French Level One

Course Length: Full academic year (30 weeks)
This Year's ScheduleClick here to view

Who Is French Level One For?

French Level One is for complete beginners and anyone who cannot hold a basic, unplanned conversation, whose vocabulary is <500 words or who cannot reliably use verbs in the present tense. It is ideally suited to children aged 12 to 16 who are keen to learn to speak French in real life, and who are willing to put in plenty of practice. The CEFR (DELF) equivalent level is A1.

An evaluation paper is available for students to take if you are not sure whether the Level One or Level Two course would suit them. If you think they may be suited to the Level Three course, please request an appointment to discuss it with the teacher by emailing dreamingspireshomelearning<at>gmail<dot>com.

Aims of the Course

Dreaming Spires French courses all have two goals at their heart: to produce independent, delight-led language learners; and to inspire and equip students to speak French fluently and confidently, using the language in real life and enjoying it. Everything we do in the language courses works towards the fulfillment of these goals. We don't treat languages as school subjects to be “taken” but as real, living languages to be spoken and lived. Students are encouraged to incorporate their new language increasingly into their daily lives and to engage with authentic texts and other resources from the Francophone world.

Speaking and listening therefore feature prominently in a diverse range of learning activities. The courses do not shy away from grammar and linguistics, but instead of being rote-learning, these take a methodical and practical approach to mastering the elements of French.

French Level One builds students’ knowledge of the basics of the language methodically and thoroughly and it trains students in the habits of language learning that will last a lifetime. Right from the beginning of the first course, students will need to spend a few hours a week reading French texts, building their vocabulary, practicing their language skills, using drills to improve their fluency, studying and asking questions of the language. The vast majority of students succeed at this and the results are excellent. All a student needs is the desire to learn and the discipline to do frequent practice.

Conversation Add-On Option

The conversation session add-on for Level One courses involves listening activities, one-to-one conversation, group discussions, reading aloud with pronunciation feedback and word games and challenges in French. It is ideal for students who enjoy participation and conversation, and gives these students a great boost towards fluency in the spoken language.

The language courses are all socially interactive, and the conversation add-on is an especially social element. It is highly recommended to those who wish to make the most of the class setting to practice using the language in a safe and encouraging environment.

How It Supports Your Child's Education

For US students, this course provides one high school credit in a language. For UK students, successfully completing both this course and French Level Two will provide the linguistic understanding and ability necessary to take a French GCSE or IGCSE exam and to achieve a very good grade, although the courses do not teach to any particular exam. Separate exam preparation will be needed in addition to the courses.

Who Teaches French Level One?

Joel Baker, known to students as Maestro B or Maître B, lives in Somerset, England with his five children whom he has been educating at home for the last 14 years. He is a linguist with a passion for delight-led learning, specialising in Romance languages, speaking and teaching French, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian. After completing his degree in Spanish and Portuguese at King’s College London in 2006, he trained as a secondary school teacher of French and Spanish, taught at a prep school in Dorset, was employed as a youth worker and ran café language classes for adults for several years. He joined Dreaming Spires in 2017 and currently teaches French 1, 2 & 3 and Spanish 1, 2 & 3, as well as IGCSE crammer courses in French and Spanish. Outside Dreaming Spires, Joel gives private tuition and coaching, including for the US college AP exams, and he conducts GCSE speaking exams at an international school. He also works as a barista-missionary in a nearby Christian café project!
See all courses taught by Joel