FR 471: Communication en direct


Note: The work and activities for FR 471 are closely integrated with those of FR 470 (Culture en direct), also taught in France. The calendar that accompanies the syllabus covers class sessions and activities for both classes.

Course objectives: This class offers numerous activities conceived to develop your ability to communicate primarily orally, but also in writing, with native speakers of French. The daily contacts with host families will be an opportunity to develop vocabulary knowledge as well as registers of communication (formal, informal, etc.). During various activities planned in Les Sables d’Olonne and in Vendée, students will have ample opportunities to communicate with people from different socio-cultural backgrounds, ages, and levels of education. In one’s native language, such communication is a relatively automatic task, but it is a challenge for the foreign language learner. This course will focus on developing students’ vocabulary, listening ability, the ability to adjust to different registers and contexts, and other skills essential to effective communication in the French language.  The successful student in this course will demonstrate the ability to communicate through listening, speaking, reading, and writing in a variety of authentic cultural and academic settings.

The specific assignments for this class (interview for the Vodcasts, dictionary, etc.) address directly the objectives of communication as outlined here. Other projects done in common with FR 470 (Culture en direct), will receive a separate grade in this course based on the language skills that are demonstrated, either orally or in writing, in completing those assignments.

Participation: Participation in group activities and realization of team projects are essential to the successful completion of this course. Before each field trip or activity, a portion of regular class time will be devoted to the review or acquisition of key vocabulary and structure necessary to participate in the day’s activities. During visits, students will closely follow the guides’ presentations and will note at least five new words or expressions gleaned from the visit. After each visit, students will enter the new words and expressions into the separate section of the journal devoted to language and vocabulary. Each student will thus gather a personal dictionary of new acquisitions, with a minimum of five new items per class day. Each entry will include the word or expression, its definition in French, and an illustrative sentence. These linguistic discoveries will serve to fuel post-visit discussions of language in regular class meetings.

The language of participation during all program-sponsored activities will be French.

It is also expected that each student will participate actively in each visit through appropriate interaction (questions, comments, responses, etc.) with the guides and presenters.

Note that WVU-V visits generally include a midday meal, which is one of the staples of French life, not only for food but also for the opportunity to converse. We always invite our drivers, hosts, and any guides present to participate in these meals. Students should take every opportunity to interact with these guests and with servers during these meals. Journal entries from these occasions will be particularly highly regarded as evidence of students’ communicative participation.

Journal: A daily personal journal will be required for this course, and its entries should be done in conjunction with that submitted for FR 470. The communication components (including the linguistic quality of the cultural entries) of the journal will be evaluated for their written communicative qualities in the following manner: organization, grammatical accuracy, lexical richness and accuracy.

Team Projects: Students will prepare vodcasts, graded on the following aspects: vocabulary, grammatical accuracy, pronunciation, communication skills, visual presentation and relevance.

Participation 30%
    -daily contributions 20%
    -dictionary 10%
Journal 30%
Project 40%
Grade Scale:
90-100% A (excellent)
80-89% B (very good)
70-79% C (satisfactory)
60-69% D (poor)
59-0% F (failing)

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