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How do you measure progress?

I often have parents asking me how their child is doing at French? And here, we are talking about young children. Children who are usually in primary school. They tell me that when they ask their child what they have learnt, they never remember. So how do I measure their progress?

Well, I don’t!

Not in the sense that you might think. I don’t put children on the spot and do random vocabulary tests. They are little and all I am looking for, is to raise language lovers.

Saying this, the children do learn. And they learn an awful lot and at a very fast pace.

So instead of asking them, what did you learn? How about asking them, what made you laugh today? Maybe they will remember that the word for swimming pool in French is Piscine. What did you play today? Maybe they will tell you about a great game we played, (they will forget that they had to carefully listen to the instructions in French and play the game in French, but you can guess that). What did you celebrate today? Maybe they will be able to tell you that Mother’s Day is in May in France and not in March. What made you proud today? Maybe they will tell you that they stood up and counted in front of the whole group. What did you sing today? Maybe they will start frantically moving their arms about and start shouting Vole Vole papillon from the top of their lungs.

Or maybe not, and, like my son, they will just look at you and ask, what’s for dinner?!!

My point is, learning happens when you have fun. Your children come out of the class smiling, then I have achieved my goal, because trust me, I see too many teenagers and adults scared to make mistakes, forgetting that learning a language is about connections, making friends, experiencing something different. It is about being curious, and discovering new sounds, ideas, songs, recipes. It is about realising that making mistakes is ok, it is about having fun without understanding everything, it is about learning how to make educated guesses, it is about wanting to know more.

We will have plenty of time to do vocab and grammar tests when they reach GCSE’s, so for now, trust me, your child likes coming to my classes, then, he or she is doing great!


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