An investigation of pedagogical approaches and methods used in a French university French-as-a-foreign-language program: teacher and student perspectives




Blackstone, Pam

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This qualitative study has investigated a month-long French-as-a-foreign-language summer program. Its goal was to compare teacher (n=4) and student (n=6) perspectives regarding learning objectives, challenges, and preferred teaching/learning approaches and methods, and to evaluate results against Whyte (2011), who argued that a schism in French university language teaching leads to the dominance of explicit (traditional teacher-fronted) instruction at the expense of more communicative teaching approaches. Data collection took place via classroom observations, pre-course interviews and surveys, a post-course teacher focus group, and weekly student reflective logs. A total of 2,211 references were coded to 276 thematic nodes. Results suggest that the teachers involved primarily embrace a traditional classroom dynamic but apply strategies associated with multiple methods, providing evidence for use of what has become known as the Eclectic Method. Some alignment was found between teachers and students concerning goals, challenges, and teaching approaches, and mixed support was obtained for Whyte’s claim regarding a deficit of communicative language teaching, in that both explicit and implicit teaching were observed.



French, L2 French, French as a Second Language, Language Teaching, French Language Teaching, Language Teaching Approaches and Methods, French university foreign language teaching