Students study French for a variety of reasons:
- French is spoken by more than 220 million people over 5 continents.
- It is the second most widely learned language after English and the sixth most widely spoken in the world. Along with English, it is the only language taught in every country of the world.
- Over 40% of the English language comes directly from French so students can easily learn and understand French.
- It is the language of culture: cooking, fashion, visual arts, dance and theatre.
- It is a language for travel, higher education, international relations and business.
- It is fun to learn and an absolute pleasure to speak and listen to! It is the most beautiful language in the world!
French in Marian College
Students studying French start as beginners in first year and go right through to sixth year. In keeping with current trends in modern language teaching, the emphasis is placed on communication through the target language. The approach is always to study what’s relevant in the language so that if they go to a French-speaking country they should be able to communicate effectively, understand what they are reading and hearing and develop these skills as the years go by.
Our aim is also to encourage them to develop an appreciation of French culture and of language learning in general from Junior Cycle to Senior Cycle. We use a communicative approach to language teaching, with lessons conducted largely in French, supported by careful study and practice of grammar and vocabulary.
The French classroom is fitted with a data-projector and whiteboard and contains a wide variety of resources to make language learning as enjoyable and effective as possible. Teachers differentiate to cater for the range of needs and ability within the classroom. All classes are mixed-ability as this is best practice and studies show that students perform better in this context.
In 1st Year, we start at the beginning, and it is not necessary to have studied French, prior to coming to Marian College. Over the three years we aim to develop the skills of listening, reading, speaking and writing through a wide range of activities including: group work, vocabulary learning, listening to French music etc.
The aim is to further stimulate student interest in French through an even broader range of activities and language tasks that facilitate even more creative and active learning such as attending French film screenings and writing to French pen pals.
Leaving Certificate French is essentially a continuation of Junior Cycle French. Reinforcing work done already at Junior Cycle level, our students are encouraged to speak and write in French about themselves and their interests. This naturally begins at a simple level, and as they progress they will learn to handle more sophisticated topics of social and political interest. Particularly at honours level, students will learn to express their opinions about a range of contemporary issues such as the environment, sport and politics, and to react to opinions expressed across such a range of topics.
Pupils are encouraged to participate in extracurricular activities that will enhance their French. There is the annual trip to Bundoran, Co. Donegal where students spend three days practicing their language through activities such as cooking, surfing and producing music videos. Previously students have organised quizzes to celebrate the European Day of Languages and The French Theatre for Schools Company has visited the school. Such events and activities bring language learning outside the classroom in a fun and enjoyable way.