Subject Code/Name: FREN20019/FREN30001 French 7
Year & Semester of completion: FREN20019 Semester 1 2018 (only offered in semester 1)
Workload: Weekly 2*1.5-hour tutorials
Lectopia Enabled: N/A
Past exams available: N/A
Textbook Recommendation: Prior the 2018 cohort the text used to be Les Misérables, but for our cohort it was changed to Salut et Liberté by Fred Vargas. You will only need it for 2 weeks, but if you don’t read it, Paul will be really mad – I remember he cancelled (?) the tutorial because only 2 people has read the book, and he gave those 2 people extra marks for the final assessment. (Luckily I was away for that tutorial) You can buy this book in a foreign language bookshop in Hawthorn – they will give you the information on LMS before the semester begins.
Paul (not the famous French bakery) Soyez is an amazing tutor, very chill and makes the tutorials really fun. He is really approachable and open to questions. Sometimes if you can’t put a difficult question into French, he will still take them (but still answer it in French/franglais), whereas some tutors don’t. He has a strong focus on vocabs and every time when he hands out a worksheet/short story, he will spend some time to go over new vocabs that we don’t know. Another tutor is Sandrine but I’ve never had her.
Course structure and content:
- Module 1: La diversité du français (3 weeks)
You study about the history of the French language, l’écruiture inclusive, Académie Française, different registers and French in francophone countries (e.g. Canadian French). This module was not assessed much apart from the quizzes but it is still a very interesting topic.
- Module 2: Presse et television (5 weeks)
This module consists of three main parts: ads, TV news and news articles and we analysed their elements and characteristics. In class we watched a lot of ads and TV news and did a lot of listening exercises on those. It was a struggle for those who are weak at listening (me) but the exercises do build your skill up. We also read heaps of news articles.
- Module 3: La nouvelle (4 weeks)
We were given a number of short stories in class in 4 different genres: la nouvelle réaliste, la nouvelle policière (Salut et Liberté), la nouvelle fantastique and also la nouvelle micro-nouvelle. In order to read French literature, passé simple was introduced in class and we spent a lot of time to learn about this tense and distinguish it from other French tenses. You don’t need to know how to conjugate passé simple, but rather learn how to read it since literature works are written in this tense. From what I remember, the short stories are not put up on LMS before the class (or I never really check?), therefore you need to pick up passé simple quite quickly, learn to read quickly in class and knowing lots of vocab helps (Paul will help you out in class). The short stories/novellas are great and I really enjoyed reading those (better than the literature subjects), but maybe not Salut et Liberté.
- Note: if you volunteer as a French Peer Mentor, your reflective journal (a requirement for the mentoring program) can substitute up to 10% of your final mark. For example, you could ask that your oral presentation (normally worth 25%) be reduced to 15% or that your final essay (weighted at 45%) be reduced to 35%. I used it for my final essay. If you wish your journal to be counted towards your final mark, the journals have to be written in French and must be at least 300 words long.
- In-class quizzes (equivalent to 300 words) during semester [10%]
There are 4 quizzes spread throughout the semester, 2 on the first module and one each for the other 2 modules. The quizzes are not difficult if you listen in class, however they do put in a few very tricky questions (e.g. what is the brand of the yoghurt in this ad that was shown in class? Yes, very random.)
- An oral presentation in French totalling 1000 words during semester [25%]
This falls under the 2nd module and it is not exactly like a traditional oral presentation in class: you film your own TV news and run a class activity after your video. You are free to choose your own topic. In your news video, you have to include a TV ad. Although filming and editing requires a big deal of effort, we all had lots of fun making our own video or watching another groups’ presentation.
- A written task totaling 1000 words during semester [20%]
This also falls under the 2nd module and it is an in-class news article. You will be given two topics that we have done in class beforehand and only one will be on the test (so you have to prepare for both topics). Our cohort did terrorism in France and #balancetonporc (French version of the #metoo movement) and they didn’t designate a fixed title/issue, which gives us freedom to write anything we want. You are allowed to bring a monolingual dictionary and an A4 cheat sheet (can’t remember if it was single sided or double). If you spend time to prepare for it and do your own research on those issues, it is not a difficult assessment.
- A critical and analytical essay in French using a range of academic sources totaling 1700 words due at the end of semester [45%]
This is from the handbook, however in reality it is a creative writing piece (for 2nd years you can choose any genre but for 3rd years there is a prescribed genre) and obviously it is to assess the 3rd module. It doesn’t make sense where a creative piece, a module that only constitute of 1/3 of the subject, takes up 45% of your final mark (My French 7 friends and I have complained from the start of this semester till the end – studying literature does not make you a novelist!). They probably want to assess if students can distinguish the tenses and if they understand the characteristics of different genres? If you are a creative person this assessment task is for you. It took me really long to come up with an idea and I ended up getting some inspiration from watching Japanese drama during swot vac, but once you got your storyline it wasn’t that bad. Also, this is probably the only time you would use passé simple in your lifetime unless you want to be a French novelist/academic.
Content-wise, French 7 is very different from French 5 and 6 which are very politics/history-focused. If you would like a more practical subject than French 5/6, enjoy being creative or a linguistics person, then you will enjoy French 7. However, I still think the assessment should be structured better and better reflect the weighting and students’ understanding of each module (no creative writing please).