French Club, Bristol: Inspiring Local Children’s Enthusiasm for the French Language

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Alice Watson, local mum of two children, has recently set up a French Club for primary school aged children in and around Bishopston. Through her classes, Alice aims to inspire children’s enthusiasm for the French language, as well as complement school learning.

Classes are held at 4.10 – 4.50pm on Tuesdays every week during term time at the Quaker Meeting House on Gloucester Road. Classes are £4 per lesson with a discounted price of £7 for two siblings.

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Alice is a qualified and experienced French teacher and has taught Secondary French at Brislington School for three years and English to both children and adults in London and Spain. She has an up to date Enhanced Criminal Record Certificate and is a governor at Stoke Park Primary School.

The French Club’s classes have a focus on both speaking and listening to French. Alice teaches children useful expressions that can be transferable across subject matter and as building blocks to future learning, plus key vocabulary of topics that the children are interested in.

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But Alice ensures that her classes are always fun and interesting and including lots of games for children to enjoy. She explains:

“I’ve tried to cover a range of types of activities, to keep it fresh and interesting and also to appeal to the diverse preferences and learning styles in the class.  We’ve done lots of vocabulary games with lots of running around. 

I’ve varied the presentation of new words, using flashcards, masks and toys.  I use songs in every lesson.  We had a craft lesson where the children learned the French words for the equipment they used and I’ve also read them a little French story in one of the classes.”

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Alice describes how the content of the French Club lessons is entirely child-led:

“The themes are requested by the class and I decide on the vocabulary and expressions to teach.  A particularly enthusiastic animal-lover requested animals, so we covered jungle animals and pets.  The latest request is for a Harry Potter lesson!

Last term we learned words for different types of food and drink with some related expressions.  Through songs and games the children gradually acquired the new language and the five weeks work culminated in a café lesson.  I made a little animation using Playmobil figures which set the students on course to act out their own café scenes using props and some menus they had made.”

Alice explains how she finds the materials that she uses in her lessons:

“So far I have loved putting together the resources and materials for the lessons, this is where my own children’s toys come in handy!  It is the best part of teaching;  being independent from curriculum means I can follow the interests of the students and teach in any imaginative way I like without the restraints of the classroom.”

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Alice has been developing a French Club facebook page for parents and children to use alongside the lessons:

“I regularly post the resources I’ve made and links to the music used in class as well as extra bits and pieces related to the topic we’re learning about.  This is for the purposes of catching up if a child has missed a class, or if anyone wants to listen again to the music they can do so.  It allows the older, more able students to continue learning independently if they wish.  The songs could always be uploaded on to other media for repeated listening, to encourage immersion in the language.”

The French Club’s classes are relatively small compared to school classes, averaging about eight to a class with a maximum of twelve which ensures children receive maximum benefit from the classes.

The new term of French Club starts this week, with ‘les parties du corps’; parts of the body theme. Sounds exciting!

If you would like to find out more about French Club or sign your child up for a place, please contact Alice by emailing alice_m_watson@msn.com or check out the French Club’s facebook page to find out more about the activities enjoyed in lessons.

*Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.

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