French In Action, as a learning device?

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Carmody
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French In Action, as a learning device?

Postby Carmody » Mon Aug 15, 2016 5:44 pm

French In Action

The goals of the course and how successful it was.

I am almost at the end of this 52 class course and am interested to hear how successful it was for others.

This language course seems to have multiple goals:
1. To “provide the equivalent of two years of instruction (elementary and intermediate French) at the college and university level.”
2. To teach not just the language but also the geography, culture, and customs of France.
3. To produce an informative text book…
French in Action A Beginning Course in Language and Culture
to go along with the 52 videos that are available free to anyone at:
https://www.learner.org/resources/series83.html

I have found it interesting but am not sure if the absence of the teaching of any grammar should be a concern.

Is there anyone out there who finished the course and has views on it? Are there better methodologies out there?

My wife and I were at a library used book sale over the weekend and I picked up the hard back textbook noted above (for $1.50) and find it to be quite good.

Major edit here:
Pages viii-ix are very important. They are part of the Foreword to the book by Laurence Wylie, a very highly respected Harvard scholar of the time; who I believe is now deceased. They deal with non verbal communication between the French people that is not covered in the FIA class work anywhere. I am not able to copy the two very large specific pages here nor do I know a source for pointing to it, but Laurence Wylie discusses his topic in other books and I am interested to learn more.

If anyone knows how to access those two pages to share with the Forum I would love to learn.
Last edited by Carmody on Mon Aug 15, 2016 11:15 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: French In Action, as a learning device?

Postby Stefan » Mon Aug 15, 2016 7:43 pm

Speaking of FIA, here's a study on grammar results for course students:

http://www.jstor.org/stable/395595

Did you use all the course components (textbook, workbook, study guide, audio, video)?

http://archive.yalebooks.com/fia/

Thoughts on your level after completing the course and if there's anything lacking in the course - besides a grammar book? I've mostly heard good things about the course but I found the first episode to be slow/boring. Decided to put my french on hold so I didn't give it a fair chance. Will give it a new attempt later on.
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Re: French In Action, as a learning device?

Postby Carmody » Mon Aug 15, 2016 8:36 pm

Stefan

Thanks for the jstor link re the grammar survey. Apparently I am not the only one with the question re grammar. Looks as if the results were somewhat nebulous.

The course components that I used were the videos and the textbook.

When you said:
Decided to put my french on hold so I didn't give it a fair chance.
That sounds excellent. Timing is everything; seriously. It is important to not come to it as a beginner but with some experience behind you. It says it is for total beginners but it is not.
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Re: French In Action, as a learning device?

Postby aokoye » Mon Aug 15, 2016 9:00 pm

Carmody wrote:It says it is for total beginners but it is not.

Could the issue have been that you weren't taking classes and it was designed with a classroom environment in mind? I mean it looks like the grammar issue comes up regardless of whether or not you're taking classes using the text, but I could see the text being harder to work with outside of a class. It also probably doesn't help that you're using the program without the workbook, audio, and study guide. Having seen the study guide and workbook in person they are fairly hefty books.
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Re: French In Action, as a learning device?

Postby Fortheo » Mon Aug 15, 2016 9:17 pm

"I have found it interesting but am not sure if the absence of the teaching of any grammar should be a concern."

If you came to this conclusion, then I'm under the impression that you didn't use the the two workbooks and the vast amount of accompanying audio; those are two big workbooks that focus a lot on grammar. If you did use those books and found that it was still lacking in grammar, then all I can suggest is working with other grammar books for practice, but as a whole I found FIA (the whole course, not just the videos and dialogues) to be one of the best language courses I've ever encountered. With that said, it's expansiveness is truly great, but the sheer size of the course is also very intimidating, which is why I think a lot of people only use the videos and get their grammar work in from other books.


Peter M seems to have spent a lot more time with that course than most people I know, so I'm sure if he see's this thread that he'll stop by and leave some input.
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Re: French In Action, as a learning device?

Postby tomgosse » Mon Aug 15, 2016 10:55 pm

As others have written, the "meat" of the course is in the study guide, workbooks, and audio (which is not the same as the audio from the tv show). Start with the study guide, which tells you what to read, watch, or listen to. The exercises in the workbook are long and intense. And that is one of the reasons I never finish the course. There is no way that I could finish more than one lesson a week. In fact, it usually took two weeks to finish a lesson. As the expression goes, your mileage may vary. When I feel a bit better I hope to start over again.
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Re: French In Action, as a learning device?

Postby Carmody » Mon Aug 15, 2016 10:57 pm

I believe Fortheo, aokoye, and Tom are probably correct.

Please note my edit in the OP. I would love to hear comments from people who have read those 2 pages in the Foreward. They are important.
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Re: French In Action, as a learning device?

Postby tomgosse » Mon Aug 15, 2016 11:35 pm

Carmody wrote:I believe Fortheo, aokoye, and Tom are probably correct.

Please note my edit in the OP. I would love to hear comments from people who have read those 2 pages in the Foreward. They are important.

I have the third edition and cannot find a forward by Laurence Wylie.


Edit: It seems that his name is on the cover first and second editions of FIA, but I cannot find a preview of those in Amazon. :(
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Re: French In Action, as a learning device?

Postby Carmody » Tue Aug 16, 2016 1:15 am

Tom, thanks for trying; most grateful.

Mine is Copyright 1987, but doesn't say 1st, 2nd, or 3rd edition. The Foreward runs 10 pages.
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Re: French In Action, as a learning device?

Postby Carmody » Tue Aug 16, 2016 1:28 am

I noted that the audio
French in Action Digital Audio Program, Part 1: Second Edition (Yale Language Series)
costs $188.13 - $200.00.

Has anyone actually bought it?

I simply can't afford that.
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