Le Patron is a tool whereby learners of French as a foreign or second language can paste in their French compositions and have their errors identified immediately. Learners can then edit their work according to the explanations provided.
Type of Material:
Proofreading and grammar check tool
A composition aid for all levels of French learners
Identify Major Learning Goals:
Improve French writing skills
Target Student Population:
Learners of French
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Some basic ability to write in French
Evaluation and Observation
Writers of French as a second/foreign language can paste their compositions into the Patron tool and have their errors instantaneously highlighted. Explanations for errors made are also provided. Writers can then edit their compositions and have their modifications checked at the same time. The site also provides a number of grammar exercises for these most commonly made errors, a link to a French Grammar written in English and a list of daily assignments for improving writing skills. There is also a link to the Canadian French broadcast Cest la vie for listening practice. There is an informative FAQ and user testimonials page as well that make for interesting reading.
Users who seek an easy way to type accents without making adjustments to their keyboards or remembering codes will appreciate the accent feature.
Le Patron is not completely foolproof. Some errors may go unnoticed.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
This is a very useful site for learners to use in developing grammar, composing, and editing skills in French. A cautionary note is provided stating that the Patron tool is not foolproof. It can identify thousands of commonly made errors but may miss many more that are semantically nuanced.
Faculty can offer Le patron as an alternative to turning to inaccurate online translators. The emphasis is on pinpointing grammar and spelling errors and then exploring the way to correct them.
Having students be responsible for this proofreading allows them to focus more on style and content. Too often content is relegated to the background in L2 writing in favor of mechanics.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The tool could not be easier to use. The instructions are thorough and clearly written (in French) and navigation is crystal clear. It should be noted that all texts that are entered into the Patron site may be utilized by the authors for research purposes.