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Learning French in France Whilst Improving Your Critical Thinking of Media

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Learning French in France Whilst Improving Your Critical Thinking of Media

I have spoken a few times about the topical discussions that take place on my intensive French immersion course for adults at the Easy French Immersion School in Montpellier. I am hoping to study politics next year at university and having the opportunity to discuss subjects at the heart of French culture and engage in debates that permeate the whole of France is extremely exciting for me. When they are debates that extend past the French territories and involve the entire world it is even more stimulating.

A phrase that most of us have heard over the past couple of years and one I have heard more and more since I have been learning French in France is ‘fake news’. It has been both the source of a lot of humour and huge concern. In the UK, there was even a game show based on the idea where celebrities competed in various tasks where they had to decipher real news from fake news. Although they were aiming for the lighter side of the phenomena it did highlight how hard it is to distinguish fact from farcical fiction. On the other hand, some of the biggest tech companies are establishing fact-checking processes to validate information published on their platforms.

You Learn More Than French on This Intensive Course

Media literacy is the ability to access analyse and evaluate various forms of media and be able to understand the areas where there is a risk of being misled. This was the topic at the heart of today’s lesson on my intensive French language course for adults. As soon as the sheets were handed out I knew it would an interesting one. The article at the heart of our discussion was discussing how the recent attacks on the media by several people in positions of power had focussed the spotlight on the discussion and people were asking questions about what should be taught in schools to equip people with the skills to be discerning consumers of media.

We got into a very interesting discussion about why this was important which led to the us talking about the importance of the press and other media in democracies. Needless to say,
it was a very heavy discussion but this led us to explore areas of vocabulary that few of us had come across before. I remember I listened to a French political podcast after the class and I found it a lot easier to follow thanks to the vocabulary we learned in this class.

Then we went on to analyse the changes to media use since the information revolution. All these grand ideas and far reaching developments were obviously fairly challenging. Our skills
were really pushed in this intensive French lesson; we had to remain agile and express arguments clearly whilst being careful not to talk ourselves into corners. It was very challenging but extremely rewarding. We got to hear everyone’s point of view and trade stories from each other’s countries as well, there wasn’t a nationality out of our French class that wasn’t affected by this issue.

One of the most interesting things in the article we were working from was that Finnish authorities had begun to introduce media literacy from an early age and it was seeming to
have positive affects; predominantly on citizens’ social awareness and their democracy.

This was just absolutely fascinating and the vast majority of us in my intensive French immersion class were quite convinced of the idea, with certain conditions of course. This is
one of the great things about the immersion courses at the EasyFrench Language School in Montpellier; they make the language and the topics they use to teach it current and introduce you to new ideas but with a critical perspective.