“To Teach Is To Learn Twice” – Learning French In The Classroom

by | Jan 19, 2017 | Language Learning Tips | 0 comments

For the month of January, the entire One Third Stories team is challenging themselves to learn a new language each! Our illustrator, Hannah, has chosen to learn French. Read on to find out how she’s getting on with her language learning.

Hello, I’m Hannah and I have been creating the illustrations for the One Third Stories books.  When I am not busy drawing, I am to be found working in a local Primary school, where I assist in a year 4 class in the mornings and teach art lessons in the afternoons.  

More recently, however, I have been asked to help the children in our class to learn French…. Now, teaching art is second nature to me, I couldn’t be much happier than when I am elbow deep in paint and paper and glue. I also have enough experience to fall back on when the children ask awkward art-related questions! Teaching French however, is an entirely different matter!

I studied French at school for a grand total of three years, a very long time ago.  So whilst I know there is some basic French hidden in the deep, dark depths of my memory, actually dredging it out ready to use with a group of excitable children has been interesting!  When the One Third Stories team asked if I wanted to join them in some language learning, I thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to push myself to improve my French.

Learning French In The Classroom

Thankfully, at school, I have been equipped with the interactive whiteboard resource “Salut!”, that has been brilliantly created to present vocabulary to a class without the need for a fluent French speaking teacher.  Therefore, the children and I have already had great fun listening, watching, reading and playing games which have helped us to learn French.

Through the simple expedient of working through these lessons, I have found that my own French vocabulary and confidence in speaking the language have grown too.  Besides, if the lesson itself has not been enough to boost my French vocabulary, then the task of marking 30 books after every lesson – each repeating the exact same French phrase (though often in a varied state of spelling and presentation!) – has ensured that the vocabulary has been drummed into my brain!

Learning French With A Phrase Book

In a fairly poor attempt to start building on my French vocab, I also raided my mum’s French dictionaries whilst I was home for Christmas. I have since been scanning through a 1986 French phrase book as a bit of light bed-time reading!  Whilst I am not entirely convinced that this is the best way of learning a language, it has been fascinating to look at which vocabulary was seen to be necessary for the average 1980’s business man to learn!

Admittedly, my current vocabulary now remains fairly limited to classroom instructions, the contents of a pencil case, and how to ask where the nearest telephone box is; but it is all a step in the right direction. Best of all, the whole process has reminded me how enjoyable it is to learn a language!


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