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to ask for bilingual DC to do something else during French lessons?

(93 Posts)
StarlingBirdsong Thu 15-Sep-16 10:58:05

DC in question is year 2, age 6. We are a bilingual family (French/English). DC has come home saying they've had french lessons, this is the second week so looks like its going to be a regular thing one afternoon a week.

DC is complaining that he bored (understandable) and that the teacher says some of it wrong (it's not a native french speaker so the 'r' letter in particular is likely not to sound correct to him).

WIBU to ask that DC is either set a different task, or that i can send him in with a book and he can do quiet reading for this lesson? (He is a free reader and would sit in silence with his book, no issue).

I'm worried that his boredom will soon turn into disruptive behaviour - and i wouldn't blame him, they are literally learning the basics 'bonjour, comment ca va' etc - DC is fluent!

DO i approach his class teacher? or the actual french teacher?

ImperialBlether Thu 15-Sep-16 11:00:57

I would definitely speak to the school. My first thought was that they could be making use of him! There's no way he should be sitting there learning how to say the basics, though.

mycatstares Thu 15-Sep-16 11:01:17

Is there anything your dc struggles with at school? Maths or handwriting? If so ask his teacher if he can sit quietly at the back of the class practicing that instead.

MissBrooke Thu 15-Sep-16 11:02:45

Yes I'd definitely say something.
Approach the French teacher and just begin the conversation in French smile
Serioudly, I think I'd see his class teacher first but he can't be expected to sit through it without having something else to do.
Be all smiley & obsequious.

Hygellig Thu 15-Sep-16 11:03:52

Sorry I don't have much helpful advice to offer, but I remember my friend who had a French mother saying that although she spoke fluent French as a child, she struggled at first with written French so did benefit from lessons in that sense. However, this was in Y7 so probably very different for Y2.

I can understand why your son would be bored. Could the teacher involve him more, for example having little conversations with her or the other children, if you are worried he is going to be disruptive? Other than that, yes, perhaps it could be sensible if he could just get on with some quiet reading (maybe in French!).

Skittlesss Thu 15-Sep-16 11:04:15

Do school know he speaks French?

StarlingBirdsong Thu 15-Sep-16 11:04:16

mycats without being v'my child is a genius' he is working at the top level within the class already.

SmilingButClueless Thu 15-Sep-16 11:04:28

If he's a confident child, I'd send your DS in with a French book and get him to ask the teacher, in French, whether he could read it while the class works on the easy stuff!

(I may have read The Little Princess far too much when I was younger)

QueenofallIsee Thu 15-Sep-16 11:05:53

I would ask that he is tasked with something that he does need help with. its brilliant that the school is introducing a language to primary aged kids (not everywhere does) but he doesn't need it so ask that he is given extra maths or something.

StarlingBirdsong Thu 15-Sep-16 11:06:03

skittless it is on his paperwork but i have no idea if the teachers have actually looked at this!!

Hygellig i think its just spoken french at the moment, if it was written he could use the extra practice!

someonestolemynick Thu 15-Sep-16 11:06:09

Maybe approach the teacher slightly differently, instead of telling them how to solve this.

I am a language teacher (But only reach kids who are signed up to me privately). In your situation (of I wouldn't pick it up during class) I'd be grateful if you made me aware and I might find a more productive solution than the kid sitting in the corner with a book.

He might enjoy being promoted to "helper" during French lessons or he might end up reading in a quiet corner, if that is what suits him best.

But definitely go to the teacher (the language teacher if possible) and see what can be done.

DoinItFine Thu 15-Sep-16 11:10:51

If he could do with practising his written French, maybe ask the teachervto set him some written exercises he couod donwhile the others are speaking.

Also, it must be useful to have a child in the class who can already speak French, so the others can see it in action.

I bet she'd be glad to know.

mycatstares Thu 15-Sep-16 11:11:39

Maybe he could do some homework in the French lessons then? Or he could help the other children with French if your happy for him to do that?

MaidOfStars Thu 15-Sep-16 11:17:52

Although the language was new to me, French lessons were where I picked up a lot of my grammar knowledge - what's a tense/adverb/etc....

Might he benefit in this aspect?

whywonthedgehogssharethehedge Thu 15-Sep-16 11:21:26

He will likely benefit eventually but not in year 2. Talk to his teacher and hopefully they can work out a way to keep him interested and excited.

