After finishing our grammar lesson in the morning at the EasyFrench Language School we went on to the more applied side of things. It’s still my first week on the C1 level of the intensive French immersion course for adults so I’m still getting to know the structure.
My teacher Claire handed out an article to each of the students and at once I knew I was in for a challenge as the text covered nearly the entire page. I instantly got out my highlighter and started to scan through as did the other French students, there’s no time to mess about at C1 level at the Easy French Language School so we all cracked on. The article was an argument piece by a historian who was posing that many countries, maybe even the whole world was experiencing an intellectual regression. We are all getting dumber basically was his point. He posed that paradoxically although we are making new scientific discoveries every day ignorance in general was creeping up.
He cited several statistics such as the illiteracy rate in France and that France has moved from 10th to 27th in an international classification of schooling over the past 2 decades and in the 80’s they were in the top 5. This is one of the amazing things when you start becoming more proficient in French; you can start learning about other interesting things whilst learning French in your intensive immersion course in Montpellier. Here I was learning about the education ratings of France over the past few decades whilst learning new vocabulary, expressions and grammar; it felt very enriching. The learning didn’t just stop at France though as the historian went on to say that the steady intellectual descent has affected many other countries as well. He compared the publishing rates of the Arab world now as compared to the period between the 8th and 12th centuries, he spoke of schools in Africa that teach that the world is flat and the amount of people in the United States that think the world is less than 10,000 years old. He also described the movement of people between countries, the spreading of misinformation through that caused and how this has lead to extremism and fanaticism.
Our French Lesson Became a Debating Hall
I was so interested in the subject that I almost completely forgot I was learning French! I love this about my French immersion course for adults, I was quickly picking up all kinds of information both about the language and about an important subject. Then I got to practice my debating skills too as we analysed the authors argument about what the cause of it was and what should be done about it.
He posed that it was all down to the digital/information revolution (la révolution numérique) as this had led to less and less people reading books. So, he believed the answer lied in focusing more on heritage and classic culture and getting out of the modern trends that have swept over the world in the past 30 years. It was quite a cutting piece, the author had no qualms about being forceful and as in our intensive French class we have all lived the majority of our lives post-digital revolution it made for a very interesting conversation.
I absolutely loved this debate in our French lesson and it highlighted one of my favourite aspects of the immersion course technique and the quality of the EasyFrench School’s methodology. It’s such a relevant and interesting topic not just in France but in my home country as well, the education system is always batted around like a political pin ball and I feel it’s very important. Being able to interact with deep subjects in French is a great feeling and I look forward to all of the future ones I can explore during my French language stay in Montpellier.