French à la mode is a website that offers activities for the beginning and intermediate French language learner. This module is a collection of audiovisual and written cultural materials intended to supplement any French curriculum for French learners at the beginning and intermediate levels The website is organized thematically (family, clothing, food, nature, birthdays, sports, vacation), and it provides culturally authentic readings and audio clips accompanied by multiple choice comprehension quizzes. Each section also includes video clips from the hit TV show Un gars, une fille, which aired in France until 2003, and which features a young French couple in a variety of comical situations.
Type of Material:
Open Textbook/ quiz and practice
French à la mode is a very versatile site, which can be used in a variety of learning situations. Instructors may wish to show video clips in class or to assign them as homework, and to use them as a basis for the next in-class discussion. Likewise, the audio clips and reading passages can be assigned as homework or used as in-class activities. Those studying French independently will also find that the structure of the site lends itself to self-paced learning and exploration.
Adobe Flash, VoiceThread account (for some videos)
Identify Major Learning Goals:
French à la mode is designed for undergraduate students at the beginner and intermediate level of French study, however it can also be used by advanced French language learners who wish to improve their reading and/or listening comprehension, to expand their vocabulary, and to increase their knowledge of francophone culture. In addition, when the website is used in conjunction with traditional classroom meetings, the discussion questions provide an effective way to encourage students to practice expressing themselves in French on the most widely-discussed topics of our day.
Students engage in conversation and exchange opinions about a variety od cultural topics - Students understand and interpret written and spoken language on a variety of topic - Students present information, concepts and ideas to an audience on a variety of cultural topics - Students demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between the practices and perspectives of French culture -Students acquire information and recognize the distinctive viewpoints that are only available through French language and its culture - students demonstrate understanding of concept of culture through comparisons of French culture and their own culture.
Target Student Population:
French à la mode is designed for undergraduate students at the beginner and intermediate level of French study, but also includes a wealth of resources for advanced undergraduate students, as well as for adult learners who wish to improve their level of French through self-study.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
None. The course is accessible to all levels of French language learners. The option to display English or French subtitles during the video clips allows even the true novice to improve his/her comprehension skills.
The authors of French à la mode make every effort to portray the French language as it is truly spoken, and not just as it is taught in traditional French language textbooks. The variety of activities (culturally authentic articles, audio clips, video clips, and notes on current French slang) are certain to capture the interest of students, and to keep them engaged as they work through each unit. The instructions on the site are clear and accurate, and each theme is explored from a variety of viewpoints.This module provides accurate cultural information that can be used without requiring an assignment and context. The material presented can also be used to for other instructional use such as language and cultural immersion and oral comprehension exams.
Because the site relies heavily on links to articles and video clips which are housed on other websites, when the location of those articles and videos changes, the links fail to work. Similarly, some of the multiple choice quiz questions need to be updated because they are based upon information from several years ago.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
French à la mode will engage students as they work through activities to improve their listening and reading comprehension, while simultaneously building their vocabulary base and increasing their cultural knowledge of the francophone world. No prerequisite knowledge is required, and the site provides multiple opportunities for scaffolding: Concepts are reinforced in multiple formats: written, audio and video. In addition, students can choose to display French or English subtitles on the videos, or to view the transcript of an audio recording, if they are having comprehension difficulties. Short comprehension quizzes allow students to verify whether they have correctly understood the content of each activity.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
French à la mode is aesthetically pleasing and easy to navigate. Upon entering the site, students can choose from four levels of study, and each level of study features a series of themes. Once the user has chosen a theme, the selected webpage features a plethora of photos and embedded videos clips which can be studied in the order presented, or according to the personal interests or learning goals---listening or reading comprehension, vocabulary enhancement, or cultural knowledge---of the learner.
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