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Any French teachers around?

(12 Posts)
Neolara Mon 22-Jan-18 23:00:31

I discovered at the weekend that my dd who is in Year 9 does not know the present tense of etre and avoir. She is predicted level 8s across the board in all her subjects and is on track to achieve this in most subjects so she has no difficulty with learning in general. No issues with behaviour either.. How is it possible that she has missed this in the 2 1/2 years she's been learning French? Do kids not get taught grammar these days?

Cauliflowersqueeze Mon 22-Jan-18 23:04:26

Sometimes not explicitly. Sometimes just the je / il / ils parts. Sometimes it has been taught explicitly and they forget it.

Cauliflowersqueeze Mon 22-Jan-18 23:05:08

It’s only 12 bits of information. She can easily catch this up I’m sure.

clary Mon 22-Jan-18 23:08:58

I would teach both to an able group, if not before then when we did past tense - je suis alle, il a mange etc (sorry no accents!).

For a weaker group I would probably just teach je suis/j'ai and il est/il a tbh. Conjugating verbs just seemed to confuse some students, as if they couldn't see what they were for!

Is your DD in a settled group? If not that might explain it. In any case she will certainly need to use several pronouns confidently to achieve an 8 - I'd expect at very least accurate use of verbs in je, il, Elle, nous and ils/elles forms in all tenses.

But it's about the use of the language - a rote learning of avoirdupois in itself is not that useful. What does she know in this area?

clary Mon 22-Jan-18 23:09:38

Sorry for stupid iPad that doesn't understand French!

Neolara Mon 22-Jan-18 23:28:44

So it sounds like it's not quite as bad as I'd thought. To be honest, I was pretty shocked she didn't know what I would consider very basic French.

The slightly wider context is that I think her French is pretty terrible in general. She pronounces virtually every word incorrectly and lacks confidence in speaking. She wouldn't even ask for an ice cream in a shop when we were in France over the summer. It's like she hasn't learnt the building blocks for how to speak French - she doesn't understand the grammar and she doesn't know the phonetic code works.

RosiePosiePuddle Mon 22-Jan-18 23:32:40

She must know. Maybe you just phrased it in a way that she wasn't used to. If you asked her to translate "we are" and "they have", would she be able to translate that?

I am a science teacher and what kids don't know - or claim they don't know - always surprises me. Although it often comes down how they are asked to retrieve the information (you need to ask EXACTLY as they were taught it - asking her about the present tense of verbs may draw a blank if they have not been taught what the present tense is). They also forget stuff that they deem not important/interesting and will only recall it when it is needed such as for an exam. And they often compartmentalise information, like in a teenagers brain percentages are only used in maths so they appear to forget completely how to work out a percentage in science. It's really annoying!

As I don't teach languages I wouldn't know, but any language I have learnt has always required going through the conjugation of to have and to be. I'd have thought this would have definitely been covered. Check her textbook.

Neolara Mon 22-Jan-18 23:50:25

Her lack of knowledge emerged because I've got her a French tutor and she had her first session at the weekend. I asked the tutor what they done and she said they'd gone over stuff dd seems to have missed. So then I asked my dd, what this was and she said they'd mainly gone over etre and avoir. I thought she was joking as she must know that already but she looked very embarrassed and said she genuinely hadn't known them because they were irregular.

When I was at school, conjugating etre and avoir was pretty much lesson 1 and 2 which is why I was so surprised. But I am very old so I know lots has changed I how languages are taught.

pipilangstrumpf Tue 23-Jan-18 08:36:21

I'm not a French teacher but have 2 kids doing French at Secondary school. Both spent the first year learning verb conjugations for most regular and irregular verbs (with lots of tests etc). Imo you need a solid understanding of the grammar before you can string sentences together.

I think some teachers want to make lessons 'fun' by avoiding too much grammar, by using colourful textbooks and teaching sentences.

So maybe it is well intentioned and maybe sufficient to pass GCSEs, but imo not the best way to really 'understand' the language.

Allthebestnamesareused Tue 23-Jan-18 12:51:55

I think you have done the right thing in engaging a tutor. They'll be able to firm up the basics (what we all consider basics) and get her speaking in a one-to-one situation. If she is predicted 8s then she'll pick it up in no time with this type of tuition.

Eolian Tue 23-Jan-18 12:59:00

Lots of kids either find grammar impossible, tedipus or just don't accept that you have to actually go away and learn it. Understanding it when it's being explained is not enough. Teachers have a whole syllabus to get through in not many lessons a week. They can't spend lesson after lesson drilling verbs, although I'm sure they (like me) would go over the tenses umpteen times a year. Constantly highlighting the same errors in written work and pointing out that verbs need to be learnt seems to have little effect. It is very very common for students to get to GCSE with very hazy knowledge of tenses. It's extremely frustrating.

Needmoresleep Tue 23-Jan-18 13:20:19

We found this with DD. She seemed to be learning a phrase book. I looked through her text book and discovered that the relevant grammar was there but in separate boxes, and so over the summer holiday I got her to learn that, and vocabulary, a bit at a time. (Car journeys were good.)

It worked in that she got a good grade and did not have a last minute GCSE panic. Plus by going through in depth at home means that she has been willing to use the language and has retained quite a lot.

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