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PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 11:30 am 
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Can anyone help?

My daughter is in year 9 and will not be 14 until the summer. Shen went to a Swiss junior school and consequently is/was near bilingual at the level of a 10/11 year old. This means that she has not studied literary tenses nor has she been taught how to write a proper essay (the latter does not even apply in English).

Her main foreign language at school is German. She will take GCSE this year and if she keps her socks pulled up we hope for A*. She has been well preped (at school) as to what structures etc. to ensure that she includes in the written work to obtain such a mark.

She sat French GCSE in year 7 as an external candidate. We paid for a private tutor for an hour a day for a week over Easter and possibly May half term (I forget) to ensure that our daughter understood how the marking scheme worked. This was not a particularly good experience for various reasons - in part because the teacher flatly refused to believe that a 10 year old was perfectly capable of an A*, which she duly got. It was also difficult because as she is a boarder we could not arrange weekly lessons. I would not be keen to go down this particular road again.

In theory our daughter studies French as a second language at the school. However, there have been a lot of difficulties - it is very large class with children of very varied experience from near bilingual to beginners. There has been a lot of change with both staff and children. In an effort to resolve these difficulties the class was nominally split into three in December and our daughter entered for A/S French this summer. The reality is that she has had little appropriate teaching. Careful examination over the weekend of the syllabus and her school work reveals that she will probably pass the listening and reading with near full marks, and with a bit of preping by a teacher at school in the lunch hour could probably do the same with the oral.

However, the essay leaves me cold. Quite apart from persuading her to read the course book (bought by myself) to ensure that she understands the sort of material that she should include: she needs to understand how to structure an essay; and, also a 'crib' of the grammatical structures that she needs to work in (assuming that she can actually master them where necessary in three months).

I am intending to send her to a London crammer for 5 half days at Easter. There seem to be several that offer much the same thing - anyone any experience? I am also trying to find some thing for the May half term - the exam is the Monday that she goes back. I am inclining to finding somewhere in France for a week's home stay + intensive tuition+plus some afternoon activities. Has anyone any suggestions?

Or an alternative strategy?

I know that this is a case of I wouldn't start from here - but what's done is done now.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 10:23 pm 
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Having been through something similar myself (though not with a child as advanced as yours), I decided to hold off pushing the A level early, and to leave it to sixth form. There's a distinct advantage in having more, rather than fewer, A levels all taken at the same time, and for your daughter it would be a doddle. In the meantime, there's the DELF/DALF (DELF, diplôme d'études en langue française, available at various levels) and OU, or perhaps you could just continue with holiday-time formal teaching?

There's a problem if you want your daughter to continue studying towards further qualifications in French post A-level whilst she is still at school - there's really not very much available other than OU and DELF/DALF.

Have you considered online or telephone tutoring?


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 2:06 am 
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I think you are saying that you don't want to go down the private tutor route again for the May half term ...... but maybe you will find someone you are happier with than the last one and who does realise that children can get A* at a variety of ages? At least this would enable your daughter to have a normal half term holiday at home rather than going on another crammer course or trip to France. The trip to France may not provide the syllabus specific preparation which you are hoping for.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 2:23 pm 
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Y wrote:


There's a problem if you want your daughter to continue studying towards further qualificatioin French post A-level whilst she is still at school - there's really not very much available other than OU and DELF/DALF.



Whilst I understand the difficulties of young children doing A levels the current difficulty is that she has to do French at school until the end of this year. The class is of very mixed ability/experience. My little saint has not demonstrated much saintliness in these circumstances!

Sixth form is not an issue. The school only does the IB. If we can keep the French going until then she will do French A2 i.e. as a second mother tongue.

Di you have any experience of on-line telephone tutoring?Can you make any recommendations?

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 3:56 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2007 11:49 am
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I've sent you a PM.

Y


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 5:59 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 07, 2010 12:36 pm
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P's mum, am trying to post you pm - not related to this topic, just thanking you for answering my posts - but it is sitting in my outbox. Might be that you have to check you messages before it leaves my box?

Cheers, mandelbaum


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