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The unit is entitled, "Le Marathon du Médoc." Students follow the route of the 2012 "Marathon du Médoc" bicycle race. They will research and investigate information about the cities and villages along the course, including traditions and food. The project involves students investigating and acquiring images and data on the villages along the course. Student groups act as travel agencies that capture the 'spirit' of these villages to entice customers from all over France to attend the event as a participant or spectator. Students create a tourist brochure as a tool for their oral presentation. Therefore, students will be in contact with French companies and agencies, and they will use the web and materials to achieve the project (Baglieto, 2011).
This unit is designed to give students a taste for communicating graphically and textually. It involves individual class work and group work that involves problem solving. Students will learn how to create layouts and attractive advertising. The methods of teaching utilised will be revolving around Communicative Language Teaching and using Technology as a Facilitator (integrating Information Communication Technology). The Senior Syllabus acts as a guide to incorporate mandatory language functions and grammar into lessons. Basic graphical and design processes and principles will be introduced with practical application tasks.
Students have developed intermediate communicative skills in French through exposure to a range of speakers and a range of situations. Most students willingly interact with others in French at an intermediate level. They have acquired competent skills in writing and reading, and developed skills to respond appropriately in different settings.
What students will know
South West of France culture and geography
Planning travel arrangements in France
Develop and utilise their computer skills
Presenting information creatively using graphics and texts
Through an oral presentation of their tourist brochure, students will be assessed on how they convey meaning (productive communication) through speaking and writing. Additionally they will be assessed on their creativity and presentation skills.
Activities & Syllabus
Senior Syllabus - French (Queensland Studies Authorities, 2008)
The project is introduced, groups are formed and students will discuss and divide the tasks.
Students are provided with opportunities to manage their own learning. Evaluating their strengths and weaknesses.
The students communicate with tourism offices in France.
Students write to express information and ideas. Students communicate through e-mails. Writing letters and sending emails to the tourist office asking for brochures.
Students gather information in the library, on the Internet, and in travel brochures.
Students comprehend meaning in a range of situations and text types. Students collect information from the media. Students analyse and organise information required for the task.
Groups organize and synthesize their acquired data.
Students generate plans and sequence main information to be obtained. Provides opportunities for a mix of multilevel group work.
Students create/design brochures. Each group creates a brochure (four A4 pages minimum).
Students prepare an advertisement and write a detailed itinerary. Reading and writing pamphlets and brochures.
Students present their brochures in French
Students give an oral/multimedia presentation and respond to stimuli such as pictures, maps and brochures. Small group discussion.
This cultural unit is introduced when students have acquired a wide range of vocabulary relevant to the theme of leisure, recreation and human creativity. This allows students to be prepared for the tasks at hand. Students have two French classes per week. The eight week unit is structured as such:
Introduce the project. Teacher gets groups organised equally according to skill levels. Students divide tasks between team members and start brainstorming.
Students write to tourism bureaus (e-mail finished in class/as homework). Students work on authentic materials distributed and shared around the class.
Functions: Asking about and describing places
Grammar: Superlatives and demonstratives
Students continue gathering information via library, World Wide Web, brochures.
Functions: Describing people, activities and experiences
Grammar: Comparative adverbs, adverbial phrases (place, time, degree)
Students work in groups, using Microsoft software, to sort and sift information.
Functions: Giving time, cost and directions
Grammar: Articles and expressions of quantity and place
Student work on brochure
Functions: Expressing opinions, preferences, likes/dislikes
Grammar: Conjunctions and pronouns
Students put brochure pages together and edit pages and layout design.
Functions: Giving advice, offering goods and services
Grammar: Imperative mood
Students prepare and practice oral presentation. Brochure is finalised.
Functions: Suggesting and negotiating
Grammar: Tense (after 'si') and present participle (en chantant)
Oral presentations of brochures: 15 minutes per group (approx. 9 groups).
Tools & School Resources
Air France. (2012). Air France. [Online]. Available: http://www.airfrance.fr/.
BBC Sport. (2012). Running. [Online]. Available: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/running/
Comité Régional de Tourisme d'Aquitaine. (2012). Site officiel du tourisme en Aquitaine. [Online]. Available: http://www.tourisme-aquitaine.fr/en/
ESPN.Com, (2012). Marathon du Medoc. [Online]. Available: http://search.espn.go.com/medoc-trail-marathon/
Fédération Nationale des Offices de Tourisme de France. (2012). Le Jour, la Nuit, Destination France. [Online]. Available: http://www.tourisme.fr/us/index.htm.
France This Way. (2012). Food of France, a Regional Guide. [Online]. Available: http://www.francethisway.com/frenchrecipes/foodinfrance.php
France Way: Voilà la France. (2012). Voilà la France. [Online]. Available: http://www.franceway.com/.
Runners World. (2012). Marathon du Medoc. [Online]. Available: http://www.runnersworld.co.uk/event-editorial/marathon-du-medoc-a-marathon-drinking-session/3716.html
Sncf.com. (2012). SNCF. [Online]. Available: http://www.sncf.fr.
Société du Marathon du Médoc. (2012). Le Marathon du Médoc Official Website. [Online]. Available: http://www.marathondumedoc.com/
Microsoft Office Suite including PowerPoint, Word and Publisher
Adobe CS5 Suite including Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator
Desktops and Laptop computers
SMART Board/Magic Board
Magazines, brochures, posters
Diverse software programs are available at the school. The LOTE department includes a student computer lab of 15 computers. The unit can be accomplished with two students working on each computer. More computers would mean better a division of tasks during the program.
