News and Events

2018-06-01 00:00:06

MRU Interns From France Visited Simonas Daukantas Progymnasium in Vilnius

20180525143722 May 24-25th, 2018,  MRU interns from France visited the Vilnius Simonas Daukantas Progymnasium to practice speaking French with high school students. Interns that participated included: Chloé Cervello, Élisa Lièvre, Martin Sanséau, Jade Terry and Ambre Tilmant.

MRU Humanities Institute Lecturers Assoc. Prof. Sigita Rackevičienė and Assoc. Prof. Giedrė Valūnaitė Oleškevičienė accompanied the student interns. Teacher Danutė Stankaitienė welcomed the interns.

Intern Martin Sanséau:

Before the visit, we prepared a programme. We sent it to the teacher to agree on what we could do. But, she really put her trust on us and let us do what we wanted to do, so it was interesting because we were free to act.

The students were 16, with an A2-B1 level. We taught for a duration of 50 minutes. The first day we started with the presentation of the MRU Institute of Humanities Bachelor's Degree programme in Translation and Editing (Vertimas ir redagavimas) and the English for Specific Purposes and the Second Foreign Language programme. Our objective was to let them know about this programme and give them the information of what this programme could teach them. As we knew the same type of Bachelor's programme, it was interesting for them because we could give them more practical than theoretical approach for such programme with examples from our own experience.

Then, we started with prepared activities. We began with idiom games. The aim was to present students with an important aspect of the French language. In France we use a lot of images to illustrate our speech. It is important to learn the most important idioms we use in a daily conversation, not to lose the flow of the conversation and not to get lost. We divided the class into three groups and we gave them some information regarding French culture. In this way we could approach them and break the ice between us. We also answered their questions on France and French culture. We divided the class on purpose to reduce the possible language barrier and shyness that could exist between us. All the groups were very efficient. They all got at least half of the meanings of the idioms.

When all the group work was done, we started another class activity called the Phrases fourche-langues (tongue twister sentences). In every language there exist these kinds of sentences made of similar sounds or sounds which are difficult to pronounce when combined. They are useful to perfect pronunciation, and they are funny to practice too. At first, we pronounced sentences loudly for all to hear. Then we made students repeat sentences in small groups. They were very amused by this activity. They were so thrilled that they even showed us their own tongue twisters and we had to try to pronounce them. It was very a pleasant moment based on sharing cultures. And this ended our first day at school. We weren’t supposed to come back, but they were so amused and interested that I asked the teacher, if we could come back. She told us to come back the very next day.

Then, the next day, we started by completing the tongue twisters because we couldn’t finish what we prepared the day before. Then, still in groups, we showed the students some words that were difficult to pronounce in French, even for French people. It was interesting to observe, which mistakes they make. Most of the time they were confused with one sound in French, -ille-, which is pronounced as an -y, so we improvised a little lesson on general pronunciation.

Finally, in the remaining time we played a game called Time Bomb. The aim is simple. There are two teams of two facing each other and they have a ‘bomb’ in their hands,- not a real one of course. It's made of paper, and they don’t have to keep it. For this purpose, we give them some general themes, like family or animal, and they have to say a word related to the theme, for example ‘sister’ if family is the theme. When they say the word, they throw the ball to the other team and the other team has to say a different word, but related to the theme. At the end of the chronometer, the last team who has the ‘bomb’ in their hands, loses. The objective is to try to find and think of as many words as they can. We arranged it as a competition to make students win. It was entertaining. We ended the class with this.

At the end, the students asked if we could come back to the school. They really enjoyed the lessons. We plan on returning to the classes. It was a great reward for all of us.

Intern Élisa Lièvre:

We probably underestimated this class. The teacher told us her students had an A2-level. The gap between A1 and A2 levels is not that important. We thought it could be necessary to explain the rules of the varied activities in English. However, the teacher wanted us to speak exclusively in French. I think most of the students understood what we said. It was a huge success.

We clearly saw different levels of oral comprehension during the presentation of the activities. In the end, all students understood, participated and played the game. It was surely more comfortable for us to explain grammar or French words in French. I am still surprised because most of the students seemed excited by the activities and our presence. I guess it was, for sure, more interesting than a usual class, during which they do exercises and learn new grammar rules. This project has been a good idea and a good way to help students learn new vocabulary, while having fun.

It was interesting to do activities with the 16 students. I would not say the same about teaching a whole class. I prefer having 2 or 3 students to teach speaking French (it is better to pinpoint the needs of each student working with a small group of students). But when it is about activities which need a good vibe and energy, it is more comfortable to have a big group.

I think it is interesting to work with teenagers. Most of them are outspoken and we could easily guess, if the progress of the class fits them. And it was completely satisfying and gratifying for us to see that they appreciated we had prepared before the class. The satisfaction was real. But, it was different from the one, when we taught children who couldn’t clearly explain their thoughts and feelings about the course. Following the same logic, the students` disappointment would have been difficult for us to handle, but thankfully it was not the case with this class. I am grateful for their good mood and their participation.