You know you need to add more culture to your classes if:
- Your students can’t name 10 French speaking countries (my favorite answers are: Germany, Japan, Spain, the U.S., and Europe).
- Your students are tired of learning grammar and verbs.
- Most of your students haven’t had the opportunity to travel outside your town or state.
- Your students constantly say, “Why do we have to learn French? I’m never going to use it.”
Let culture inspire your students to learn more French so they can:
* compete in a global economy
* be sensitive and welcoming to community members from other countries
* make new friends
* travel to beautiful places
* learn a different perspective
At the very least, commit to spending 15-30 minutes every week on culture. Here are 15 ways to incorporate culture into your French classes this year.
1. Use free Francophone nationality partners sheet to ensure that students work with a variety of partners throughout the year.
Bonus: This will help them learn all the French-speaking countries.
2. Post interesting facts and colorful photos from a different Francophone country every few weeks.
3. Create a language cafe to share authentic food and conversation.
4. Show short video clips from all the Francophone countries to showcase culture.
Here are a few of my favorites:
Happy Burundi, 4 min.
Absolutely love this one! In English.
Really shows the spirit of the Burundi people
and various sites around the country.
Les pousse-pousses (walking taxis), 8 min.
In French. Talks about a different type of transportation in the second largest city in Madagascar.
5. Have students look for evidence of culture in their daily lives.
Give them this sheet listing the Francophone countries. Whenever they find something or someone from a Francophone country, they color the country and write what they found.
6. Discuss interesting traditions from other countries.
Do your students know about 2 week Lucerne Carnival in Switzerland?
Do they know about the tradition of finding the hidden object in the Galette des rois to become king or queen for the day?
Kids are fascinated by this type of stuff!
Assign a country to each student and have them research and share an interesting tradition with the class.
7. Track down a Francophone student in your school and have him/her come talk to your classes.
8. Every Monday, have students share an article about a French-speaking country.
Lower level students can bring in articles in English and upper level students can bring in articles in French. They should be prepared to give a quick summary in French of their articles.
Here are some great sites to find free articles:
Le Monde – France
La Presse – Canada
Le Journal de Québec – Canada
L’Équipe – France
9. Post realia in your classroom.
Check out my French Realia Pinterest board to get you started. Add different realia every few weeks to keep things fresh or pick one for each theme that you teach: health, environment, technology, careers, etc.
10. Host guest speakers from other countries.
Track down people from Francophone countries in your community and invite them to class to share their culture. Encourage them to bring photos, food, and other props. The speakers may only be able to present to 1-2 classes, so you may wish to invite multiple speakers to cover all your classes.
Divide each class into groups to see which group can create the best board for their topic.
P.S. You might also like this famous people guessing game that includes many Francophones.
12. Share songs that showcase culture.
Aicha by Khaled is one of my favorites (theme = women’s rights).
13. Show ads or YouTube clips.
It’s really interesting to watch ads from other countries – great for comparing and contrasting culture.
Cyprien has a really fun spoof on real life vs. what you see in ads. Some bad words (but is it really horrible if our students learn a few swears in French)? Just be sure to put the subtitles in French, not in English (use the settings tab to do this).
LindsayDoesLanguages has a great list of 10 French YouTubers to watch.
Remember that you can click on the settings wheel (looks like a gear) on the bottom right of the video to change the speed of the dialogue. If you put him on .75 speed, he actually talks at a normal speed instead of super-fast. 🙂
15. Have your students research and do presentations on their own hobbies in other countries.
If you have a student who loves art, have her do a presentation about a famous museum or Francophone artist.
If you have a student who likes sing, have her perform a song from a French-speaking country.
If you have a student who likes soccer, have him talk about a soccer team or player from a Francophone country.
I hope that you found a few new ways to incorporate culture in your French class. I’d love to hear how you teach culture in your class. Please share your ideas in the comments section.
Get more quality free resources for your French classroom in my Free Resource Library – lots of goodies just waiting for you. Sign up below.