At the French Centre each lesson is based on a real life dialogue, a real life French text relating to the dialogue, and a cultural segment.
The dialogues deal with both practical topics - like ordering in a bar or a restaurant, asking for directions, buying tickets and catching public transport - and conversational topics - like talking about yourself, asking people about themselves, inviting people out, talking about your and someone else’s experiences, likes and dislikes, opinions, films, travel plans, describing people and places, and so on.
The real life French texts range from train timetables or restaurant menus, to newspaper or magazine articles, website pages, extracts from the French television news, French movies, documentaries, books, etc.
Each dialogue is studied in depth: we examine the vocabulary, useful expressions, phrases, pronunciation and grammar - we assume that most people have no, or very little, knowledge of grammar, so we truly do explain the grammar in the simplest and clearest of manners. We then practise the dialogue, with the use of our "storyboards", over and over until you can hold that particular dialogue with ease and confidence.
Once you've learnt the dialogue, we expand on it, role play the dialogue in class, bring in new elements, modify it to suit different circumstances and situations, link it to previous dialogues and promote freer practice and the chance to personalise and expand on what was covered by engaging in a range of communicative activities, by listening to a dialogue and answering verbally to questions relating to the dialogue, by playing quizzes and games. We then study the real life French text to further practise our hearing and reading skills, and provide further “prompts” for conversation and role-playing.
The dialogues are accompanied by the French Centre “Practice” CDs which help you absorb and practise during the week what was covered in class.
The real life dialogues are generally set in areas of particular interest in France. For example, several lessons at the Intermediate I level are based in Provence. This gives us the opportunity to study in greater depth, in our cultural segments, the history, art, cuisine, music, traditional feasts and festivals of the Provence region. The objective is to expand one's language skills because the cultural segment is in French, and to ad variety and interest to the classes. In fact, to give you a feel of the places, the people, and the issues, we use a vast selection of visual material, such as slides, extracts from documentaries, television programmes and films.
At the French Centre you start speaking “real” French from the very first lesson. as you progress, your vocabulary will expand, your pronunciation will improve, the range of topics and situations you can handle will increase, your confidence will increase, you will speak for longer periods, your listening skills will improve, and you will start to see the patterns in the language (“patterns” is how we think of grammar), and it all starts falling into place.
At the French Centre teachers are chosen not only on the basis of their knowledge of the language, but their personality, their ability to empathise with the students as learners of a second language, and their ability to motivate students. All our teachers speak impeccable standard French. They have a thorough knowledge of the language and are trained to explain things simply and clearly.