Hi Flore, you’ve been living in New York for 1.5 years, you have a Master in translation in French as a Second Language and you’re preparing another Master in Youth Literature. Today, you give classes of French and homework help on My Tutor Speaks French, could tell us more about your background?
I started to get interested in French as a Second Language (FSL) when I was doing my Bachelor in Languages, and I started to give one-on-one classes when I was doing a student exchange in Sweden. At the end of my studies I did an internship in Portland, Oregon, at the French Institute. This experience really proved me my will to become a FSL teacher. After this internship, I started a Master in French as a Second Language. From there I gave classes to people of all nationalities who were in France to learn French.
I also did an internship in Australia and I stayed a little bit to carry on teaching. I mainly had adult students who were English speakers. After my stay in Australia, I went to the Philippines where I taught at the French Institute and at a university.
After the Philippines, I came to New York and I currently work for a French Youth Literature Bookshop where I give morning classes called “Les petites histoires”. They aren’t exactly classes but more an initiation to French through books because I read a story to the children and using the story we do activities, games, art and craft, etc. I try to teach them few words and I speak in French so they can hear the language and get used to it.
Could you tell us what are the contents of a class of French as a Second Language?
Generally, classes are mainly based on exchange between teacher and student. I always do my best to make students comfortable, it’s very important, so they’re not afraid to make mistakes and therefore to speak, ask questions if they haven’t understood. I also ask questions to verify that they have understood correctly, to have them participate and talk since it’s the best way to learn a language.
During the class, we also study grammar. I write down vocabulary that I consider essential and the student should write it down too. It’s important the student has a vocabulary notebook in order to list it down. Generally, I try to vary the skills to be developed: comprehension, expression, speaking and writing.
Which advice would you give to you students, or to their parents if they are children, to review and practice between 2 classes?
Naturally, I advise them to do their best to practice during the week, meaning reading the news in French, magazines or articles on the internet. According to their level, they can read easy and short books. Beginners are often advised to read children books with easy vocabulary or novels if they are short enough.
If there is some time, it’s a good idea to review the vocabulary written down the notebook. Making post-it may also help students, whether they are related to vocabulary, grammar or conjugation notions the students struggle to memorize. Putting these post-it at strategic places at home, helps students to acquire the knowledge more easily.
Thank you Flore!