Learning French all the way through secondary school in Canada is a pretty impressive feat. The decision to pursue French study is a choice in the senior grades that many students shy away from, so if you are confident that your French is that good, you are definitely in a different league.
Why Should I Study French in Secondary School?
A Love for Learning French Language and Culture
Students choose to continue learning French for a variety of reasons. Some students simply love French language and culture, and find that learning new verb tenses and expressions is fascinating. They love the clear cut lessons, the thrill of being able to communicate and be understood in a different language, and learning all about the history, food, customs and architecture. France is one of the most culturally rich countries in the world, so there are endless growth possibilities.
It’s Part of a Canadian Identity
Others see French as an important part of Canadian cultural identity, so being proficient and fluent in the language is simply part of the process of learning. They may even have a French language heritage that can be traced back for hundreds of years, and are passionate about retaining a sense of cultural awareness. They may also have the advantage of hearing French from a parent or close relative, so the language acquisition is relatively easy.
Are you thinking about taking the DELF exam? Qualifying for the DELF is much easier than you think.
And perhaps many people also want to take advantage of the economic opportunities provided by French, as many jobs and careers will prioritize French speaking candidates. Jobs in areas like government, insurance, banking, retail and other services often require a French speaker to interact with their Francophone clientele or colleagues. French educators also have an advantage in the job market, which is another excellent career for those that can are proficient and literate in the language.
Travel and Mobility
Finally, knowing another language like French can make mobility to a Francophone region much easier, for travel or even a permanent move. If you’ve ever thought that you wanted to experience living in Europe, for school or for work, knowing the language is a definite pre-requisite. Imagine strolling down the streets of Paris for your job and enjoying the perks that come with a European lifestyle: bustling cafes, a vibrant nightlife, and access to a vast array of beautiful destinations.
Why Should I Take the DELF in Grade 12?
If you happen to be in grade 12, you may not have been thinking about all the benefits to learning French all through school. You may be even wondering if you should even continue learning in college or university.
This is where a test like the DELF comes in - successfully challenging the DELF makes all your years of French learning worthwhile as it will lead to a certificate that recognizes your second language skills. Developed by the Ministry of Education in France by linguistics efforts, the DELF is comprised of four separate certificates that recognize competency in French at different levels. The certificates last a lifetime, and ensure that you have official documentation that shows your ability in French to whoever you want to know.
Beyond a certificate, the DELF can also be used to enter a French university. Passing the DELF B2 means that you can be accepted into a French post secondary institution without taking any more language proficiency tests, which opens up so many options for school.
If you are still in the beginner stages of French learning, you can still take a DELF test for you ability. Simply work with your French teachers at school to determine which test you’d have the most success in, and you can get a certificate for that level. You may even decide that you want to continue working hard in your studies to achieve the B2 or even the higher, academic levels.
Have you brushed up on your reading and writing skills for your upcoming DELF exam? Find out how to prepare for these sections efficiently and effectively.
How Can I Practice French More Often?
If you have made the decision to challenge the DELF in grade 12, you are probably wondering how you can get more French speaking practice in. There are a number of ways to do this as a high school student, where you can be safe and comfortable.
Start by creating or joining a French study or conversation group at your school. Some schools actually have clubs already set up, which is amazing as they will likely have access to space in the school for meetings or a teacher to supervise and help. With a group of like-minded friends who want to practice, you’ll not only get that much needed oral communication time but an opportunity to make new friends and connections.
You might also consider enhancing your study by finding French websites and games where you can practice conjugating words and complete quizzes in new vocabulary. Sites like Duolingo are lots of fun, but you could also check out Dinolingo, Busuu, and other apps. While virtual French games and lessons won’t necessarily make you a better speaker, they will enable you to learn new words, develop writing skills, and simply have fun while learning.
The internet also contains great French content like movies, TV shows, cartoons, news stations, and other media where you can engage with French in a practical way. As you watch more French news or consume more social media in the language, you will slowly build up your skills as a reader.
If you can convince your family to take a trip over to a French speaking part of Canada or even France, that is often a surefire way to get you a concentrated amount of French speaking and listening practice. This is the best way to learn French. When you are forced to use French to do simple things or get around, you’ll be surprised at how fast you’ll learn.
