French 161: Topics for Oral Proficiency

The name of this course might be confusing: there is an exam for SFS students called the SFS/MSFS Oral Proficiency Exam and there is a course which is just trying to improve the students= level of their oral proficiency in French.

For the SFS/MSFS Oral Proficiency Exam in French, please consult with the French Department for dates and format of the test, and check also the list of issues which might be addressed during the conversation part of the exam (List of Topics). A good reference book is the Nouveau Guide France.

The minimal level for taking this exam is Advanced French II

Obviously, like many other courses offered by the French Department above the Advanced II level, the course Topics for Oral Proficiency will culturally and linguistically prepare the students to take the SFS/MSFS Oral Proficiency Exam, but this class is not exam-oriented nor limited only to SFS students, although one section might, this year, designed more specifically for them (chosen topics might be more political and less cultural in nature, for instance).

Cultural Content

The course follows different contemporary topics as they arise in the news. Most of the time, since we utilize a French magazine, the topics are related to French or Francophone issues, but international issues dealing with politics or economics may also be discussed.

Therefore, since we are following the news as they are taking place, the content of the course may cover some of the issues mentioned in the AList of Topics@, but the basic information is supposed to have been already acquired in previous classes. In this class, Professor Guieu prefers a discussion with students than a lecture: the goal of the course is to make the students talk and not necessarily supply information. For instance, when discussing domestic political issues, the students are supposed to know already the elementary details about the French form of government as well as the current administration. Up-to-date information, detailed and new material on issues will certainly be offered, analyzed and discussed during the class, but more as a supplemental data hand out than a pre-established part of a content-oriented syllabus.

Linguistic Content

We are not using a specific grammar book in the class. Students are encouraged to refer to their favorite book used in previous classes. During the semester, reviews of specific grammatical problems will nevertheless be done as they naturally emerge during a student exposé or a class discussion.

Professor Guieu=s teaching is based on an adapted Lozanov methodology in which both sides of the brains are called upon. Students should consult regularly for advice on different language laboratory exercises and offerings which might help with their individual problems.

Format of the Class

The format of the class consists of oral exposés generally based on articles from selected French magazines. A class discussion follows the oral presentation, and other students are expected to have read the article and have questions about vocabulary or grammar as well as content.

In order to keep the discussion flow freely, Prof. Guieu will correct orally only the obvious mistakes or the ones he feels the whole class would benefit. Students are therefore asked to take an appointment with the professor as soon as possible after their exposé to receive a grade. They should not wait too long after their class presentation, nor have more than two corrected at the same time, or at the end of the semester...

Students should consult Professor Guieu's website regularly for extra information or documentation.

The final grade will take into account class participation and all the grades of the semester, although the last ones and the final exam will be given more weight. Students are encouraged to make appointments for extra exposés.

Missing more than 6 classes will result in a F grade