Many parents ask how they can help encourage students’ French learning. Of course, you can always help with testing vocabulary, for example, but in my experience students often resist the more obvious types of parental assistance. So, how about some other ploys?
Why not try switching your car radio to a French station – France Inter and Europe 1 are both easy to get on Long Wave – they won’t understand the majority of it but it will tune their ears to the pronunciation, and some of the words from the new bulletins and weather forecasts should be familiar.
Or, if you’re lucky enough to have satellite TV there’s a movie channel that shows a topical current affairs/news programme late afternoons plus a variety of French films. You may also find that your local Blockbuster has French films to rent and even if they read the subtitles they’ll still be absorbing some French.
Why not encourage your son or daughter to do a French exchange if their school runs a scheme (and if it doesn’t, you could suggest it)? There’s nothing quite like staying with a French family that speaks no English to force you to speak French!
Or, if finances permit, a trip to France will certainly help. Even if little French is actually spoken (you could try getting your son or daughter to order in cafes/buy food in markets but co-operation is not a certainty!) they will passively absorb a huge amount of French just by hearing it and seeing signs etc. Even a day trip to Calais to buy wine for Christmas would give them a taster of France.
Learning a language is so much more than just mastering the grammar – it should involve an appreciation of the culture of the country too. And with France’s reputation for good food and wine that’s not a hardship. is it?