Remember that oral language is the MOST important component of ANY second language classroom. After all, most of your students will only use their basic French skills while traveling. Yes, some will take University level classes. However, the majority are counting on you for when they backpack across Europe or visit a small town in Québec. You want them to be able to communicate with and understand the people around them.
Make it FUN! Way too often, I hear students who grumble about core French class. This makes my heart so sad because I truly feel as though French class has the potential to be the BEST class of the day, it’s so easy to make FSL fun! Play games, use technology, act out plays, have contests. If you take the time to build engaging lessons, your students will shine!
Leverage Technology. When used in moderation, technology is our friend in second language classrooms. I am all about using Google Forms for quizzes (hello no marking!), Google Slides for review activities, PowerPoint presentations to introduce vocabulary and web based language software like duolingo as early finisher activities. I do however want to encourage you to not always use technology as variety is the spice of life!
Have confidence in yourself as a French speaker but don’t be afraid to admit when you don’t know an answer. If your students are studying animals and one kiddo asks you what a llama is in French, it is 100% ok to admit that you have no clue. After all, when was the last time you used that term when speaking French?!? But then, MODEL for the student how to find their answer. Not only will they respect you more for admitting that you didn’t know but you are modelling a key learning strategy for them in the process.
Try to speak French as much as possible. Does a student have to use the washroom? They better be asking to leave in French. Do they need water? They better be asking in French. Do they have a question? They need to try to ask it in French. Now of course, we do want our students to feel successful and sometimes English is needed. However, more often than not, kiddos will come up with a way to communicate what they need. PLUS if they’re playing games in small groups, having a French only rule is a great classroom management strategy as it keeps the room nice and quiet.