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Helping son prepare for GCSE French

(17 Posts)
blinkbonny Tue 12-Mar-19 08:50:12

I'm looking for ideas to build in some painless regular practice of French with my Y10 son as he moves towards his GCSE. I'm conscious that "little and often" is the best approach but struggling to figure out how to structure this. I am not a fluent French speaker but can do his level. Currently I tend to randomly ask him to conjugate a verb or respond to a question (eg "how are you?") when I remember to, but it's sporadic and I feel like I am sucking the joy from the language when I would like to do the opposite.

Does anyone have any ideas of how I can build some painless French practice into everyday life in a way that will be helpful for his school work?

Thank you/merci!

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cingolimama Tue 12-Mar-19 09:46:28

I applaud your intentions, but a non-fluent French speaker asking DS to randomly conjugate verbs sounds joyless and not very helpful.

I'm fluent in French, but one of the best things I ever did was hire a wonderful French tutor for DD for three months. It reignited her interest in the language and got her motivated again - and speaking French with some enthusiasm. It's so difficult learning a language in the UK - generally I think they're not taught very well, and you can lose sight of the idea of actually communicating.

If you can possibly afford it, even for a limited time, it will be very helpful. Good luck.

bigKiteFlying Tue 12-Mar-19 12:21:49

I don't think French accent is too bad - though TBH I wouldn't be best judge of that - (welsh pronunciations is bad but still helps though more with reading).

QueenofCBA Tue 12-Mar-19 18:26:20

If you want to “spark joy”, there are a lot of good French programs on Sky and Netflix - vet before watching though as most take a “European” approach to nudity, sex etc.

Little and often is good for learning. His book should give you ideas re. questions he might have to answer. Work on making answers more sophisticated and interesting, he will need lots of tenses and varied vocabulary and structures.

blinkbonny Tue 12-Mar-19 18:51:48

Thanks for the input, yes indeed @cingolimama my point was that my current approach was more guaranteed to kill any language interest rather than ignite it!

We have tried Duolingo in the past and I will encourage that again - good idea about watching shows etc, I hadn't thought of that. A tutor would be affordable but again think it would be more like "work" - I'm trying to think of ways to have a bit of curriculum-aligned fun and practice together without chanting conjugations.

Thank you all very much! Any more ideas also welcome.

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elephantoverthehill Tue 12-Mar-19 18:58:39

My Ds did French GCSE last year, the first bit was the spoken exam. They are given a picture and have to describe it, I tried to just drop it into normal conversation eg 'Aujordhui le soliel brille'. We also used a lot of English words which have been adopted by the French for the stuff he likes to do eg 'Au weekend je joue le rugby'. That bit is true but other stuff we made up eg ' J'aime bien le cinema.

PandaG Tue 12-Mar-19 19:00:52

What really helped DD with German was finding a native speaker a couple of years older than her. They just went out for coffee together and chatted in German. DD's friend was a coincidental meeting - they were both on a course organised through our church and hit it off, and the native speaker offered to help DD - she was pleased to be able to speak German while living in England. Just chatting (and nearer the time practising vocab in different areas) really helped DD's confidence.

I suppose what I am saying is, can you find a youngish native speaker just to hang out with? If you are in a university city might there be any students here on year abroad willing to come and chat?

Boysarefab Tue 12-Mar-19 19:42:19

My DS was struggling with French (he is doing gcse) and I found a native French “tutor” on gumtree that he met in a local cafe for an hour a week and they chatted in French, with her helping him. He took along notes he had made on the module he wanted to practise eg aqa module of me, my friend and family. They looked at vocab, tenses etc. She made it fun and it was much better than school lessons. It helped him enormously and really helped build his confidence. She wasn’t tutoring him for an exam per se but helping build confidence and to improve. Hope that helps.

MoBiroBo Tue 12-Mar-19 21:28:19

Both Duolingo and Memrise according to DS1. He is in year 11, and predicted grade 7 or above in German.

Neither myself or Dh did German so we needed all the help we could get for him.

Ds2 does French, also does both Duolingo and Memrise.

Ds1 says Duolingo is better for grammar and tense.

TheFirstOHN Tue 12-Mar-19 21:32:28

DS2 did a bit of Duolingo most days and got a grade 9.

Whynotnowbaby Tue 12-Mar-19 21:41:19

I think Duolingo is great and my students really like Memrise but not the courses that come with it - either enter your own vocabulary or if you google (for example) GCSE French Family you will find that lots of teachers have already done the work for you!

ataleoftwothenthreethenfour Tue 12-Mar-19 21:42:04

I think that there is a point at which, with language learning, you do have to do a bit of the boring stuff. If you don't learn to conjugate your French verbs, you're basically stuffed, you're never going to be any good. Stick them on the back of the toilet door, or on the fridge or something, so he is looking at them little and often. I think watching TV programmes is a good way to go, and there are some daft French films out there if you could get them, Taxi, Qu'est-ce qu'on a fait au bon dieu, Les bronzés.... Also, if he has a particular hobby, consider trying to find something on the web to read about it, or a French person to follow on instagram or find French music on youtube, it's not all Johnny Hallyday (it's a lot of Johnny Hallyday though....

Wintersnowdrop Tue 12-Mar-19 21:45:11

My dd used Memrise for her GCSE German. There was a course with all the gcse vocabulary. She got an 8 in the exam.

Wintersnowdrop Tue 12-Mar-19 21:46:41

You can also watch dvds in The language with the subtitles in English. But Memrise was most helpful because it had all the necessary vocabulary.

bionicnemonic Tue 12-Mar-19 21:49:30

There are some films on Netflix that have ‘special’ subtitles

Harumphharagh Tue 12-Mar-19 21:50:35

Journal en Francais facile is good, only ten minutes and there’s a transcript. Great for comprehension and accent.

blinkbonny Wed 13-Mar-19 08:24:25

Wow, thank you all, some fantastic ideas here! I will look for a more informal approach to tutoring such as you've described - I think that will work well. I had been avoiding tutoring as I thought it would be more like homework sessions - the coffee shop type approach sounds more the language-as-part-of-life approach I'd prefer for DS. So I'll scope my search accordingly.

Will also work on frequent, relevant sentences about our daily life, sticking things up in the room for subliminal reinforcement, and better application of Duolingo and Memrise. I know DS has the ability to achieve a decent mark, but think he will leave it too late which is why I want to build over time.

Thank you all! smile

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