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Course descriptions


Metro’s French courses are taught by a fluent French-speaker who has lived and studied in Paris and traveled extensively in France. The courses are taught with a mixture of group activities, simulations, written activities, Internet usage, oral activities, games, and readings from varied sources.







French 1 and 2 (First-Year French)


First-year French is an introduction to the basics of using this Romance language.  Along with the present tense of several irregular, and most regular verbs, students learn expressions to give their opinion of things, and learn the basics of talking about time, numbers, weather, their families, and their belongings, using basic articles, adjectives, adverbs, and useful expressions.  In addition, they learn the various methods of forming questions in French. Cultural topics include a look into the historical fiction of Victor Hugo; everyday life in France, as well as in other French-speaking countries; the politics and experiences surrounding the struggles for freedom of the North African French colonies, as well as an introduction into the French experience during WWII; how the French celebrate various holidays; and how to interpret a tourist guidebook for Paris. Students with no background in French begin at this level, while students with a strong background of middle-school French are often accepted directly into French 3/4. 






French 3 and 4 (Second-Year French)


In this course, students move on into new tenses, and expand their knowledge of irregular verbs.  They take a deeper journey into the world of adjectives, adverbs, articles, and negations.  Students work with the various kinds of pronouns (subject, direct object, indirect object, object of a preposition, stress), in past, present, and future tenses.  Units include:  the household, traveling, places in a community, and clothing, with their related nouns, verbs, and expressions, as well as vocabulary and expressions for talking about medieval history and culture, and shopping.  Students begin to delve into the past with the introduction of two past tenses, and learn to describe themselves and others in the future, and in conditional situations.  Cultural topics include the region of Provence, and its famous native son, the writer and filmmaker Marcel Pagnol, as well as the rather exciting history of the royal Plantagenet and Capet families.  The writers Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Colette are all discussed, especially as they relate to the French views on Existentialism, Feminism, and the experiences of France in World War II.






French 5 and 6 (Third-Year French)


This more advanced course is offered for college credit through the University of Missouri at St. Louis, and corresponds to their five-credit intensive French I course. Students delve more deeply into compound tenses in this course, and expand their repertoire of irregular verbs.  Complicated grammatical structures such as the partitive article, reflexive verbs, and pronominal verbs, are studied in depth.  Students learn expressions for offering, inviting, accepting, and refusing, and major vocabulary units include the human body, food, health, and grooming. The famous salon era of the 19th century is studied, with a look at such French-school writers, artists and composers as Georges Sand, Alfred de Musset, Franz Liszt, Frederic Chopin, and Eugène Delacroix.  Other poets, such as Verlaine, Ronsard, and Prévert are discussed, and Victor Hugo’s masterpiece Les Misérables is studied.  The art and lives of Auguste Rodin and Camille Claudel are studied. Students also go in-depth to learn about the differences between Romanesque and Gothic art and architecture as it applies to cathedrals in France, and learn of the importance of the Catholic Church in medieval France.






French 7 and 8 (Fourth-Year French)


Metro’s highest-level French course is also offered for college credit through the University of Missouri at St. Louis, and corresponds to their five-credit intensive French II course.  All compound tenses are extensively studied at this level, along with refinement of the students’ use of the reflexive verb structure.  Students work extensively on the subjunctive case, in present and past tenses, and sharpen their use of object pronouns, with a focus on mixed objects.  The Passé Simple is studied for recognition in reading selections.  A strong emphasis is placed on speaking and writing about the student’s own daily experiences, and students are expected to keep a journal in French, which includes their own personalized vocabulary lists, while the major in-class focus of vocabulary is on “problem” words and expressions which are often stumbling blocks for English speakers, on essay-writing terminology, and on new vocabulary encountered during reading.  Readings in French include literary selections, though students also have reading practice using realia, such as package/product directions, email, web pages and web browsers in French, historic and cultural information from French software, games, and books, and they also learn the practical art of reading a French cookbook.  Other vocabulary units include those related to human emotions, art, government, and politics.  An interesting approach to history and tourism is taken, as students learn about traveling through France in chronological order, according to developments in France’s history, and how those developments affected the art and architecture of the country.  More in-depth cultural topics include further study in the lives of Auguste Rodin and Camille Claudel, as well as more on France’s troubled history during the Protestant Reformation, the revolution of 1789, and the experience of French Resistance fighters during World War II.



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