Introduction to Verbe en Image

The purpose of the program

The purpose of this program is to teach the students of French a basic vocabulary and the basic structure of the French language. A child of four years of age is considered fluent in his or her mother tongue. A person communicating with this child will say he or she speaks French or English.This doesn't mean the child has an extensive vocabulary but it means that the child has a vocabulary adequate to express his or her needs and feelings and can carry a conversation dealing with the daily activities of living. In other words the child has a basic oral knowledge of his or her language.

Once the students have acquired that basic knowledge of the language they are ready to branch off into an occupation that demands expressing themselves in French or, if their choice is further education, the students are ready to take courses conducted in French. If these options are not available to them, delving into French literature could possibly be the best way to deepen their knowledge of the language.

The major ideas of this program are:

The most important words to acquire initially are the personal pronouns. They are somewhat confusing because there are more than in the English language.

Then the next most important words are the verbs. They are so important that I developed illustrations for what I consider the most necessary ones to learn. [A picture is worth a thousand words.] They can be confusing because where we use only one verb in English we might use two in French. For instance, in English we say I leave for school at 8:30 and I leave my books in my locker. In French leaving for school is partir à l'école , leaving my books is laisser mes livres. Of course, the reverse can happen also where in English we require two verbs but only one in French.

With this technique students receive information about the new word in four different ways:

  1. The word is pronounced.
  2. They see a meaningful visual.
  3. They see the written word.
  4. They write it.
This ensures that the needs of both auditory and visual learners are met.

Because gender is a major obstacle to the English speaking students of French, colour coding is used to gradually develop an understanding and acceptance of this difficult concept.

The students begin by building whole sentences from the beginning, having already acquired the ability to speak in sentences in their mother tongue. The emphasis is on oral production throughout the program.

The exercises make optimum use of cognate words that are similar in English and French. About 55% of the language is made up of cognate words, so, once the students have acquired the basics of the language, this vocabulary of cognate words becomes accessible, giving them a very extensive vocabulary.

The structured oral exercices compels the students to form grammatically correct sentences without going through the mental process of translating from English. The order of the graphics guide the students to verbalise ideas following the word order of the French language. They are taught to think in French from the onset of the program.

Generally, concepts are introduced gradually. They are presented in context. Then they are taught step by step. Students acquire skill in using them by applying them in oral exercises constructed specifically to practice that concept. Finally they refine their ability to apply those concepts by using them in many other speaking exercises in subsequent lessons.

This program is based on the new Program of Studies from Alberta Education.

The lessons are composed of five parts:

Besides the lessons, the program contains an introduction, an outline, a table of contents, an index and some audio tapes to accompany the oral exercises.