For curriculum details, view the LEAF Program Handbook.
Class Content and Procedures
The instructor prepares class activities that provide students with a conceptual and theoretical framework for the mastery of the four skills in French: speaking, reading, writing, and listening. The LEAF curriculum is based on the Communicative Language Teaching Methodology. The underlying principle of this method is to encourage language learning through the use of active exposure and communication in the target language.
Starting from the first semester, students will be exposed to the target language and culture in the classroom. The various components like grammar and vocabulary will be introduced through a variety of input activities which focus on students’ inductive reasoning abilities. For first-semester students, the input activities will be accompanied by visual support (pictures, TPR, video, mime, realia, etc.). As they progress with their language acquisition, the input activities will make more use of vocabulary and structures covered in class. Classroom time incorporates input presentations, reinforcement of the concepts, group work assignments and open-ended tasks with more individual attention and student feedback. Group work assignments and open-ended tasks will include listening and speaking activities with frequent practice in pronunciation.
Homework assignments will fall under two main categories: immediate application of the concepts covered in class and application of concepts to carry out more open-ended and communicative tasks. The first homework assignments will serve as practice to reinforce the grammar and vocabulary covered in class. Students will be required to turn in the first assignment in the middle of the week to receive feedback about their understanding of the material covered. Once students display a strong understanding of the material, they will work on the second homework assignment that consists of practical application of the concepts. Students will be doing the homework both online and on paper. In addition to written homework, students will be required to record oral exercises in French and submit them online.
Students’ writing skills will be taught using a variety of tools depending on proficiency level. For the first semester, students will be required to turn in one composition at the end of the semester. This composition will follow a process-oriented approach where students will be guided in the different stages like planning, writing and editing. For subsequent semesters, the number of compositions will change accordingly with student progress in the language. As students are exposed to more literary readings in French, the writing assignments will incorporate some of the ideas covered in the reading. In the third and fourth semesters, students will be trained to craft well-supported logical arguments as a way to produce and present their ideas. The synergy of these kinds of activities makes students more sensitive readers and more effective writers. This would also help students understand the richness of meaning and expression in French literature and incorporate them in their own writing.
Our French classes are optimally sized for fostering discussion while permitting the kind of individual attention often necessary for working through issues of expression.
All LEAF students should have a computer capable of running word processing programs compatible with MS Word and PDF, a microphone and a webcam. Students should also have access to a high speed Internet connection so they can connect to their MSU e-mail, the LEAF course management website (D2L), and our online book platform called VHLCentral SUPERSITE 3.0. Through the SUPERSITE, students will complete all homework exercises as well as have access to study materials. The computerenhanced portion of the course will provide the following advantages to students:
Students can take the time they need to do the on-line portion of the course as long as they complete the assignments before the deadlines.
Learning a language successfully requires consistent work and effort (not last minute cramming before an exam). Having to complete assignments in the VHLCentral SUPERSITE 3.0 on a regular basis will help students to keep up with the course material, come to class better prepared, and improve their chances of success in learning French.
VHLCentral SUPERSITE 3.0 grades homework exercises instantly and tells students which items are wrong.
Students can do their homework from any computer that accesses the Internet through a reliable Internet browser such as Firefox, Explorer, or Google Chrome.