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DS new to French in Yr 7 and being left behind.

(23 Posts)
Tinuviel Sat 09-Mar-13 22:17:03

I've just checked for the old version (which I only bought last year) and the prices are crazy (starting at £16). I have no idea why as the RRP is £7.99.

Some cheaper ones here.

Tinuviel Sat 09-Mar-13 22:04:06

As a French teacher, I am gobsmacked that at your son's school they are coming up with sentences like that but I would assume that they are being given them as set structures rather than actually being able to break them down.

As a simple introduction, which does include grammar, can I recommend this book. On amazon it says it hasn't been published yet, so it must be a new version (I don't think ours is internet-linked) but I'm sure you can get hold of the version we have somewhere. It's a cartoon story interspersed with information on grammar but doesn't have 'exercises' or comprehension questions or anything like that.

I teach 3 year 7 classes at the moment in a state comp and I can assure you that they would all look baffled at the sentence you quoted, even top set - that is not normal year 7 stuff!! They would probably get 'je fais beaucoup de sport' and they do know 'parce que' because we've recently done opinions on school subjects.

happily3 Sat 09-Mar-13 17:54:24

Hi Shells,
It might help your ds to look at these v short videos (2-3mns each)

1. Introductions/personal description:

2. Pencil case items:

3. Parts of the body:

Biscuitsneeded Fri 08-Mar-13 20:23:46

You should also ask whether the school subscribes to any sites like, for example, linguascope. There are topic-based games and resources on there, and I think some grammar stuff. If you speak French yourself then ask his teacher what they have covered in his absence, get a copy of the text book and work through the grammar section with him. This is a big ask though - it depends how dedicated you both are...

IndridCold Fri 08-Mar-13 13:15:39

Second the languages online website. The BBC languages website is very good, they everything from beginners upwards, and they have a section on school french too.

BooksandaCuppa Fri 08-Mar-13 11:57:04

Ds is at a senior independent school where many of the children have come from the feeder prep and have had a few decent years of language teaching in comparison to the state primaries.

Ds is in the top set (just) in year 7, and their stuff is nowhere near as hard as that sentence you quoted. They are conjugating plenty of verbs, but only in the present tense (which is by some way still harder than most of our local state schools), but the conditional and perfect? Wow. It does seem that language teaching/expectations varies a lot.

Bunbaker Fri 08-Mar-13 10:47:32

DD is in year 8 and doesn't have sentences as complex as that either. In fact I think her school doesn't push them hard enough at French.

In year 7 DD was doing the sort of French that MarkGruffalo used as an example. They set for year 8 as it must be very difficult to teach and to learn French in classes of mixed ability.

I would talk to the school as it is obvious that they assume that the children have already learned French at primary school.

singersgirl Thu 07-Mar-13 18:51:57

Surely they haven't done the conditional yet! I guess they may have learned 'je voudrais' as a phrase.

DS2 has just started Y7 at a school where most children have done French for a few years already and had already learned the 3 regular present tense conjugations; this year, for example, they have learned the near future and have just learned the perfect. But that's not from scratch (well, it is for DS2).

Shells Thu 07-Mar-13 18:37:23

THat makes me feel much better JenaiMorris. I would feel like I could catch him up myself if it was that level.

JenaiMorris Thu 07-Mar-13 17:50:33

DS is also in Y7 and the French he's doing is nowhere near as complex as that sample sentence Shells!

They've just had a test on the time. Onze heures et demi and whatnot.

Shells Thu 07-Mar-13 16:48:10

Thank you Mark - that is brilliant. I will try and have a go at the website. I think its mixed ability. I don't think they're doing any setting til next year.

Yes, thats what I thought in terms of the other kids working knowledge but the other day I found sentences like this in his book:
"Je mange toujours de la nourriture saine parce que je fais beaucoup de sport et je voudrais etre en bonne forme" as part of an exercise. Bloody hell. He doesn't even know what 'je' means.

MarkGruffalohohoho Thu 07-Mar-13 16:43:37

ting? No, me neither confused unless rasta-souris popped up for no reason!

