Neetu Sood – French Language Expert – Dimensions International College, Singapore

Ms.Neetu Sood, currently the French language teacher at Dimensions International College, Singapore has over 15 years of teaching experience and has been associated with institutions like Paramount International School, Bluebells International School, Genesis Global School. She is certified CIE teacher capable of teaching in CBSE, IGCSE, IB, MOE curriculums.

Ms.Sood has initiated and executed Exchange Programs to France and also conducted the French Festival “Fierté de la France” which gives an insight into the French culture. She has been the head examiner, CBSE. She is an IB examiner and has also been a leader for LFL program (Leadership for learning).

Ms.Sood talks to School magazine….

French Language
Languages may differ in various ways. They may have different sounds and dialects. French has a different syntax. For example, in English we say “there is a red apple” with the adjective ‘red’ coming before the noun ‘apple’, whereas in French, the sentence would be “il y a une pomme rouge” where the adjective ‘rouge’ comes after the noun ‘pomme’.
There’s an old saying that goes, “The best way to learn something is to teach it.” By teaching a foreign language, I am speeding up a virtuous cycle where I become better at what I am doing simply by doing it.

Importance of studying French language and literature in Indian schools
• French has secured its status as a top international language: French is spoken as a native language in more than two dozen countries on five continents. French is either the 11th or the 13th most common native language in the world, with 72 to 79 million native speakers and another 190 million secondary speakers. French is the second most commonly taught second language in the world (after English), making it a real possibility that speaking French will come in handy practically anywhere you travel. American companies with offices in France include IBM, Microsoft, Mattel, Dow Chemical, Sara Lee, Ford, Coca-Cola, AT&T, Motorola, Johnson & Johnson, Ford, and Hewlett Packard offer great career opportunities in India.French has a vast scope in the field of culture, including art, cuisine, dance, fashion and films.

• French is on the rise: The francophone population is increasing rapidly. France’s birth rate suggests that by 2025 French will surpass German to become the most-spoken language in Europe!

• Learning French opens up a great opportunities for studying in renowned French universities. The French embassy also offers various scholarships for Indian students.

Advantages of a foreign language teacher
a. I meet a host of different characters and personalities as my students. As young as they may or may not be, I learn a lot from my language learners. I’m gifted with the opportunity to interact with these unique, complex people on a daily basis.

b. When I teach a foreign language, it could very well prepare myself of multiple careers over my lifetime.The skill set I master as a foreign language teacher made me eminently capable of doing a wide host of other jobs like climbing the corporate ladder if I want or starting an organization or business of my own.

c. Have Better Pay and the Opportunity for Travel: Language teachers might generally be paid the same rates as other subject teachers (mathematics or science) in the home country. However, foreign governments are actually inviting teachers to come to their shores and help educate their people. In addition to premium pay, many offer free airfare, furnished housing, a settlement allowance, health insurance.

d. Experience the Emotional Rewards of Mentoring: At the end of the day, the absolute, most fulfilling reward of being a teacher has nothing to do with what you have gained, but with what you have given. And sure, I got rewarded with pay, stability and perhaps even chocolates, handmade cards and flowers on Teacher’s Day which is the most precious.

Challenges when learning French
a. Pronunciation and accents: The nasal ‘r’ in words such as ‘frère’ (brother) can really drive a foreign speaker crazy and a little accent over the ‘e’ could change the entire dynamic of how you say it!

b. Spelling: Entire chunks of words go unpronounced; letters are dropped in speaking, but still demand to make an appearance in the written version.

C. Gender: The use of gender (the masculine and feminine form of a word) is something English speakers don’t deal with in their language. It’s completely unfamiliar and quite confusing when it comes to adapting it into your daily speech.

Inspiration to become a French Teacher
Since my childhood I wanted to learn a foreign language as I use to get very excited when I use to hear foreigners talking in their native language. And my college (Bharati College, DU) started admissions for Diploma courses in French. So I got a chance to learn the language and gradually I fell in love with this language.
Also teaching is my passion since childhood. I would like to share with you that I use to act as a teacher while studying any of my subjects.

My knowledge being inculcated in students in shaping up their personality
Students look at the teachers as their role models. So more than just the academic enrichment teachers carry great responsibility to shape up the child’s future and personality. One must learn a foreign language as it gives awareness, opportunities, tolerance, confidence, memories, empowerment, insight, influence. Basically it gives students an all rounded development.

Advice for students
Learn the Way That Works Best for You: If you find that learning grammar is useful, learn that way. If grammar just frustrates you, try a more conversational approach.
Learn Together: Many people find that learning with others helps keep them on track. Consider learning along with your child, spouse, or friend.
Repetition is Key: You can repeat exercises, answer the same questions, listen to the same sound filesuntil you feel comfortable with them. In particular, listening and repeating many times is very good—this will help you improve your listening comprehension, speaking skills, and accent all at once.
Have Fun: Make your French learning interesting. Instead of just studying the language with books, try reading, watching TV/movies, listening to music—whatever interests you and keeps you motivated.