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High School French, Bay Port High School

11 Sep 2015


Our Bay Port High School students who have completed our International Baccalaureate French program have performed well on both the IB exams and their college French placement exams. When they continue their French in college, they do well, and many continue to complete a minor or major in French. Our IB French students have studied themes of cultural diversity, leisure, health, cultural diversity, social relationships, global Issues, and communication and media. They have the tools to converse on a variety of subjects.

The problem that we face is that when we travel with students to a French speaking country, we notice that most students are afraid to use their French, and many do not try. When we host French students here, we find the same results. The majority of our students do not participate in our traveling or hosting opportunities. Students are anxious about using their skills with native speakers. When polling seniors who were studying French during the 2014-2015 school year whether they would be interested in studying abroad when in college, only 2 of 23 said they plan to do this. When asked why not study abroad most responses were based on fear, and a few were based on choice of major, time, and money.

During the IB year 1 class, students in their junior year make a transition to speaking mostly French in class. By the end of their junior year, most of the students are happy with their progress and feel that they can use their French to negotiate most situations. For the most part, students in IB year 1 are only speaking French with the teacher and the other students in class. We would like to have the IB year 2 class move to speaking French with native speakers, of which are rare in the Green Bay, WI area. The French department is working towards speaking 90% French in all levels, and including native speakers is essential.

Our students speak French with each other and with their French teacher; however the fear factor is preventing them from improving their speaking ability and from opportunities in life. We need to address this fear.

TalkAbroad Implementation

TalkAbroad will be incorporated into the IB French year 2 curriculum in order for students to have meaningful conversation regarding five of the IB themes, one theme per Talkabroad conversation: leisure, social relationships, culture and traditions, global issues, and communication and media. The first three themes have been studied in IB French year 1, so the TalkAbroad conversation theme will be a review. TalkAbroad will be included 15% into the semester grade for each student.

Steps for each conversation:


Results were excellent and the new curriuclum will be implemented in the future. Below are a variety of comments made by students after using TalkAbroad

How did you benefit from doing TalkAbroad?

If you were to be talking with a French teacher who doesn’t know about TalkAbroad, what would you tell him/her?

What advice do you have for future high school students who will be using TalkAbroad?

Project Lead

Rachelle Schuster, Bay Port High School