Bon Appétit!

A fine French restaurant opened in Room 1 this week, complete with discerning diners, obliging waiting staff and some very promising linguists from 6PR.

Amongst the exciting experiences that the children in Form 6 have to look forward to when they visit France in May will be eating typical French evening meals at the hotel in Le Touquet. They will be encouraged to converse in French, requesting such things as more bread and a jug of water, and saying thank you when their food is served. Madame Baldwin’s lesson was all about honing those language skills and putting them into practice in an extremely fun way.

In previous lessons, the children have learnt the names of various foods in French, as well as how to express their opinion about them. For instance, they might say, with some justification, “J’adore la mousse au chocolat,” or, conversely, “Je déteste les oignons.” Last time the focus was on how you place an order in a restaurant, using phrases such as “Je voudrais” and “Vous désirez?”

This week, armed with the restaurant menus they prepared for homework, the children were able to bring all this learning together in a role play restaurant situation. Everyone took time to practise their pronunciation before Madame Baldwin introduced a basic restaurant dialogue, divided the class into groups of two or three and let them embark on their task.

The role play was enormous fun. Some children greatly embellished the original script, creating new characters and pushing themselves to include additional words and phrases, even when this made the pronunciation more challenging. Occasionally, words failed them and they had to resort to gestures and appropriate facial expressions. Your blogger knows the feeling well; when in doubt, just smile and point!

As the children performed their short role plays, the rest of the class completed a simple assessment sheet based on the focus points of the lesson. They used this to provide positive feedback for their classmates and to suggest areas for improvement next time.

It didn’t all go quite according to plan, of course. It rarely does in a busy restaurant and even sometimes in a busy classroom! James was horrified when Kayra ordered “du vin” at his restaurant, letting his cheery customer service smile slip for a moment, before he headed off to the wine cellar to find and serve the imaginary beverage.

Price was an issue in Kristiyan’s restaurant. When the bill arrived, it was packed with hidden extras and was so astronomical that poor Theo had to count out every last euro and cent to avoid having to do the washing up. At least the food was good in Kristiyan’s restaurant. At Jitya’s, however, Olivia claimed that the meal was of such poor quality it made her feel unwell. She left the premises in a hurry without offering a tip. Meanwhile, poor Thomas struggled with a pair of customers who claimed to be old ladies but who could possibly have been in disguise, as they looked remarkably like Joseph and Alex. They took an age to count out their coins, and I don’t think they left a tip either!

Before they travel to France, the children will work on applying some of this week’s vocabulary in slightly different settings, such as buying seaside souvenirs and visiting the local produce market. Madame Baldwin is sure that the shopkeepers and market traders of Le Touquet will be impressed by their language skills.

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