these sounds into writing. It’s hard to learn new sounds and their transcription may result in a difficult process.
Thank you Carl!