General information 2021/2022

Victoria’s French & Italian classes
West Barton, Lower Swell, TA3 6PH

Classes will have a coffee break at ‘half time’. As usual, I will provide coffee, tea, biscuits etc on the first week and thereafter students will take it in turns to bring it. I have invested in a couple of electric cafetieres so we can have ‘real’ coffee if we like and washing up of the cups can be done in the little dairy kitchen (room for 2 or 3 only!)

1/ Some vital ingredients for language learning:

I believe that there are only 2 ways to learn a foreign language!
• You can either go to live in the country (ideal!) or
• you can attend classes (not so ideal but generally the only option we have!)

If you do the latter, a lot of hard work, time, effort and energy are needed. Becoming confident in speaking and understanding a foreign language will not happen by magic. You will have to work at it but it will, hopefully, be enjoyable and fun! Here are some ideas which may help you!
A/ Keep it simple! –Many of us would like to speak a foreign language with the wide range of vocabulary and expressions that we use in English. This is possible, but only after years and years of practice! So, in the meantime, try to get used to using simple, straightforward language, to speak slowly and clearly and to practice what you know and have learnt in class rather than rushing to the dictionary every few minutes! An added bonus is that you will be able to make yourself understood much more easily too!

B/ Expose yourself to the language! – Take every opportunity to listen to the language: CD’s, films or radio, clips on YouTube or listen to native speakers while on holiday. Read a newspaper or magazine! Write to or email friends you might have met through the Twinning or on holiday & get a regular exchange going! When doing homework, copy out vocabulary into different categories and write whole sentences rather than just the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers! Any practice and exposure to the language is good and extremely helpful!

C/ ‘Have a go’ and become an extrovert (if you are not one already!). Speak as much as possible. ‘Feeling silly’ and ‘getting it all wrong’ is an English invention – to be forgotten! If you believe that you can learn a language, you will be able to!

D/ Be realistic about the time and commitment you have for studying. Attending the class is only part of it! If you can study regularly, ideally a little each day, you will make more progress and enjoy the classes more. Keep your books and notes out, so that they don’t get tidied away and forgotten! Similarly, if you are not able to study much between classes, be realistic, you will not get so much out of the classes nor will you make so much progress! Most importantly please please let me know of anything that might get in the way of your progress – hearing or sight problems, time limitations, family commitments, health issues, dyslexic tendencies, etc
E/ Try to change places each week so that you sit next to someone different – scary but useful! If you don’t want to move, and sitting in the same place is more comfortable for you, that is absolutely fine, no pressure!

2/ Web Site. Simply type in: into the address bar at the top left of your browser! Here you will find information on: term dates, enrolment form, payment of deposit/ balance form etc. Any urgent information will be put here, so please consult it regularly. Also, I will be attempting to put all the various ‘Class notes’ on the website each week, thus avoiding the necessity for sending emails (which some people could not access)! However, ‘class notes’ are only my notes and do not replace the notes that you take in class so please do not rely on them, technology does go wrong! Do remember, I am not an IT specialist, so if you do have any problems accessing the website or emails, contact another class member who can print you a copy, rather than ask me for technical assistance!

3/ Networking/ List of Class members. Keeping in touch with other students in the class has always proved to be extremely beneficial to learning and makes the whole experience more enjoyable! We generally circulate a list of the class’ email addresses and telephone numbers, of those who are happy to do so, gaining consent of course to comply with GDPR regulations! This means that, if you miss a class, are going to be late, can’t access the class notes or don’t understand the homework, you can contact another member of the class, who is often able to help!

4/ Coffee break. We have a short break for refreshments at ‘half time’, which
is also a good time to chat to other students or myself (avoiding English, of
course!), go to the loo or borrow an item from the library! We usually take it in turns to bring provisions to include: Coffee (real, ground if you like), tea, sugar, milk, biscuits and a couple of T towels. Cups can be washed up in the little dairy kitchen and put back on the tray in there for the next class. If you are able to help, so that the person who has brought the provisions that day is not left to wash up on their own, that would be helpful.

5/ Being Punctual. I will endeavor to start and finish classes on time! People often have tight schedules and other commitments and need to get away. Similarly, I would be grateful if you would arrive on time or a few minutes early so that we can ALL start on time together! I will make sure that the door is open at least 15 minutes before each class. When students come in late, it DOES disrupt the class and having to re-cap what we have just done is frustrating for everyone. Do let me or another student know if you will be late and try to come in quietly or if more convenient, wait for the coffee break at ‘half time’.
6/ Different teaching methods suit different people. I therefore try to vary the
classes as much as possible – speaking, listening, video, grammar, vocabulary,
pair-work, moving around activities, group work, formal exercises, games, and songs

7/ Keeping a file for notes, handouts etc will make studying easier and cut down
on unnecessary repeat photocopying! Keep the term dates, class telephone
numbers and general information at the front for easy reference.

8/ Grammar books I recommend are the BBC editions –
French Grammar, ISBN 0-563-39941-4.
Italian Grammar, ISBN 0-563-39943-0

9/ Internet users may well know for books and the BBC
site, You Tube and numerous sites for newspaper articles and language learning sites.

10/ There is a small ‘library’ for Italian and French, where you are welcome to borrow items during coffee time. Please write your name and the item in the book provided and limit borrowing to a couple of weeks. Any donations of items for the library will be gratefully received. Remember, reading helps learning but, again, be realistic! Getting ‘the gist’ of a book is what you should aim for, not to understand every single word and expression.

11/ Recommendations for hotels, restaurants and b & b’s in France and Italy are
kept in the holiday file (Italy at the front, France at the back). Please can you jot down any recommendations you have had in the last couple of years on an A4 sheet, or half A4, noting the town, region, price range with a brief description of the hotel or restaurant and your contact details.

12/ Payment for classes: You can pay by, bank transfer (ask me for details) cheque or cash.

13/Parking is in the paddock opposite the house. Things can get a bit slippery in wet or snowy conditions, although there is hardcore just underneath the surface. There is grass reinforcement matting across the whole middle section which will always remain ‘safe’ in adverse conditions.

So relax, enjoy the classes, chat to friends and amaze yourself with your linguistic talents!