StarlingBirdsong Thu 15-Sep-16 11:24:51

I will speak with the french teacher and firstly check if she's aware he is bilingual and then depending what she says will see how to move forward. Glad i'm NBU to not want him sitting bored for the lesson.

with regards to his reading and written - DH is teaching him and has a programme set out which he's working through (he's the french speaker not me) and i'm worried that doing other things in class may confuse things for him? especially as the teacher cant pronounce some of the things correctly to help with spelling etc.

His grammar knowledge is very good - I'm a bit of a grammar pedant!

BoboBunnyH0p Thu 15-Sep-16 11:28:28

Is the whole class taught French together? In my DC school they split the class in half, half do French and the other half do cookery and swop over the next time term. I would certainly ask for him to either be given a written French exercise or extra work for something he is struggling with.

LemonBreeland Thu 15-Sep-16 11:30:14

Do they actually have a language teacher, or is it just the class teacher? In primary it is most often the class teacher, and they don't know languages well, so struggle to teach them.

DS2 had a French girl in his class and she would help with the lessons. Teachers knew their pronunciation wasn't quite up to scratch, so would use her to help them.

We actually have a few children with French parents in our school.

Schwabischeweihnachtskanne Thu 15-Sep-16 11:30:32

DD was allowed to help the teacher in primary school English lessons (in Germany) and I went in and taught the odd English lesson and talked (in German) to her class about school in England.

I'd definitely talk to the teacher in a positive way - if possible offer the native French speaking parent's services as a one off to talk to the kids about life in France or teach a French song or something - let the teacher and class get a positive out of it whilst highlighting that DS is a native speaker so not going to be making errors when it comes to pronunciation and word order.

DD now has to do 5 hours of English s week at secondary but it is good for her to get almost automatic top grades as she isn't otherwise a straight A student, and it does mean she practices spelling (she reads and writes in English at home but I don't correct spelling except glaring repeated errors as she does it for fun and I don't want to put her off) and she has a conscious, analytical knowledge of grammar that native speakers often lack. Means she could teach/ tutor later where she couldn't if she couldn't explain about tenses, irregular verbs etc.

I did make sure right from the start that her English teacher knew she is not just the child if an English mother but actually a mother tongue English speaker, as some kids don't speak both parents' languages at mother tongue standard or even fluently, sadly. She never gets corrected by her teacher but I have heard of other native speakers being corrected by non native speaker language teachers.

JudyCoolibar Thu 15-Sep-16 11:33:01

Could he take in whatever he's working on at home by way of written French and do some of that during the lessons?

QuimReaper Thu 15-Sep-16 11:40:25

I think any child would go bonkers spending an afternoon being taught something miles beneath their ability level. Schools turn themselves inside out trying to find good ways to have each student working at their own ability level for each discipline, so I can't see why this should be any different just because it's an unusual discipline to have a different ability level in.

Smiling I thought of TLP too grin I would ask if he can read a book in French - he is already fluent but this way he can stretch his reading muscles, expand his vocabulary, etc. So he' still "doing a French lesson" but at his ability level.

Unless, OP, you think he might prefer to be "helper". I know some kids really thrive on that kind of thing, and it might be a very beneficial learning experience for him to learn to help others too, it's a great skill. (Said because when I was that age I was better than the best reading group so they tried to get me to help the others, and I got frustrated and impatient with them immediately and ended up being sent to sit on my own blush)

Twinchaos1 Thu 15-Sep-16 11:47:09

My pair aren't bilingual but after a couple of years abroad they have pretty good Spanish, better than the class teacher. They have a helper role and one of their teachers had the common sense to get them to pronounce stuff first. They enjoy this brief change in status.

allegretto Thu 15-Sep-16 11:47:58

I had the same problem with DS1 but in English (we live in Italy). We asked and some teachers were really good and let him read and also asked his advice on pronunciation, others saw him as a threat and basically ignored him in class. He is now at senior school and doesn't want any special treatment - so he speaks in an Italian accent in English to fit in! I would definitely ask the teacher for suggestions.

strawberrybootlace Thu 15-Sep-16 11:59:40

I would definitely talk to the teacher OP. This doesn't sound like a great situation for your DS at the moment. They probably aren't aware.

Our kids have benefitted from having downtime during English lessons in our host country. Read their books and did some quick grammar and vocab exercises (provided by us, there are some good 11 plus vocab exercise books).

I impressed on them that they should never correct the teacher's English unless their input was asked for!! Also not criticise the teacher to other children.

arranged Thu 15-Sep-16 12:03:26

Absolutely ask for him to do something else instead.

My DC are bilingual and my eldest had to sit through an "English lesson" in nursery. He came home counting to ten in the most bizarre accent I've ever heard....

I thought it was hilarious, but that's because he's preschool. I wouldn't be laughing once he's older.

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