Finally, don’t forget those French workbooks. Sure, it can seem quite boring to use a workbook or a reader designed for French learning, but in truth workbooks are inexpensive and highly effective. You can carry one around for when you are stuck waiting somewhere, leave it at home for your completion when you have some free time, or bring it to a cafe or library so you can focus in a quiet place. Workbooks walk learners through the fine points of grammar, from mastering subjunctive tenses to the placement of accents on words. Many also come with audio components you can use to supplement your learning.
Whatever method you choose, make sure you allocate time to do the work, whether it’s meeting with other French-speaking friends or completing 5 pages of the latest workbook you have purchased. With consistency, patience and effort, you’ll see the results in no time.
Mastering French listening and speaking for the DELF test is a challenge - make sure you are prepared so you can get the best score.
What are the Best Ways to Prepare for the DELF?
Once you’ve built up a system of independent practice, and feel confident in your abilities, the next step would be to book your DELF assessment time so you can start working with a stronger sense of intentionality and purpose.
Do your research and find out what the DELF test has looked like in the past, so you can get a sense of how to prepare for it. Plenty of websites will share sample tests, or you could always ask someone you know that has passed so you can follow their lead. The DELF assesses the areas of reading, listening, writing, and oral expression, so you will not want to take the test without having some DELF-targeted preparation.
Should I Hire a Tutor to Practice for the DELF?
Another option you might consider is to hire a private tutor from Superprof.ca. Superprof is a one-stop shop for all of your French tutoring needs, whether it be specifically for DELF preparation or a tutor to help you through your French courses. There are so many advantages to hiring a DELF tutor on Superprof. First of all, you will have someone who understands the test and knows exactly what kinds of strategies you should know to be successful. A private DELF tutor can assess your greatest areas of need for the test, and work with you on the areas you need it most. Furthermore, they can give you valuable feedback on your answers and practice responses so you can feel confident about being successful on the test.
Superprof is the best place to find a DELF tutor in your region because you will be able to see their rates and backgrounds as educators. It can be overwhelming to find someone to hire as a tutor, and Superprof makes it easy to contact and compare different candidates. Because the site is solely focused on tutoring, you won’t spend endless amounts of time sifting and searching. Superprof also enables you to see reviews a tutor may have gotten from previous clients, so you can feel confident about who you hire. Many tutors will offer the first hour for free, ensuring you get a sense of how they can help you.
Another advantage of hiring a tutor is that you will have someone to help you at times that work for your schedule at a place that is convenient for you. Grade 12 students often have tons of extracurriculars, family responsibilities, and a social lives, so you will want someone who can work with your busy schedule. While safe, in person tutoring sessions can be incredibly helpful, you can also opt for virtual tutoring, where you can simply log on to a Google Meet or Zoom to get your DELF practice.
Have you taken French all the way through grade 12 or taken French immersion? Make sure your work has been recognized by challenging the DELF after high school.
What Can I Do to Stop Test Stress and Anxiety?
So you’ve decided to challenge the DELF - how do you deal with all the anxiety and stress that come with it?
Start by practicing calming techniques like deep breathing and visualization, so you can calm your mind and focus on what it is you want to achieve. Belly breathing is a great way to slow down and focus - make a habit of practicing breathing regularly so you will know what to do when you start to feel anxious before the test.
Obviously, feeling prepared and confident in your French will help you feel less stressed at the time of the test. Make sure you make time to study, see a tutor, and research everything about the test that you can find so you can feel in control of your situation. You may also want to consider giving yourself as much time as possible to prepare for the test so you can make a calendar with French study or learning goals to achieve for the time your test occurs.
Finally, make sure you get lots of rest and exercise on a daily basis. Practicing self-care through simple acts like getting to bed on time or going for a run can be game-changing, as you will head into your test feeling calm and centred instead of rushed and frazzled.
Remember - you got this! Stay focused, be prepared, and ensure you get all the support you can. You’ll have your certificate in no time!
Studying for the DELF takes planning, practice and time. Make sure you are preparing for the DELF with all the right strategies and methods.
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