There was more than just verbs and adjectives on the menu at a recent French class given by Duns teacher Kath Lothian.
Kath has been teaching at Borders College for the past six years and as in all her lessons, the language is learned in a holistic way, whereby the culture and way of life form an integral part of the lesson and are interweaved through the learning of corresponding vocabulary, grammar and phrases.
This progresses into conversational activities relating to that topic, which are greatly supported by clear, informative hand-outs, and short, fun written exercises.
“A simulation of real-life scenarios in France quickly develop the learners’ skills in French in an enjoyable, relevant way ,” Kath commented.
“I know a lot of my students come along because they are planning a holiday to France and are worried about the language barrier.
“These are ideal courses for anyone who is planning to take a trip to France on holiday or on business, have a second home in France, or for anyone simply wanting to learn the culture and language of our neighbouring country.”
With their classroom transformed into a French eaterie for the occasion and fresh crêpes-suzette up for grabs, students took turns to be the café owner and then the customer, thus practising asking and answering the questions – sampling the food at the same time
The layout of food was also used for an activity when two teams were timed to label the food with the correct French name.
And as well becoming au fait with how to understand the menu sufficiently so they are able to place an order, Kath has taken things a step further by introducing her pupils to French menus. This helps them understand the ingredients and measurements should they feel inclined to whip up a French feast of their own.
She also asks them to think about how French titles for dishes are commonly used on English menus- Duck a l’orange and cordon bleu to name but two.
And the student’s grasp of language and the food served up was given the seal of approval from someone well qualified to give one, French visitor Amandine Rault.
“She thought the idea of it was superb and loved being a guest,” Kath added.
“She enjoyed the atmosphere and couldn’t believe how well everyone did for beginners.”
As well as the focus being on fun, Kath’s lessons also tie in with the Scottish Government’s Curriculum of Excellence, leading to a number of primary school teachers becoming pupils of hers so they in turn can pass their grasp of the French language onto their students.
She also helped school students themselves who have been looking to brush up on their oral and written skills in time for exams.
As well as teaching classes in the central Borders, Kath, who is also fluent in German, is hoping to get some going a bit closer to home in Berwickshire.
If you are interested in any French or German classes, have any questions or would like to book a place on one of the courses, call Borders College on 01450 361035 or visit the college’s website at www.borderscollege.ac.uk.