Learning French online during COVID-19: ‘We reached new public’

Guillaume Grangeon, academic director, Alliance Française de Delhi spoke to Careers360 about the popularity of French in India and teaching online.

Learning French online during COVID-19: ‘We reached new public’ Guillaume Grangeon, Academic director, Alliance Française de Delhi
R. Radhika | Jan 14, 2021 - 6:15 p.m. IST
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NEW DELHI: The Indo-French cultural centre, Alliance Francaise (AF) shifted its classrooms online during the lockdown. The institute has also created a dedicated Learning Management System to continue online lessons. Guillaume Grangeon, academic director, Alliance Française de Delhi spoke to Careers360 about the popularity of French in India and teaching online.

Q. Has French become more popular in India? Why?

A. There are several reasons why Indians are learning French. The ability to speak French and English is an advantage in the international job market.

Knowledge of French opens the doors for French companies not only in India and France but around the world. French is the second most widely learned foreign language after English, and the fifth most widely-spoken language in the world.

France is becoming attractive for higher studies, especially in the French expertise domains like cooking, tourism, fashion, perfume and many more.

In addition, French is the international language of gastronomy, fashion, theatre, the visual arts, dance, and architecture. Knowledge of French offers access to great works of literature in the original French, as well as films and songs.

Q. Do online certificate language courses help increase the employability of students?

A. Indeed, having a French language diploma will help in increasing employability even though the communication with your hierarchy will be in English. Speaking French in France is not only for work, but it is a must if you want to integrate yourself in the local culture, to make friends and to understand how French people react to a certain type of situation. Language and culture are linked all together.

If you decide to stay in India, many companies look for French-speaking candidates. We welcome some big multinationals in our premises to organize “job fairs”. A French diploma is needed to make your resume even more unique and convince an employer to recruit you.

Q. After the onset of the coronavirus pandemic did you witness any change in the number of enrolments?

A. To be honest we did not witness any increase in the number of students learning French. Many students are reluctant to learn through an online platform. However, we were able to reach a new public who live far away from our centres. The number may be less due to this new online modality, but qualitatively, our pool has got diversified. We can assume that when the pandemic will be over, this new public will stay with us, which at the end will be a huge benefit for us.

Q. What alterations have been made to the course curriculum after shifting the classes online?

A. On the one hand, pedagogy does not change much between online and offline, on the other hand, the course curriculum needs to be adapted. This is why we offer blended learning courses, where teachers focus on “flipped classroom” pedagogy. In a flipped classroom, learners will complete online exercises, collaborate in online discussions, or carry out research at home while engaging in concepts in the classroom with the guidance of a mentor. Teachers become mentors and students become learners. To cope with this new pedagogy, people need to be comfortable to learn by themselves through a platform. It is perfectly adapted to professionals and adults who are highly motivated to learn and know how to work alone, autonomously.

Q. Do you think Alliance Française will continue to offer lessons online after the pandemic is over?

A. Definitely! We will continue offering online French classes in the post-COVID era. Teachers understood that it is possible to teach online, with great success. Students realized as well that it could be an alternative for their studies. Both recognize that online classes give flexibility, efficiency and no transport is required. We are developing even more online tools in order to cope with this new demand.

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