Parent Panel: Supporting Non-Native Speakers in French Dual Language Immersions programs

Distance learning is difficult, but there's an extra layer of complexity when our students are non-native speakers in a dual immersion program. In this panel, we learned from parents who have navigated distance learning while supporting their students in their learning. We also heard from school principals and teachers who have supported families in remote and hybrid learning during the pandemic.


Special thanks to the parents and educators who participated as panelists: Allison Fortin, Marie Bouteillon, Crystal Cap, Cody Chundley, Virgil de Voldere, Dr. Vanessa Handal Ghenania, Marine Havel, Dr. Evelyn Lolis, Sari Sherwood, Agnes Bdiaye Tounkara, Erica Young, Brian Zager. Moderator: Dr. Fabrice Jaumont

Resources and Suggestions Shared by Panelists

Allison Fortin:  I am a parent of 3 in a dual language program. You can help your kids learn the language by watching their favorite shows that they normally watch in English, but watch it in French. You can watch Netflix in French and change the default language to French.You can change the language to French on most DVDs. You can also search Hulu and Amazon for French language videos.

Marine Havel: You're right Allison! Let's make French fun! If parents want to support their children to go further, you can use these online tools for independent progressive personalized work at home: 

  • Storyplay'r (rallye lecture) for Pre-k and Elementary (reading and comprehension). Their grandparents can even register their voice reading the stories and teachers can use storyplay'r to record their voice while watching the book
  • for elementary children (personalized progression - a dashboard for teachers with progression for each student)
  • Projet Voltaire for high schoolers and FLE (grammaire, orthographe, conjugaison) 
  • Kahoot (tons of French quizzes there) 
  • And good news: Google Meet has its own breakout rooms since last month!
  • 1jour1actu

Erica Young: Here is my starter list of phrases.

Marie Bouteillon: La main à la pâte, Teachers Pay Teachers provides some activities in STEM,  Corneille

Dr. Vanessa Handal Ghenania: First and foremost: Stage your in-house learning center and explain to your child: While we cannot go to school for a while, let us bring school home. It is still home but it is really school!

  1.  Creating centers in the house LABELED IN FRENCH VISUALS IS SO IMPORTANT!
  2.  La maitresse part en live
  3. Set a table with a few puzzles
  4. Set a block area
  5. Set a drawing area (crayons) or paint with parent supervision (color pictures by themes with the name of the picture in French so both parents and students can learn together)
  6. Tracing area
  7. Reading area
  8. Get basic arts & crafts materials: construction paper, paper plates, glue sticks, age appropriate scissors, stickers, stamps
  9. Launch ZOOM playdates with children in the class: Helps socialize and learn language
  10. Ask the French teacher to record herself/himself doing a readaloud which you can play many times. They will connect with the teacher and with the book and the language. The teacher can also provide comprehension questions in French and English for you to work on with your child.
  11. Display the daily routine in a visible place at home (ex: On the fridge) that includes the remote sessions (visuals for those who cannot read)
  12. Establish rules and role models: Like in the real school, the children must be properly dressed for class, no eating, no playing with any type of toy or device during the lessons, and focus and follow the teacher’s direction
  13. Short screen time will be allowed for educational purposes (YouTube with sing-alongs and visuals for parents and kids) It is OK to watch “Les Titounis” in French! They usually have the words on the screen which can help parents as well. 

Dr. Evelyn Lolis : Social interactions are critical! Children learn best from peers. Music!!!! Repetition goes a long way. School programming to create hubs for after-school interactions; students remain together to limit cross-class contaminations. Online adaptive programs Duo Lingo, Lalilo, Hello World. Transference of concepts –investigative work, challenge themselves. There are a plethora of online options that are engaging and interactive.

Brian Zager

Sari Sherwood: Our PTA organizes an international book fair, which is a great opportunity to get target language books.

Agnès Ndiaye Tounkara:

Virgil de Voldere:

Dr. Fabrice Jaumont:

This panel was hosted on November 15, 2020 as part of the French Embassy's Online professional development training program. More information about the Nov 14-15 professional development webinars here.