Roseline : mon studio - Compréhension orale (A1)
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When I grew up in France, it was not possible to watch foreign films and series on TV or at my local cinema in their original version / subtitled. Everything was dubbed. Besides, the choice was limited. Series and films were mostly French and American and the quality of the storytelling was poor. It was only when I started university that I could happily borrow subtitled films at the library.
Foreign language films have recently been democratised by streaming services. It is now possible to discover great films from all over the world in their original language and to be immersed in a different culture at home. Amazon Prime and Netflix offer a wide range of genres and I am delighted that my students embrace that opportunity.
All my adult students have watched the series "Dix pour Cent" (Call my Agent), some of them enjoyed "Le Chalet", "La Mante" and "La Forêt" (all of which are a bit too scary for me!). It has enabled them to listen to a wide range of accents, language registers and to get used to the rhythm of French. It has also given us many opportunities to talk and share our opinions about characters and plots.
There are more than just series on Netflix and below, I have selected a few French films and documentaries I have recently enjoyed watching on Netflix.
1) Bienvenue à Marly-Gomont de Julien Rambaldi (The African Doctor)
Seyolo Zantoko, a recent medical graduate of Congolese descent in France, struggles to integrate in a rural village, but winds up one of the most respected doctors in the region.
2) Le jeu de Fred Cavayé (Nothing to hide)
A few friends meet for a dinner party. After dinner they play a game of sharing texts, calls, e-mails etc. by placing all 7 cell phones on the table. Unexpected results as all have secrets.
3) Mademoiselle de Joncquières de Emmanuel Mouret (Lady J)
A wealthy widow concocts a scheme to get revenge when her romance with a lustful marquis takes an unwelcome turn.
4) Mauvaises herbes de Kheiron (Bad seeds)
Waël, a scam artist and former street kid from the Parisian suburbs, finds himself taking charge of a group of six teenagers expelled for being troublemakers.
5) Chefs' Table : France
Chef's Table, French edition, goes inside the lives and kitchens of some of the world's most renowned French chefs. Each episode focuses on a single chef and their unique look at their lives, talents and passion from their piece of culinary heaven.
Last week, I took 11 of my students to Paris after many months of organisation and preparation. Among my students were some from my Edinburgh classes and others from my online classes from elsewhere in the world.
I wanted to give them the opportunity to discover the Paris that I love far from the hustle and bustle of the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe.
However, my main objectives were to expand their cultural knowledge, put their learning in a real-life context, encourage them to communicate in French with Parisians but also with one another and build up their confidence.
Last weekend we had our long awaited and carefully planned weekend in Paris with Estelle. It turned out to be a marvellous weekend for cultural events, fine meals, a fair amount of walking and a lot of chat, laughter and some hilarious encounters with charming Parisians.
This was a wonderful weekend, with so much packed into it. As a group we got on well. In the shops and cafes we made efforts to speak French to the assistants and waiters, and for me, it encouraged me to persist in studying the French language.
We were very lucky with the weather and enjoyed two beautiful walks. We ate some traditional food and some less traditional. We visited the Picasso museum but also a rather unusual exhibition at the Atelier des lumières - an amazing sound and light show of Van Gogh art pieces.
Finally, we finished with a wonderful performance of the play we had previously studied : La Cantatrice Chauve by Ionesco.
This was a total pleasure! I think it was an insight into how Parisiens live & spend their free time. We visited museums & venues with thought-provoking art, sites of cultural & religious significance, watched live theatre, sampled unique cakes & ate delicious food the whole time. It was my delight to participate in the guided walking tour and impromptu meetings in outdoor settings.
Everything was beautifully orchestrated by Estelle. The detailed itinerary allowed people to choose what to participate in and join the group later should they wish. Activities effortlessly segue-wayed to the next with plenty time for fun and laughter together. Estelle thoughtfully considered my mobility issues so I was able to participate fully. Thank you so much Estelle for an unforgettable trip.
Travelling with my students has been a wonderful experience. It created a real sense of community allowing us to build even better relationships with one another and making everyone feel included. I will now be able to create even more online experiences where they can work together to improve their French skills and make better progress.