After English, French is the most studied language in the world and with good reason. As well as being one of the three working languages of the EU (along with English and German) French is widely spoken in Canada, South America, South East-Asia and large parts of Africa. France itself is by far the most visited country in the world. This means it is highly likely your child will find French useful in later life either socially or professionally.
As well as this, the French culture is one of the richest. France boasts some of the most famous museums and painters in the world as well as the highest number of Nobel literature prize winners. In addition to giving access to this rich and vibrant culture, knowledge of French will help your child to unlock parts of his or her own culture as France and Great Britain are intrinsically linked by history and language.
While many schools teach French your child may still need a tutor. The key to learning a language is exposure and unfortunately this is not always achievable in classrooms with lots of children. The success of school French lessons varies greatly and ultimately is dependent on the teacher. Hiring a French tutor for your child may give their learning a huge boost even if it is just on a short term basis to gain confidence.
A good French tutor will be able to engage your child and make French relevant and exciting to them. Children always learn best when they feel they are learning something they can use. As language teaching can be intensive and sometimes very frustrating for children it is important to ensure that the tutor and your child have a good rapport.
It may be that your child is excelling, struggling or just enjoys French and because of this there are many questions to answer to ensure you choose the best tutor for your child’s need. What should you be thinking about to help you choose the right French tutor for your child?
There are three examination boards accredited by Ofqual. These are:
AQA – One of the leading providers of GCSEs and A Levels. Used by most secondary schools and colleges in the UK.
Edexcel – Considered the UK’s largest awarding organisation, they offer both academic and vocational qualifications and testing to schools and colleges.
OCR (Oxford Cambridge and RSA Examinations) – Over 13,000 centre’s choose OCR for their A Levels and GCSEs.
GCSE – Generally involves an introduction to the French language, concentrating on the vocabulary your child might use as a tourist.
AS (Advanced Subsidiary) Level and A (Advanced) Level qualifications will offer a more in depth knowledge of the French language and culture. These aim at a level of fluency that will be useful for business and everyday conversation.
There is no minimum qualification required to tutor French at home in the UK at present, however we would recommend you ask to see copies of qualifications held.
There are lifelong academic benefits to knowing two languages and transitional benefits gained during the learning of a new language. Studies show that at every level, bilinguals perform better in intellectual tests. Children who study a second language do better at logical reasoning, mathematics and English verbal tests. They get better exam results and adults who are competent in more than one language do best in both verbal and non-verbal intelligence tests.
Fluency in French will give your child access to a vast amount of literature and poetry. It will also aid in the study of other “Romance” languages such as Spanish and Italian.
Of course it is likely that your child will travel to a French speaking country at some time in his or her life and will have the benefit of being able to shop, travel and eat out with confidence.
Stand-up comedian, actor and writer Eddie Izzard (born February 7, 1962) toured France doing stand-up in French. He also speaks German.
Angelina Jolie, Anthony Bourdain (American chef), Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dannii Minogue, Elle MacPherson, Ellen McArthur (World Champion in Offshore Racing), Elton John, Emma Thompson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Helena Bonham Carter, Jeremy Iron, John Travolta, Johnny Depp, Kristin Scott-Thomas, Kylie Minogue, Madonna, Meryl Streep, Mick Jagger, Orlando Bloom, Robin Williams, Rupert Everett, Sigourney Weaver, Sting, Tina Turner, Tony Blair, Uma Thurman and Queen Elizabeth II.
The French Alphabet -The French alphabet song with fun and colourful speaking flashcards.
French Adverbs - These videos are made for children in Grades 2 to 6 (age 7-11 years) and deal with elements of grammar in an entertaining way. This one tackles adverbs in French.
French Vocabulary Song - This is a short video about the importance of friendship but it's also about learning French by teaching vocabulary through the visual imagery of the lyrics of the song.
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