A new website will be launched on Tuesday that gives French people of all ages and all language levels the chance to improve their English.

"/> A new website will be launched on Tuesday that gives French people of all ages and all language levels the chance to improve their English.

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EDUCATION

French encouraged to improve English skills

A new website will be launched on Tuesday that gives French people of all ages and all language levels the chance to improve their English.

French encouraged to improve English skills
englishbyyourself.fr, screenshot

Education minister Luc Chatel launched the site at the same time as he proposed new ways to improveOh l language teaching in France.

Named “English By Yourself” the site will adapt content to the level of the user, making it suitable for everyone from beginners to experts.

The site features materials ranging from an animated cartoon called “Où est Tinnie?” to a clip from the latest Daniel Craig hit movie Millennium, based on the books by Swedish author Stieg Larsson.

“The objective is immersion in spoken English,” said Serge Bergamelli, the director general of the distance-learning institute CNED (Centre National d’Enseignement à Distance).

He said there would be “different resources, audio, video, articles so that people can practice the language regularly.”

“Whether you need English for business, to work in tourism or for your own trip, the videos and resources on offer will change,” he added.

The site has been set up in partnership with the British Council and mobile phone operator Orange.

A 2006 Eurobarometer report found that 51 percent of French people questioned were confident about being able to have a conversation in a language other than French. This was better than countries including Spain, the UK and Ireland but worse than 18 of their European Union neighbours. 

The same survey found that 38 percent of French people felt confident about having a conversation in English with Spanish and German the next most popular languages. 

Education minister Luc Chatel also announced the findings of a survey he commissioned on language teaching in France on Tuesday.

The report recommends that languages should be taught from primary school and more provision should be made for students to spend time studying in other countries.

 

 


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EDUCATION

Schools to close as French teachers strike over Covid rules

Around three-quarters of French teachers plan to go on strike onThursday to protest the government's shifting rules on Covid testing for students, forcing the closure of half the country's primary schools, a union said Tuesday.

Schools to close as French teachers strike over Covid rules
Photo: Fred Tanneau/AFP

The strike led by the Snuipp-FSU union, the largest among primary school teachers, comes after the latest of several changes on testing and isolation requirements for potential Covid cases announced by Prime Minister Jean Castex late Monday.

After seeing long lines of parents outside pharmacies and labs in recent days to test children in classes where a case was detected, Castex said home tests could now be used to determine if a student could return to school.

But teachers say class disruptions have become unmanageable with the spread of the highly contagious Omicron coronavirus variant.

“Students cannot learn properly because attendance varies wildly, and a hybrid of in-house and distance learning is impossible to put in place,” the Snuipp-FSU said, adding that absent teachers are not being replaced.

It is also demanding the government provide facemasks for staff, including the more protective FFP2 masks, and CO2 monitors to check if classrooms are sufficiently ventilated.

“Not only does the current protocol not protect students, staff or their families, it has completely disorganised schools,” the union said, claiming that classes have effectively been turned into “daycare centres.”

Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer has said the government is doing everything possible to avoid outright school closures that could cause havoc for parents and jeopardise learning for thousands, especially those in low-income families.

“I know there is a lot of fatigue, of anxiety… but you don’t go on strike against a virus,” Blanquer told BFM television on Tuesday.

As of Monday some 10,000 classes had been shut nationwide because of Covid cases, representing around two percent of all primary school classes, Blanquer said.

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