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Learn French in Aix-en-Provence: Teaching

Let’s get you talking French in Aix-en-Provence!

The language school’s key concern is to get you to speak!

Of course you will cover the four core skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing, with plenty of grammar and vocabulary work included in order to develop all the essential French language skills.

The curriculum is structured on a range of theoretical language levels in accordance with the Common European Framework (CEF), with a natural duration of between two and four weeks at each level. The classes include oral and written exercises, grammar, practice with video and audio material and conversation on subjects or general, social and cultural interest.

French language course content

All language tuition is given in French
Students will be divided into different ability levels according to the language assessment carried out on Monday AM. The methodology is the result of years of experience in the intensive teaching of French. Special importance is given to the communicative aspect of the language and its use in everyday life. For this reason, the college encourages students to speak French in class, and whenever possible out of class as well. The work of each group is tailored to each class’s ability level in France.

The French classes are in small groups of maximum 10 people and we focus on oral communication, with an interactive and individual approach. The minimum age is 18 years, except for the closed groups where we can accept younger students.

The staff have developed a specific pedagogical approach:

Priority to verbal communication: to express yourself with a maximum of ease and therefore gain in autonomy. Verbal communication, based on real situations, also allows you to cover written expression, grammar and vocabulary of course.

Groups with a maximum of 10 people: exchanges between speakers are guaranteed and the teacher can personalize his course according to the level, demands and progression of each student.

A selection of pedagogical methods: the best and the most adapted to each situation in class are chosen from the methods available. The diversity encourages exchanges: debates, presentations, role plays, exercises in written expression, essays, simulations on the telephone…

Authentic material used in the classes: the press, documentaries, audio extracts, illustrations, songs, advertising, Internet extracts (…), and allows a concrete approach to living French.

2 teachers alternate: because their approaches are complementary and because more contact with the members of the pedagogical team favoures communication with them, and these exchanges are very important for your training to go as well as possible.

A Multimedia Resource Centre with learning aids: methods for learning French on CD-ROM, exercise books, French films, a selection from the press, French songs on CD, board games,… are at your disposal to complement your course…

Preparation in parallel for certificates and tests: you can prepare for the DELF (Diplôme d’Etude de Langue Française)  or the TCF (Test de Connaissance du Français) on request.

European standards are taken into account: organisation of the groups, placement tests and the certificates presented at the end of the course are based on the Common European Framework of Reference of the Council of Europe.

Levels offered and Rate of Progress

A student of average linguistic ability should allow two weeks to complete each theoretical unit.

On long term Languages for Life courses, offered on specific start dates students can follow 12 to 36 week course duration ranging from A0 through to C1 ability.

All shorter courses are offered to students from A1 to C1 ability (with some set start dates for beginners at A0 ability). Short courses are offered from 2 to 8 weeks (or up to 10 weeks course duration for Beginner/ Low Elementary levels).

In reality a student chooses to attend a short course or a longer “Languages for Life” programme according to their linguistic goals, personal wishes and time constraints.

Students progress through structured work according to their current French language ability.

The classes are based on the participation of all students, to develop knowledge of the French language in all its dimensions and uppermost is the teacher’s aim to enable you to communicate with other people. By this they mean to talk, to listen, to read and to write.

The teachers will select study material from a range of resources and learning tools that you will use in class adapted to your level and to your skills. The school do not work from one set text, instead you will be guided, corrected and encouraged throughout your learning period utilising a range of audio, visual and course materials as the teacher believes will best meet the needs of the group.  The teachers do not teach grammar in isolation but to enable you to reach a degree of autonomy when facing situations that you will encounter whether using the French language privately or professionally.

Revision and study of the structure of the language

Study of all four key skills, oral and written comprehension and oral and written expression.
Teaching based on everyday situations with the help of varied material.
Systematically optimizing newly acquired linguistic skills
Discussions, debates and presentations
Working with in class, in small sub groups to promote interaction and debate
Individual work can also be suggested for students who wish to extend their study out of class

First Day

Students will be tested on Monday morning. They will be given a range of college/course information and taken on a guided town tour. They will then take their first lessons on Monday afternoon (14.00 to 15.30hrs). The normal timetable will begin on the second day of school.

French Course Timetable

First Monday: 14.00 hrs to 15.30 hrs
Thereafter: Generally 09.00hrs to 12.30hrs (with a break at 10.30)
Where afternoon French lessons are timetabled: 14.00hrs to 17.30hrs*

* PM French classes
PM classes are not applicable if attending a French and Activities course
Generally speaking French group classes are given an AM timetable.
However in the busier months, afternoon timetable are also employed.
Assignment to an AM or PM class is purely decided on class levels by the Director of Studies, and is not a matter of student choice.

End of Course Certificate

On the final day of classes, each students will be given a French Course Certificate from the school in Aix en Provence indicating the number of lessons and the duration of course attended, as well as the level of French obtained, based against the European Council Reference Grid.

Aix en Provence Teachers & Staff

French teachers are all native speaking French people who have a “FLE Maitrise Diploma” which means they have a University Degree and two further years of specialised training in teaching French as a Foreign language. Each class is assigned two teachers over a two week period. These teachers will co-ordinate their students to ensure structured learning throughout the study period. They make up a friendly and enthusiastic team with solid teaching experience, competent to ensure that the French course that meets student expectations.

The teaching team is made up of a Director of Studies, 12 permanent teachers and about 5 temporary teachers who all have the required University diplomas in teaching French as a Foreign Language as well as a sound experience in teaching French. The administrative team is composed of 10 staff members with various cultural and linguistic backgrounds with one common goal in mind : to look after their students from the beginning to the end of their stay and help them achieve success in their French courses and the different activities outside the classroom. School staff speak French and English, but also cover languages such as Dutch, German, Japanese, Spanish and Swedish.

Aix en Provence Students

The French school has welcomed over 50.000 students from the five continents since their establishment in 1972. More than 40 nationalities are represented each year in the language school, predominantly Europeans, but also from far further afield.  Language students are of all ages (18 yrs +), but this is an adult language school, so older adults do dominate throughout the year.

Many of the students learn French for professional reasons; numerous companies and international organisations send their staff for our intensive French courses and our executive French courses. Others are just attracted by the fantastic location in the heart of Provence, taking advantage of the fabulous weekly optional activities programme, with numerous excursions and activities, such as cooking classes, painting classes, wine-tasting, social activities etc… on offer.