French is in the air at Monterey Centre

With the rapid approach of fall, French is in the air at Monterey Recreation

Claire Carlin

Claire Carlin

With the rapid approach of fall, French is in the air at Monterey Recreation.

Well, French, Spanish and a plethora of other programs that kick off this month at the Oak Bay centre for those aged 50 and older.

French, however, has the centre’s co-ordinator intrigued as one program that is more structured than she expected.

“There is a lot of enthusiasm for the language and it is Canada’s second official language,” said Lesley Cobus, Monterey co-ordinator. “I didn’t realize there was structure to it … and it’s recognized internationally.”

Alliance Francaise offers ‘high intermediate’ and ‘advanced conversation’ at Monterey, with other levels available at Gordon Head Rec Centre in Saanich and Cook Street Village Activity Centre in Victoria.

“It started in Europe but it’s internationally recognized,” said president Claire Carlin, who lives in Oak Bay. “It’s really about the quality of instruction.”

With a maximum 15 students in the classes at Monterey, the levels of language understanding vary and a good instructor will sort out what each student needs and find a way to deliver to those requirements, she said.

“People come in at all different levels. Both classes are for those who have some fluency but need some improvement,” said Carlin, who retired from the University of Victoria June 30 after teaching in the French Department for 26 years.

“A lot of learners fare better with an instructor who knows what techniques work best with second-language learners,” she said.  “We have certified teachers who know the best techniques for teaching a second language.”

A fun DVD, entailed in the course textbook, to take home and enjoy just completes the experience. It provides the opportunity to see French “in action, in a way you understand because it’s pitched to your level.”

Alliance Française organizes its teaching on modern teaching methods and on the Common European Framework for Languages, a standard reference adopted by dozens of educational systems worldwide.

Outside of recreation centre courses, the Alliance also offers its members hands-on programs such as a book club and breakfast in French at Nar Café Bistro.

“You would be surprised what a big Francophone community there is in Victoria,” Carlin said.

Visit afvictoria.ca online for more on the Alliance Francaise. To learn more about French courses offered at Monterey, call 250-370-7300 or visit at 1442 Monterey Ave.