La matinée du français

On Sunday, the 30th of August, Year 12 students of French met at the Melbourne Convention Centre to attend “La Matinée du français”. The Association of French Teachers in Victoria (AFTV) organizes this event every year to prepare Year 12 students for the French VCE written and oral exam.

The French VCE written exam is divided into three parts: listening, reading and writing. Students are assessed on their ability to understand, answer and discuss a variety of topics in French.  Before the two hour session, students received a booklet full of useful advice on every aspect of the end the year exam.The level required for the exam is fairly high, and the booklet given to students supported the presentation during which presenters gave hints and strategies to help them succeed.

The presenters (all AFTV members, experienced VCE teachers and VCE assessors) explained how to tackle each part of the exam. It started with the listening, which assesses candidates’ ability to understand the content of an audio text and answer questions both in English and French. The presentation was immediately followed by application exercises:  listening tasks similar to an exam listening. Then, the second presenter explained to students the kind of skills required for the reading task. Finally, the last presenter exposed the best strategies to write the essay and wrapped the overall writing requirements through the various parts of the exam.

After an hour and a half of presentations and exercises, students enjoyed observing two VCE mock up orals. Students will soon have their VCE orals: a fifteen minute conversation divided between a general conversation and then a discussion chosen and prepared by students in class. Although students prepare for the oral, they cannot predict the assessors’ questions and they have to use all their language skills to exchange in French with the assessors. They are marked on their ability to interact and convey their ideas and also the quality of the language they produce. The first oral showed what students should do, whilst the second one was a parody of what they should avoid at all cost. The second oral provoked the hilarity of the audience.

The AFTV Vice President, Tasha Paquier, concluded the morning by reiterating her encouragement and stressing that hard work is the best way to succeed. She also expressed how proud French teachers are to see so many young Victorians learning French. There were more the 1300 students in the audience. Among these were our Year 12 students, I am personally very proud of them and wish them success. The numbers of students learning languages at McKinnon Secondary College has been increasing consistently over the past five years. It just shows how strong and dynamic language teaching and learning is at our school.

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