MarkGruffalohohoho Thu 07-Mar-13 16:41:40

I am also amazed that there is a working knowledge given that most state primaries if lucky do a lesson a week learning animals, colours etc

Most year ting a new 7 language classes are starting and working way through a new textbook which starts with personal ID je m'appelle j'ai onze ans j'habite a etc then do different topic based chapters with a vocab list to learn and a grammar box....

The best online resource I know is the wonderful languages online/royal grammar school in high wycombe. It is brilliant for learning vocab by games on the computer - word matching, quickspell or memory game.

Click on francais for the whole list of things incl grammar

Or go straight to games - left hand side menu
then click on french
you will see a whole list of topics in french
Try an easy one first eg les animaux
At the top of the screen will appear the following options

the actual vocab list

try jigsaw first - you drag the correct meanings with your mouse

Good luck - ask me on this thread if hard to navigate the site but is usually fine once you have had a play yourself!

also what is their textbook/scheme of work and is it setted or mixed ability?

MTSgroupie Thu 07-Mar-13 16:17:48

Is it possible that your DC is struggling to keep up as opposed to the class steaming ahead? It is just that primary school kids will be lucky to have basic tuition in a MFL so it is a bit unusual for a state secondary to assume that Year 7 pupils will come in with a working knowledge of French.

Shells Thu 07-Mar-13 15:43:50

Thanks for that. Some good ideas.

PhyllisDoris Thu 07-Mar-13 15:04:38

You might be able to enrol him in a French Club, so he can catch up that way?

anniesw Thu 07-Mar-13 15:02:32

A good state school should be willing to help - give him plenty of resources to work from - but he will have to do a lot of extra work by himself. See if he can have an extra session after school or at lunch once a week with his french teacher. One to one - it may only need to be for 20 mins to explain a new concept and set some work/check through what he has done. sk for refernces to on line sites he can use - there is a lot of good material available to use in a fun way so that the learning is not too onerous

Labro Thu 07-Mar-13 15:01:22

as far as I know they have no obligation as its not a core subject, you may find they have lunch time clubs etc as exposure to french can be quite variable in the primary sector so there may be others who also need help.

Shells Thu 07-Mar-13 14:46:41

Thanks both. I will ask about websites. A tutor is not something we could afford. And I am spending all extra time at home catching him up on Maths and English - which obv. have to take priority. So the school will have no obligation to help him?
Just want to know where I stand before I go barging in! Its a state school by the way.

MorningHasBroken Thu 07-Mar-13 14:45:40

Second getting a tutor. I went to a private secondary where 80% of my year had already studied French in their prep schools. Me, and the other 20% of the year who'd gone to state primaries and never studied French before, were still stuck in the bottom set for gcse, 5 years later. Never caught up.

Labro Thu 07-Mar-13 14:42:17

my ds started an independent in Yr 5 with similar situation, he'd done 2 yrs of very basic german in his state primary but no french at all. Yr 5 was great, but Yr 6 the teacher is a nightmare and won't accept that if ds doesn't know words for dress,table,chair etc (as examples) its no good asking him to do a test on er verbs!!! Hopefully your ds teacher will be understanding, ask about the websites schools often subscribe to and look at getting a 'first french' dictionary for him to have at home, also have a look at the bbc site for the junior age group which should help to fill in the gaps

Bonsoir Thu 07-Mar-13 14:42:14

Get him a tutor. School won't be able to help him catch up and French, unlike maths or English, isn't something he can study on his own.

Shells Thu 07-Mar-13 14:15:00

DS has just joined Yr 7 (we have moved from abroad) and has started French for the first time. I am pretty stunned at the work he is being given. It seems to me to be really quite complex and advanced. I presume all the other kids in the class have had several years of French already.
Poor DS has very low self esteem and this is tipping him over the edge. He doesn't even know where to start with it. I'm going to see his teacher next week but want to know - is it reasonable to expect that they will start him with the basics? Should he just be expected to catch up on his own? I'm not really sure what I can demand.

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