The latest news from French Club

The following article is written by Alice Watson, the local mum behind French Club, which offers after-school French lessons for primary school aged children. Here, Alice updates Bishopston Matters readers with French Club’s latest news.

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IMG_4635Following the progress of French Club, a local after school class for primary-aged children that launched back in February, I hereby report an unexpected sideline in language-learning animation.

Springing from a desire to provide wrap-around language care for my students; continued exposure to French between lessons (I won’t call it homework), I started signposting resources online via the French Club Facebook page. When I found a deficit of appropriate material, I filled the gap. Hence, my French language animations have emerged. Stop animation and imovie apps have been put to work bringing la vie française to Playmobil characters ‘chez le médecin’ and ‘au café’ so far; Woody and Pascal ‘sing’. It’s an avenue previously unexplored by my technophobe self but the imagination runs free and finds inspiration in app capabilities, in pursuit of setting memorable contexts for my students’ language acquisition.

Just as I regularly sing songs in the shower from my son’s music with mummy and petits zouzous classes, my neighbour walks to work singing Woody’s version of ‘La tête, épaules , genoux et pieds’. It is meant to be catchy and memorable. When in French Club I ask ‘Do you remember how to say‘,I like?’ they burst into a rendition of ‘J’aime bien, j’aime bien, j’aime bien les hamburgers…’ (to the tune of the ‘Pizza Hut’ song). A well- documented link between music and improved memory as well as foreign language acquisition underpins the idea.

Learning vocabulary to talk about your own interests sets the context, making it relevant. In French Club the agenda is set by the students – animals, body parts, internal organs…I’m saving zombies and Harry Potter for the autumn term. We are learning ice cream flavours next week to equip those holidaying in France with all the essentials.

If you’re looking to spark some interest in your child for French before heading abroad, check my Facebook page for inspiration (see link below). Better still; try out my classes on Tuesdays after school in the Gloucester Road Quaker Meeting House. Please contact me via email or Facebook if you’d like to come along. Last class 15th July, then will resume in September after the summer break.

Alice_m_watson@msn.com, www.facebook.com/FrenchClubBristol

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