Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Dans mon sac - Authentic songs in MFL

When it comes to writing schemes of work many language teachers become obsessed with doing what they have always done.

One of these things is the "dans mon sac" unit where students are taught all the words for stationery items. 

If you've ever been to France you'll hear people talking about nothing else....stylo this.....règle that...bâton de colle...trousse...

OK, I may have made that last bit up. 

One of the reasons I believe students are turned off by languages is the "baby" stuff we do with them. 

Before you get annoyed, I'll explain. In History in KS3 in England and Wales, students study the national and global effects of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. In Geography they study urban design, crime, and climate change. In Maths, it's algebra. In Science, students learn particle theory...

...and then they go to French and learn the "classroom words" for stationery items and, quite possibly, stationary items.

In February at #ililc3 I was talking to a lady about how I had used this song to teach year 8 students the "tu" form of verbs in the present tense and then got students to practise by writing their own verse using what they had learned.

This being the Easter break and having time to do things, got me searching for other songs which could be exploited and this morning I came across this song "Dans mon sac" by Alizée.

This song was only released on the 25th March so you probably won't have heard it before.

The lyrics are clear, sung slowly and quite simple.

You could exploit this by getting students to write their own lyrics (simplify it by creating a gapfill exercise - the lyrics are here) and perhaps then include things which they really have in their own school bags.

Much more fun and creative than the "écoutez et répétez" Longmans Audio Visual French type activities which so many of my colleagues love.


Félicia M. said...

Ah ah! so true, talking about règles, cahiers, stylos, feuilles is the permanent national conversation in France!!! I fully agree with you about the "baby stuff" that is taught in French in the UK.
The songs you chose are quite nice, but you need to add the accents to the Grande Sophie's lyrics.

Dom said...

Thanks for the comment, Mafalda.

I knew about the missing accents on "T'es comment?" but I can't change them as I didn't make the video. I gave the students a sheet with the correct lyrics on it, upon which they had to identify the verbs in the 2nd person singular. Obviously, I can't reproduce them on my blog for copyright reasons.

Steve Smith said...

Hi Dom, I take your point but don't agree with it. Teaching is a lot about context, but I can saynthat over the years I always found pupils were happy to play the game of language learning where communication is artificial. We are teaching a language, not music, history or science. Sure, let's make things as interesting as possible, but don't youngsters like the simple guessing and memorisation games we use when teaching classroom objects?

Dom said...

Thanks for the comment, Steve. I agree that a lot of pupils like to play the guessing and memory games but I also think that many students would prefer something a little more challenging.