Studying in French when you’re not a native French speaker – Is it possible? Check out the FLSco program of the Shanghai French School.

Studying in French when you’re not a native French speaker – Is it possible? Check out the FLSco program of the Shanghai French School.

Each child is an individual, each story is unique. FLSco (French as the language of instruction) is our support program for students who need help with French language in order to integrate better into the French school system. The lessons are aimed at children since K3 (Grande Section de Maternelle). Nearly 80 students are now benefiting intensively from this program and 200 students benefit from an intermediary FLSco support.

Get to know, in video, this unique program is intended mainly for non-French speaking students who have just joined our school, but also for those who are still learning French language and need to consolidate their skills.

FLSco at LFS

This program, which generally takes place over two years, allows them to access the fundamental learning skills required in school. In order to promote their integration, these students are enrolled in a reference class corresponding to their age. They are offered working sessions (depending on the students’ needs) with a specialist teacher responsible for helping them progress sufficiently in French to be able to follow their reference class in fine.

In small level groups, children discover, exercise or consolidate their knowledge of French thanks to specific methods and various material (language games, books, songs or any other activity adapted to the age of the child) which allow them to confidently enrich their lexicon and gradually better understand and better express themselves in French.

Well supported in their discovery of the French language, children quickly learn the vocabulary they need and become independent in their daily learning. This program adapts to the child’s specific needs and to their learner profile. Thus, the FLSco curriculum is intensive and daily at a beginner level, and is applied as needed at an intermediate level. It is intended to be reduced during the school year as the child progresses.

This support structure in French responds to a concern of our teaching teams to facilitate the integration of all students into our system. It is part of one of the main axes of our school project, which is to support each student in a personalized way to better take into account their needs and abilities.


How does the FLSCO program fit into the students' schedules, into the organization of a school day, in Elementary and Secondary schools?

In Elementary school, FLSco is taught for part of the time, with the whole class, in co-teaching. The students with language needs are grouped together in a workshop which is led by the FLSco teacher. They do not “miss” any teaching. For the other FLSco teaching hours, the students leave the class during French class to take specific lessons in small groups.

In Secondary school, most of the FLSco hours are spent in the FLSco class. The students do not attend French, History-Geography nor Science of Life and Earth classes (which are classes they cannot follow without a minimum of knowledge of the language). They are then gradually reintegrated into the classroom according to their progress. The program is very flexible. The FLSco teacher can also participate in tutoring, in order to help the students follow along with their French classmates.

The students do not “miss” any teaching. Very quickly, the FLSco teacher will teach the specific vocabulary of the subjects from which the student is exempt and will address the key concepts of each subject in basic French language.

In general, the French system allows learning in the form of a loop, which means that the programs are always reviewed and the concepts are approached again the following year.

What support can we provide if the child is having difficulty with homework?

At Primary as well as Secondary level, our school offers supervised studies within the framework of the extracurricular activities or in supervised by the deans of students. We strongly recommend FLSco students to take part of it. At the same time, we also encourage families to find French tutors to help students at home, in the evening or at weekends. FLSco teachers are also available to guide families and students in this work at home.

Since they do not take certain courses (history-geography for example), how are they evaluated and what appears on the school report?

On the school report, non-assessed subjects appear in gray and the assessments are filled in by FLSco teachers. With regard to other subjects, special attention is given to these students, in mathematics for example, since French language can bring difficulties to the student in carrying out the requested exercise, for example. Bilingual accommodations, support or dictionaries allow students to be assessed on the different skills without failing because of French language.

How do the students communicate with the FLSco teachers and with all the constituencies within the school since they do not speak French?

It is very rare that the student has no common language with the teacher or the classmates. He / she speaks mostly Chinese and / or English. We always try to assign each student a tutor in his class who will be a reference classmate and who speaks a language in common with the student.
Progress in French is generally fast enough for the student to understand class rituals in French as well as school vocabulary.

What role is expected from the parents?

    Parents play an essential role in the success of the children’s learning journey. We expect parents:

    – To have a clear educational project in link with the French language at the coreof the child’s education.
    – To answer to the emails and participate in fruitful discussions with FLSco teachers.
    – To get involved in the child’s learning of French in and outside LFS.

    This involvement can be done by many means :

  • by setting up tutoring with a French speaker at home (recommended).
  • by promoting access to the French speaking environment: books and games in French at home, visits to the Alliance Française, promoting exchanges with French-speaking classmates, possible stays in a French-speaking country.
  • by explaining clearly to the child, whatever his age, the reasons that explain the choice you made for him by enrolling /her in the French system.
  • by speaking your mother language to your child. It has been proven that a child learns a second language more easily when the first language is well established. In addition, you must keep this communication between you and him, because it is through this that you will be able to assess his well-being in our school. The chlid must be able to confide in you, tell his stories, talk about his life at school, in the language of his choice. Do not hesitate to read and have your child read in their mother tongue. Do not systematically force him to communicate with you in French if that is not your language.
  • by getting involved in your child’s work: listening to him read in French, reciting a poem, going through his notebooks with him, being present when he does his homework, even if you do not master this language. He must feel that you validate this schooling.
  • by avoiding private lessons at home in other languages: if the teacher gives little or no homework, it implies that the children have learned in class. In a French class, the pupils have a sustained attention and a continuous participation is expected. A French student is expected to have an attitude of research and autonomy in his activities. The student is always active, so he may be tired at the end of the day. We therefore ask you to be vigilant when setting up private lessons at home, especially at Primary school.

How is the FLSco team trained?

All our FLSco teachers have a training and an experience of several years of teaching French as a foreign language. Once at our school, they have specific a FLSco training in the form of tutoring.

Who decides that my child will benefit from the FLSco program? How is this decision made? Is it mandatory?

The decision to enroll in the FLSco program is made by the pedagogical team, including the Languages department, with the support of the admissions, after examining the files and contacting the family at the time of enrollment. If the child is not a French-speaker, enrolling in the program is compulsory.
The price of the program is 15 000 RMB/year during two years.

What does the FLSco program represents in number of hours?

    The intensive program includes an hourly volume that varies according to the cycle or the grade: For the first year of enrollment,

  • FLSco Intensive student has a follow-up of:
  • – 8h / week in K3
    – 10h / week in elementary school (from Grade 1 to Grade 5)
    – 12h / week from Grade 6 on.

  • For the second year (and possibly the third year), the FLSco 2nd year (or 3rd year) of Intensive FLSco, the student has a follow-up of:
  • – 5h / week. in elementary school.
    – 6h to 8h / week in secondary school.

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