Monday, 28 January 2008

Painting & Presenting

What did we do today, Dear?

We hoovered the walls (since they had previously been sanded, in case you were wondering!).

We 'cut in' all the corners, etc with paint brushes.
And then roller-painted all the walls of the main room of our apartment with a white undercoat.Goodness - doesn't it look so much brighter!Goodness, don't we ache!!

Look at the fabulous French anti-wrinkle treatment Richard bought me!
I want to tell you about LeeLee's French Bac oral mock exam today, but first a bit of tedious background that might help.

The baccalaureate is a three year course.

In the first year you study all the usual subjects.
Compulsory: French, English, one other language, Maths, Physics/Chemistry, History/Geography, SVT (Biology/Zoology), Technology, Education Civique, Sport.
Optional: Art, Latin, Occitan, Music.

At the start of the second year, you finalise which bac you want to do (Science, Languages, Economics, Sport) and this determines the number of hours you do in each subject. Note you do not get to give up any subjects!!

At the end of the second year, you take your French Bac exams.

At the start of the third year, you choose which subject you are going to 'specialise' in within your chosen bac.

Once again, you do not get to give up any subjects except French (remember you did your French Bac at the end of the second year - keep up with the story!), it just changes the number of hours each week you study for each subject and the 'loading' given to your results.

LeeLee is currently in the second year of her Science Bac and hopes to specialise in Mathematics next year.

Today she had a French Bac oral mock exam - and very interesting it was, when compared to the system in the UK.

Throughout the year, the students study various excerpts from different literary works by different authors, eg Voltaire.

In preparation for the exam, each student gets to choose three that they must revise thoroughly.

Half an hour before the exam, the Examiner tells the student which of their three chosen texts has been chosen for their exam, and the 'query' they will have to address.

Thirty minutes later the student enters the room where the Examiner is, and sits down.

The student is asked to read the text.

Students only have to read for a couple of minutes to show that they are fluent. The Examiner does not interrupt the student.

LeeLee had to read the whole text - since this is an area that they have concerns about, with foreign students.

The student then has to talk to the Examiner for ten minutes expanding on the 'query' they have been posed, exploring it from the perspective of the various characters in the text, associating it with the era of the author and the author's views on the society of the time, and referring to other works by the author and specific occurrences in the author's life. Etcetera, etcetera!!!!

The student is expected to be able to 'judge' the ten minutes, presenting an introduction, a narrative and a conclusion with closing statement. All timed to finish at the appropriate time - without looking at their watches!

The student is also judged on their presentation skills - their talking style, their interpersonal skills and their ability to 'engage' and keep the attention of the Examiner.

The Examiner does not interrupt the student, but gets up, walks around the room, goes and gets something, appears at times to be 'ignoring' the student - all designed to put them off! And to see how they cope!

At the end, because it is a mock exam, the Examiner gives the student an analysis of their performance. The actual mark they get will not be given to the students however for a couple of weeks.

The examiner was very impressed, she said, with LeeLee!!

1. LeeLee read with fluency - and the Examiner said she was better than most of the French students she had seen that morning.

2. She said LeeLee had 'charm' and should take full advantage of this for the actual exam. In an oral exam, you must keep the attention of the Examiner and 'engage' them during your presentation - and charm works it seems!

3. LeeLee talked TO the Examiner and made eye contact the whole time. Most students are nervous and look at their hands, the floor, the ceiling - basically anywhere except at the Examiner! Even when the Examiner got up, went and opened a packet of biscuits and ate one - LeeLee kept her cool and still made eye contact.

4. She gave LeeLee some good pointers on further expanding her arguments - pros and cons - and researching more about the worldwide events that took place during the lifetime of the author. All of which would have had an impact on their literary works.

5. She said that LeeLee's English accent was worth its weight in gold for her oral exam. Her total fluency in spoken French (!) was incredible - and the English accent would enhance the effect on the Examiner. It would make her fluency seem even more incredible - given that it made it obvious to the Examiner that she was not in fact French at all yet as fluent (if not more so!) than the actual French-born students.

6. Although she would not tell LeeLee her mark - she said she was the highest so far that day.....

We are so proud of our charming, bilingual LeeLee!!

We were astonished at the exam - it was like no oral exam we had ever come across before!!


Lesley said...

Wow! Well done to Leigh! What an achievement. I hope that this encourages her for the real exam too.
The apartment is coming on well. When do you have to finish it by? I hope that there is not too much of a time pressure.

Jacqui U said...

The curiste season starts 6 Feb (next week!) but we have told the Tourist Office that our apartment is available from 1 March.

So a little bit of time - but not a lot!! Panic......

We have a booking on the 31 March, so if no one else wants the place - we have a little bit more of a leeways!

Jacqui U