Teaching French in Jaipur is a challenge


Mamta Trehan, French teacher in Maharaja Sawai Mansingh Vidyalaya, who takes the middle school,  shares her thought with Rajasthan Post on teaching French in Pink City, the challenges and some ways to overcome them on Teacher’s Day

Teaching French in Jaipur has its own share of joys and difficulties. To be among crackling students and teaching them a foreign language is indeed a challenge. Especially when French language is pronounced and written differently and is alien as, say becoming an astronaut !  

Schoolhouse
Schoolhouse

To inject energy and passion into a language class when most haven’t the least idea about French, is often hard. Sometimes stressful too but when I am amidst the students, I forget all my troubles. The joy of teaching ebullient students with boundless energy gives me an amazing high, which perhaps no other profession can ever offer.

I teach the middle school from class VI to VIII in one of Jaipur’s best and prestigious schools,  Maharaja Sawai Mansingh Vidyalaya.

The students here are a bundle of energy and often puzzle you with stumbling queries. But then nothing to worry as kids love posing difficult questions to teachers. But that is fun of it all!

But I feel teaching French should be more interactive initially, rather than emphasising on theory. Parents often come to me asking what all are important for the theory paper. I can understand parents have their own set of anxieties, especially that of making the kids study for their French paper. I understand it indeed is a tall task, more so when the exams are round the corner.

But making the language class interesting and fun should be a priority. I cannot say I am able to do it myself  but giving it a try with my own ideas would not be bad idea for the students.

Here when we start French in Class VI, where most students are  11 years of age, they still love colours. It may seem too kiddish but making colourful cards for animals, clothes, toys, shapes would engage them and make them remember the words well.

Action cards, worksheets, class quizzes, French labels on body parts would be great ideas to ingrain the words and their pronunciations in the minds of the kids. Just like we do with the younger kids. French is as new and alien for sixth graders as Hindi and English are to kids when they start out in school.

Even my students have bright ideas. They once suggested French labels for items they could find in the classroom. And it worked. Each student then started thinking in French. And hey that is what we want exactly! Being interactive is the key to learning the ropes of the language.  

I would definitely want my students to speak in only French  in my class but it is difficult here. Starting with simple greetings can be a good beginning. I feel listening classes should also be made an important part of curriculum, which can improve speaking the language that is the second most popular to English and spoken in almost all parts of the world.

Can we have more of French language clubs, meets and interactions among the local schools to make our Jaipur more interested in the language and not just take it up as another subject to be cleared mugging it all up before the exams.

Is that too much to expect from our Pink City, its schools, students and of course teachers like us?  We are ready? Are u all?   

2 thoughts on “Teaching French in Jaipur is a challenge

  • September 6, 2015 at 6:44 am
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    Knowing French is always an added advantage, its widely spoken in Europe, in bilingual countries like Canada, Switzerland, Belgium etc, much of French speaking Africa & also Latin America. Hope the language doesnt remain confined to a few middle school classes & instead the children are encouraged to carry it further.

    Reply
  • September 6, 2015 at 5:19 pm
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    I guess, Indian schools should also take up Spanish. Spanish too is widely spoken all over the world specially the Latino land. One foreign language should be a must in the academic schedule.

    Reply

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