|"Fourth Semester French: French Language Competency for the Global Workforce” is a new booklet that was developed at the department of French Studies at Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge. |
There are many reasons behind the creation and the development of these new resources. The first one is that we were not happy with the textbooks we were using at the time and could not find anything on the market that would match our objectives for the fourth semester of French. Second, textbooks were too expensive and did not correspond to the pedagogy and methods we wanted to use in the classroom either (i.e., the communicative approach). We wanted to give the students the opportunity to speak in various settings and communicate in the language from day one of the semester through communicative situations such as : ordering food at the restaurant, read menus in French, acting like a sports commentator, visit and investigate a local museum, organize a business trip, etc.
Our goal was to create a document that would correspond to the needs of the students (learning the language with an objective in mind), that would develop an approach aiming at the transformation of the student's perspective of the language. Too often they see French as a requirement to graduate. We wanted them to see foreign languages as assets and tools for life and career. Also, we wanted something that the educators would enjoy using.
We use the European frame of references as a basis for the definition of the standards as well as the ACTFL competencies.
The goal of this document is to help students develop functional proficiency in French. It is centered on culture and use it as a basis for communication and discovery of the francophone world. It serves as a conclusion to everything that was learnt the first three semesters, and as an introduction to French as a tool for communication. This course is made of 3 parts:
French for communication in daily life: Art and museums, food and restaurants, sports and events, with an introduction to science vocabulary, etc.
Introduction to Francophone literature: France (Le Petit Nicolas), Belgium (Tintin: L’affaire Tournesol), Senegal (Les Contes d’Amadou Koumba)
Introduction to professional French: Tourism, finance, and Law.
We use real documents available on the web, real videos, real articles as means of communication. Everything is taught and done in the target language. Each lesson begins with discussion on the topic to assess their previous knowledge and introduce new vocabulary. Next, each lesson introduces vocabulary in context. Them through videos, songs, documentaries, students practice the oral comprehension. The reading covers texts but also documents such as maps, recipes, charts. The last part or writing portion is in the form of an assignment made at home, or in class.
The final product is a 119-page course packet available at our university bookstore or downloadable for free on the Louisiana Libraries websites. Also, the document is usually available for the students to print on their own on the instructors’ pages. An instructor version is available with the answers to all the exercises.