International Students

2018-05-29 00:00:02

MRU Interns from France Visited Vilnius Salomėja Nėris Gymnasium

10357530413161828831293545418481495599564n May 22nd, 2018, Mykolas Romeris University (MRU) intern Martin Sanséau from France with three other students visited the Salomėja Nėris Gymnasium to promote French culture and teaching of French language.

Martin Sanséau, who discussed MRU's programmes in the Humanities, Translation and Editing as well as English for Specific Purposes and the Second Foreign Language, along with interns Élisa Lièvre, Fehima Zerguit, Sibylle Découflet was at Vilnius Salomėja Nėris Gymnasium. They were undertaking activities in order to show students.another perspective of France and French culture.

He said that In his home University in France, he is in a similiar kind of programme. We felt we could share information, and especially about our actual experience of what this type of programme gave us by opening our minds and letting us discover other cultures.

Martin said activities with gymnasium students. included showing that French language is composed of a lot of images. In daily conversations we often use idioms to express our feelings or to emphasize them, or to translate our speech into an image, like a metaphor, he explained.

So, we created some cards with idioms written on them with verbatim translations into English on the reverse side and other cards with definitions of the idioms. The task for the gymnasium students was to match the idioms to their true meanings. We chose some of the most popular idioms used in France.

We used the following idioms: Aller comme un gant (to fit like a glove), avoir la main verte (to have a green hand), avoir du pain sur la planche (to have some bread on the plank), avoir le moral à zéro (to have your mental health at zero) avoir le moral dans les chaussettes ( to be confident), chercher une aiguille dans une botte de foin (to look for a needle in a haystack), donner sa langue au chat (to give your tongue to a cat), garder son sang froid (to keep your blood cold), les doigts dans le nez (fingers in the nose), les murs ont des oreilles (walls have ears) et, quand les poules auront des dents (when chickens will have teeth).

At the end, with some time left, we played a game called dictionary game. We showed the students a word they didn’t know and each of them had to think a definition and write it down on a paper. Then, we mixed all their definitions together and they had to select the best definition. Finally, we showed them the word and its actual meaning. This game was interesting and quite amusing because we observed that some words we, as French people, all understand in one way, but have a totally different meaning for foreigners.

"I could say that this experience was not only enriching for them, but also for us. Activities with foreigners, who are almost the same age as we, gave us a totally different perspective on our common language. They asked questions on the language issues or on words we would not have thought about," Martin said. They were making connections between words we had not encountered.

"This experience with high school students was enlightening," he said.

Another MRU intern was Élisa Lièvre who also described her experiences:

The first apprehension that caught me when I had to teach teenagers or young adults was the type of judgement that could come from them. It was difficult to face some students when you had to pace yourself for a 45- minute rhythm. We decided not to pay attention to any negative judgement from the students, but it was hard to keep self-confidence without asking oneself: "Are they already bored with activities? Do I make it right?”

Élisa said the experience is radically different from teaching children.

"I remember when an English assistant was coming in the English class, when I was a sixth-form student. I was probably more afraid than the assistant herself. Because she was not my teacher, I didn’t know how the class would be going. I think it is awkward for both the student and the teacher. I still don’t know if it is a personal feeling or if my colleagues felt the same," she said.

I could guess the students were not very comfortable with French native speakers, but we had to help them to relax to begin the class in a good mood. I am shy, chances are they will be shy too. They probably are more afraid to do mistakes than children in the kindergarten. Therefore, we must motivate them to participate, to volunteer to read a French sentence. I can understand their feelings, and we have to put ourselves in their shoes to find a solution to make them confident about themselves.

Yesterday I felt this apprehension on the student’s side, too. They didn’t dare immediately to begin the activities. We had to give them a little time, she said.

Motivating them without rushing them is key. It is more difficult to find the middle ground with teenagers than with children, but it was interesting to discover this side of teaching.

Teenagers are still different from children, and from adults, she said. It was not so difficult to adapt ourselves to them, but it was a delicate way to move. We could also laugh with them openly. Humour is sometimes a good way to soften the atmosphere.

It was a good experience. I am ready to repeat it,  Élisa said.