Information technology was essential during this unit. The unit has a particular focus on communication via emails with companies and agencies overseas, so the network available at the school provides a great advantage. Additionally, the use of design and layout software allows students to create very professional looking brochures.
The information acquired through the internet using Google and Yahoo search engines is invaluable to the project. Student would not otherwise be able to find current information, images and articles about the Marathon du Médoc, French culture, maps and images. The use of technology is crucial for students because of the required investigation and research on maps, itineraries and the unique aspects of each village on the course.
The school is a co-educational school in a Brisbane suburb of medium socio-economic status. The 28 students in this class have worked together for three years. There are 16 girls and 14 boys, most are comfortable working in teams (extraverted personalities), but a couple of students are more shy and reserved (introverted personalities). Team/group work is productive when students are engaged with the topic. During group work, each group has at least one student that possesses extended technology knowledge and one student that is particularly skilled in French. All students are motivated to succeed in this French class and are highly involved in choosing and negotiating the curriculum. They are enthusiastic about communicative language teaching and determined to succeed in most in-class tasks. Students are keen to help each other, and provide peer to peer teaching. Students answer each other's questions and providing feedback and advice, whilst respecting each other's work. Students are aware of an important class rule: ask three other students before asking the teacher, particularly during intensive lessons.
The class shows great diversity in ability levels and learning styles amongst students. The unit structure allows students to use different approaches to accomplish the tasks and to manage their time according to their needs. Students are able to work individually to begin with and then in groups (maximum of three students per group). Students are held accountable for their part of the project and each student is responsible for contributing to the group.
Communicative Language Teaching (Richards, 2006)
Developing fluency in French is the main goal of this unit. The Push for Authenticity with the use of authentic resources such as magazines, brochures and official French websites provides students with cultural information and exposure to real language. Furthermore, students are developing relationships with the world outside the classroom by communicating directly with agencies in France. In the area of Task-Based Instruction (Willis, 1996), students are required to progress through the three steps of the task cycle: task, planning and reporting. The Marathon du Médoc unit requires students to brainstorm and divide the task, investigate and research, and finally report through a brochure and oral presentation. Finally, the unit integrates the Ten Core Assumptions of Current Communicative Language Teaching, particularly:
Meaningful communication results from students processing content that is relevant, purposeful, interesting, and engaging.
Successful language learning involves effective learning and communication strategies.
The role of the teacher in the language classroom is that of a facilitator, who creates a classroom climate conducive to language learning and provides opportunities for students to use and practice the language and to reflect on language use and language learning.
Technology as Facilitator of Quality Education Model (Callahan, 2001)
There are many components of the Technology as Facilitator of Quality Education Model. The most obvious in terms of this unit would be the use of Technology. Students are encouraged to operate computers and use appropriate computer terminology. The teacher encourages the use of World Wide Web sources and using Internet communication systems to e-mail tourism offices and companies in France. Additionally, student groups work together on multimedia presentation software in the classroom, on the school's network, and in their own time at home. In the area of Principles of Learning, the students are encouraged to work with each other and with the teacher. They are giving and receiving feedback. The settings involved are individual work on the computer, and team work particularly in design and hands-on activities. All students show active involvement. When examining the Information Processing, students use books, travel brochures and sources from the World Wide Web. They search the sources to gather information. In their groups, they organize, analyze, apply and, finally, present their findings using software and modern hardware (screen projectors, SMART/Magic boards).
Assessment Sheet - Brochure and Oral Presentation
The Marathon du Médoc is the longest marathon of France, with a course of 45km. It takes place in early September in the South West of France, in the Aquitaine. Your group is a travel agency that promotes the Marathon du Médoc event in France and Europe. Each group member is to be assigned a task. Use your creativity to produce advertising materials encouraging customers to register for the event as a participant or as a spectator.
Your group is required to act as a professional promoter. To achieve the task, you will need to design and print a travel brochure. Each group member is to work on a specific element of the brochure. The following elements are the minimum requirements:
Accommodation arrangements: hotels, motels, hostels and camping grounds
History and cultural specifics of each city/village along the course.
Determine what makes the race so special compared to other sporting events.
Create a program/timeline of the event linked to the provided map of the course.
Provide information on how to register for the event.
Divide the tasks efficiently between members of your group.
Make use of resources provided: website links and materials.
Acquire as many images, videos, and texts as resources.
Design and print brochures (enough for all groups) using PowerPoint, Publisher, or the Adobe Suite.
Present your brochure in French. Each person must have a part in the presentation.
Brochures, guides and pamphlets
Road maps of France
Evaluation Criteria (Queensland Studies Authorities, 2008).
Wide range of vocabulary and grammar used effectively
Structure of ideas and information
Range of cohesive devices
Appropriate register: intonation, pronunciation and enthusiasm
Professionalism as a travel agency
Participation of group members
Appropriate humour and engagement from the class
Topic and theme clearly indicated
Wide range of vocabulary and grammar used effectively
Register is appropriate and consistent
Information is relevant and used accurately
Design and creativity of the brochure
Professionalism of the product
Use of the brochure during the presentation
Variety of sources used
Relevant sources used
Authentic sources and French contacts
France is a country that is rich in history and in culture, and geographically diverse. During this project, you were able to tour around the South West of France by following the Marathon du Médoc event. On your next trip to France, you will have a good understanding of which cities and regions you would like to visit. The language tools and skills acquired during this unit will come in handy during your travel arrangements and when communicating with French people.