There are ½ million British families permanently living in france
, usually retired with spare time and possibly a need to supplement a pension. What could be easier than to place french
students with approved families to provide total immersion in the english
language, on one's doorstep?
As a retired teacher
and boarding school housemistress residing permanently in france
I believe this scheme has great potential and decided to explore the possibility of working with french
students wishing to improve their english
My participation in the tefl course
was all part of this decision.
I investigated and assessed various french
Agencies who are involved in placing students with suitable english
families (i). They tend to operate on a regional basis and I focused on two local Agencies who appeared to be particularly active and had established an excellent reputation and profile. (ii) The Agencies visited us for in depth interviews to determine our suitability and accommodation, followed by police checks and registration with local authorities.
(i). www.languageinprovence.com/ www.french
.com/ easylanguages.com/ www.chatterboxfr.net/ www.host-in-france
.com / www.letsspeak.net
(ii) www.letsspeak.net / www.host-in-france
We profiled the types of students we would prefer and the Agency's task was to try to match such choices. The expectation was we were to spend 12 to 14 hours each day with the student comprising formal teaching, meals, leisure activities and relaxed discussion.
Clearly, the Agency and student [or student's family] can set out their formal teaching format and expectations but finally it is the quality of planning and effort provided by the host family that will determine the success of the stay.
Prior to the stay, there is contact with the student [or student's family] to determine any special needs and to ascertain the student's current language ability and aspirations in order to model their course. I used a needs analysis document adapted from Unit 19 (iii) and emailed it to the student. This served as a preliminary introduction and provided useful knowledge for initially preparing a programme. I established a library of suitable reading material for all ages including journals and english
newspapers. (iv). I also found excellent on-line sources of authentic teaching aids. (v)
On arrival our main task was to help the student relax and feel welcome in new surroundings. I always want the course to be a pleasant experience with a balance of hard work and fun. After the first evening of sharing stories about family, hobbies, likes, dislikes etc. the programme began. A typical day started with family breakfast, when I outlined the structure of the day. This was important as we all knew what to expect.
The morning typically comprised of two or three hours of formal one-to-one tutoring based on the needs of the particular student, existing level of understanding, ability and motivation to progress. Recent experience with the tefl course
has served me well in this area particularly when preparing worksheets and explaining the finer points of english
grammar. I carefully formed questions
that couldn't be answered with simple yes or no, encouraging as much engagement and oral practice as possible. Many students were competent in reading and writing english
but lacked understanding in replying with the spoken word, even in a regulated and quiet environment. Keeping the flow and humour in a lesson was often tiring and hard work. Consequently much of the course involved the student in regular english
conversation developing speech with a reasonable accent and pronunciation, listening to good english
and encouraging confident voicing of his/her views on a variety of topics.
As it is often better to develop conversational skills in a less formal manner where the student sub-consciously learns the language much as a small child ...... word association, structure of sentences, nuances, idioms etc. so our afternoon leisure activities sometimes involved meeting with other english
families as well as ten pin bowling, croquet, cycling archery etc. and pizza at an english
cafe in our area. This all helped us to achieve our goal.
(Article 729 words)
(iii) P.12 Unit 19 ITTT
foreveryone.org/ linguapress.com/ www.breakingnewsenglish
.com / www.english
At the end of the week I wrote a final report (as suggested by the Agency) (vi) for the student and his parents.
media has shown much interest in this scheme with magazine and radio exposure, and more recently on a breakfast TV programme in which we were interviewed in our home as a host family. (vii)
I have enjoyed the experience and the challenge and believe this programme to be advantageous to all those involved if it is done well.
(vi) Sample report see scanned attachment.
2 Emission Telematin Echo culture 08H15- 05/07/12