Do you speak French? In case you were unsure, it’s what “Parlez-vous Français?” means. Most schools in the UK teach either French, German or Spanish. While the Government doesn’t promote one language over another, French is typically the most commonly taught foreign language in England. So chances are you’ve learned French at school. Yet do you speak or read it confidently? The answer is probably a big fat no. Why? There is a combination of reasons. Firstly, foreign language education in the UK is remarkably poor compared to our European neighbours. In fact, almost 80% of people aged between 15 and 30 in France and over 90% in Germany are confident they can read and write in at least two languages. In the UK, the figure falls below one-third. So, while the Government plans to introduce a GCSE in a modern language by 2025, it’s time to consider what can be done to help your child speak better French than you do.
Support their education
Ultimately, education is all about teamwork between parents and teachers. So your first point of contact to help your child with French is their teacher. Do they have any advice you can take onboard? They could recommend extra-curricular activities that can make a difference or provide tips for better learning. Additionally, you can also consider an educational app for languages, which can make things fun and entertaining.
Consider helpful trips
If the school has a school trip programme with foreign institutions, it can be a good idea to ask about their Marseille or Paris school trips. After all, nothing is going to replace the benefits of practising French in a real-life situation. It is also a great way to show your child the advantages of learning and mastering a foreign language. For instance, if your child wants to start their own restaurant in the future, French cooking and baking schools are renowned for their quality and expertise. They could get to experience the true side of international knowledge during a school trip that takes them to explore the local professional programmes.
Make it passive but effective
Why should learning a foreign language feel artificial when you can use content as varied as songs and films? A fun series such as Call My Agent on Netflix showcases the witty versatility of the French language. And as it is available with subtitles, your child and yourself can boost your skills while having fun. Perhaps you prefer a mysterious atmosphere instead? Lupin and The Missing have received international accolades for the quality of the script and acting.
After all, why should your child be the only one in the family who can speak French? With applications such as Duolingo, you can learn together and challenge each other to improve your knowledge. Additionally, you can make learning fun by making it a family project, such as learning new vocabulary or writing a short story in French by a specific deadline. The winner gets to pick a reward! Shall we say, que le meilleur gagne (may the best win).
So, it’s time to be honest with yourself: How well do you speak a foreign language. As French is one of the most commonly taught languages at schools in England, it would be fair to expect to speak French. Yet, most of us don’t. So, it’s time to introduce language skills into your family to support your child’s and your own growth.