Academics: Majors and Programs

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Spelman College Graduates with President Beverly Daniel Tatum

Parlez-vous Francais? (continued)

If the answer to that question is “oui,” “un peu” or even “non,” Spelman’s French program can do more than simply satisfy a foreign language requirement.  It can also expand reach to provide global thinking and access to opportunities at home and abroad.

Jacqueline Edwards, a native of France, has been teaching French at Spelman for 30 years.  While only a handful of students major or minor in French each year, studying about French literature and culture, dozens more take classes to learn the language. Each year, about 90 freshmen take the French placement exam to determine course-level placement.

Acting French

Students who take core classes study the vocabulary and grammar to learn to speak as much of the language as possible. As part of their course work, students must attend labs, watch at least two movies in French, and participate in skits with dialogue using French vocabulary.

“Sometimes I adjust the class to the number of students I have,” says Edwards. “We do a lot of exercises in class because I think if they work together with a partner, it’s more enjoyable and productive because they can explain when one understands and the other does not. We have learned to be flexible and that you don’t always do the same thing twice.”

Edwards says many science majors like to combine foreign language with their studies, much like the premed student who plans to go into the dentistry field and possibly do some work in Africa.