French is taught as a second foreign language (subsequent to the partner tongue English or German). At the beginning of grade 7, all D1 and D2 students need to choose their second foreign language, that is either French or Spanish. In order to fulfill the Abitur requirement, students have to take their second foreign language at least up to the end of grade 10 with four hours per week in grade 7 and 8 and three hours in grade 9 and 10.
At the beginning of grade 8, students have to choose an elective. Among other options, they can take a new foreign language. That means that students who chose Spanish as a second foreign language can now take French as a third foreign language and vice versa. Also students enrolled in D3 or D4 classes have the opportunity to join the French or Spanish third language courses at the beginning of grade 8.
At the end of grade 10, students who started French in grade 7 are supposed to reach the B1 level of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and to match the following global standards. The students
- can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in school, leisure, etc.
- can deal with most situations likely to arise while travelling in an area where the language is spoken.
- can produce simple connected texts on topics which are familiar or of personal interest.
- can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes and ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.
After grade 10, students can continue learning French in a Grundkurs with 3 hours per week or a Leistungskurs with 5 hours. Both courses are part of the Abitur as well as of the Diploma program and also prepare for the AP exam. They are recognized as AP honors courses. Students can take a one-year-Grundkurs and stop French after grade 11, but they also can continue until the end of grade 12. The Leistungskurs is a core part of the Abitur program and includes grade 11 and grade 12, but is also an option for Diploma students striving for excellence in French.
At the end of grade 11, students should have reached approximately the B2 level of the CEFR matching the following global standards. The students
- can understand the main ideas of complex texts on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in his/her field of specialization.
- can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party.
- can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.
At the end of grade 12, students should exceed the B2 standards and reach the C1 level in certain fields.
In order to motivate the students and to foster their proficiency in the different areas of French language and culture, the French Department offers:
- Class exchange programs in grade 9 with our partner schools in Orsay (Paris) and Saint-Brieuc (Bretagne).
- The individual exchange program “Brigitte Sauzay” for a limited number of students in grade 10 with our French partner schools. JFK students spend 8 weeks in January/February in our partner school and host their exchange partners in May/June.
- Leistungskurs trips to Paris, Brussels or Nice on a yearly basis.
- Participation in national foreign language competitions where our students often win awards.
- Organization of the French night (Soirée française) on an annual basis.
- Participation of numerous students in the DELF exams (Diplôme d’Ètudes de la Langue Française) offered by the Institut Français.
- DELF preparation activity, level B1. For more info click here.
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