Personalized questions in French: l’étoile du jour.

This morning, I was reading the Active learner blog post about “Café y conversación” and it inspired me to share about an authentic conversation I had last week with my French students. As mentioned in the post: “When we have authentic conversation about topics that students want to talk about, they ask better questions and learn at a higher level.“And this is exactly what I experienced!

So last week, I decided to ask my girls personalized questions.

Personalized Questions and Answers, also known as PQA are an essential part of the TPRS method, as they help the teacher come up with compelling stories. Depending on the responses from the students, these questions might lead into a scene or skit often referred to as extended PQA.

There are many resources online created by wonderful teachers and I translated the document in Spanish made by Kara Jacobs:“La Estrella del Día” to help me come up with interesting questions. And indeed we had an authentic conversation going on! I felt that my girls were having fun, although they are quite shy. Since they are in grade 8, many structures were above their level like the use of the conditional tense and if clauses. But I made sure to translate the more complex structures, to check comprehension and to provide as many spoken repetitions of the new structures in context as possible.

My boy number 3 who is 4 years old joined in the conversation and I asked him the same questions I asked the girls such as “De quoi as-tu peur? = What are you afraid of?”, he answered “j’ai peur du loup = I am afraid of of the wolf” which introduced new vocabulary and at the same time led to more repetition. The girls were eager to listen to my son because they thought he was so cute and funny! He also said he would buy three bins if he had a million dollars, which of course was hilarious. I think that the girls now know how to say “bin” in French!

I will now use the information I got about my students to ask stories and I will continue to ask and review those questions every week. Not only does it provide comprehensible input and supported output, it is also a good practice for their IGCSE oral examinations in grade 10.

You can find and download the document entitled “L’étoile du jour” here.

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