Goals of the beginning and intermediate sequences in French are comprehension of both the oral and written language beyond an elementary level, development of the capacity to express reasonably complicated thought both orally and in writing, and an introduction to French and Francophone literatures and cultures.
At the advanced level, the student is expected to reach competence in use and knowledge of the French language and to become conversant with French and Francophone literatures and cultures. Students will not only familiarize themselves but also engage critically with important intellectual ideas from the French-speaking world as they have evolved across time and space.
From the beginning, French is used extensively, if not totally, in the classroom. Except where specified, all class discussion, essays, and examinations are conducted in French.
Required for the major in French and Francophone studies
Students who complete the major in French and Francophone Studies will demonstrate proficiency in all four language skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) at the intermediate-high to advanced-low level according to the American Council of Teachers of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) guidelines. Moreover, they will analyze critically primary texts in the French language and demonstrate knowledge of the diversity of the French-speaking world. By the culmination of the major, they will be able to apply one or more critical/theoretical approaches to original inquiry in the discipline of French and Francophone Studies and to explain the interconnectedness of various aspects of cultural production articulating French and Francophone identity.
Students complete the major by taking a minimum of 60 units beyond FREN 202, including:
- 12 to 18 units at the 300 level,
- at least 12 units at the 400 level,
- at least 12 units at the 500 level, and
- FREN 600: Senior Seminar.
At least 18 of the 400- or 500-level units must be taken on the Lawrence campus.
French majors will be required to attend at least one Björklunden French language immersion weekend in either their junior or senior year. Participation in the immersion experience will allow department members to evaluate majors’ levels of proficiency in listening and speaking in a free and unstructured linguistic environment. Students who major in French are also required to attend at least six meetings of the French Table; for one of the Tables they will serve as discussion leader.
Finally, all French majors will be required to assemble a portfolio of a selection of their work in the French program. The portfolio is designed to keep a record of progress over the course of a French major’s career in terms of linguistic proficiency, mastery of specific literary and cultural content, and sophistication of ideas.
Portfolios must be submitted by the second week of Term III of the student’s senior or super-senior year. The French and Francophone Studies department will receive and approve only completed portfolios, and the portfolio submissions must be in PDF format.
The French portfolio must include:
- A list of all courses taken for the major
- A list of works included in the portfolio
- A two- to three-page essay in French that captures the concept of “la francophonie” through discussion of one aspect of cultural production (cinema, literature, media, music, etc.) that distinguishes and yet relates French and Francophone identity
- Samples of students' work will be drawn from each of the following categories:
- One sample essay from each of the following levels: French 300, French 400, and French 500. At least one of the essays should discuss a Francophone topic.
- The student's senior capstone project.
A student may request permission to submit a video recording of an oral presentation in place of one essay.
Senior Experience in French and Francophone studies
French and Francophone studies requires a Senior Experience that consists of a one-term senior seminar (winter) in which possible research topics are defined and outlined, culminating in a written thesis and an oral, in-class presentation of the student's work. Other types of research projects and interdisciplinary capstones in French may meet the requirement; the possibility of an alternative project must be discussed with the department chair and the student's advisor.
Students pursuing double majors, double degrees, or teacher certification are strongly encouraged to consult with their advisors and relevant department chairs to plan and negotiate their overall Senior Experience as early as possible. It is imperative that students interested in pursuing an interdisciplinary capstone that integrates their interests in both majors consult with the department chair by fall of the senior or super-senior year.
Required for the minor in French
Students complete a French minor by taking a minimum of 36 units beyond FREN 202, which will include 12 units at the 300 level and at least 6 units at the 400 level and 6 units at the 500 level.
French minors will be required to attend at least one Björklunden immersion weekend in either their junior or senior year. Participation in the immersion experience will allow department members to evaluate minors’ levels of proficiency in listening and speaking in a free and unstructured linguistic environment. Students who minor in French are also required to attend at least six meetings of the French Table and complete a short project based on work pre-approved by the department. There will be an oral presentation of the project before at least two members of the department.
Finally, students must declare their intent to minor in French in writing to the department chair in their junior year.
Teacher certification in French (K-12)
French majors can seek certification to teach French at the elementary and secondary levels. To be certified, students must spend a term in a French-speaking country studying the language and culture and must pass an oral and writing proficiency test. Students can add an endorsement in a second area (such as another language or English as a second language) by completing the appropriate minor. Students who plan to seek teacher certification should review the requirements in the Education section of the catalog and meet with the director of teacher education, preferably before the end of the sophomore year.
The department urges students to take advantage of the international study programs in France, Senegal, Morocco, or Quebec.
The placement examination for students taking French at Lawrence for the first time is available online at the department’s home page. To take the exam, go to placement exams and follow the instructions. The exam may be taken on or off campus. Students wishing to place out of the language requirement by proficiency examination should sign up through the department chair for an oral proficiency interview and writing exam in addition to the placement test.
At the beginning and intermediate levels, courses are numbered to indicate relative difficulty, the lowest numbers identifying those that require the least proficiency in French. At the level of FREN 400 and above, however, students should consult a French instructor.
At whatever level students place, they should plan to begin their study of French in the freshman or sophomore year.