French - Term 1, 2020

Profile of Guillaume Charton, French National Language Advisor

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Tell us a bit about yourself and your hobbies

I consider myself a Freewi (a breed between French and Kiwi) with (almost) as much time in Aotearoa New Zealand as in France. Having recently joined up the most ‘unexclusive’ club of parenthood my hobbies have somehow slightly changed (BC - Before Children) however, at times, I still find myself hanging around on a rope on a cliff or scrambling the mountains around Tāhuna Queenstown.

How long have you been living in New Zealand and what made you move here?

I moved to the land of the long white cloud looking for a place that, at the time, could combine my passion for mountaineering and earthquakes. An opportunity to work on a scholarship with Canterbury University and the Earthquake Commission was too good to be true and I moved to Christchurch from England at the age of 22. After three years of studying and teaching foundation students, I came to realise quite organically, that I had a much stronger affiliation with the world of teaching and learning. I then decided to head a few hundred metres away from my office to Teachers College to fulfil my thirst! Since then I’ve never looked back and in fact always looked forward to teaching and realised that I was learning twice more than expecting.

What interests you about education? 

Two major aspects of education keep me on my toes:

  • The human side of the vocation: dealing with people, with who they are and us as teachers trying to bring a positive piece to their puzzle by believing in their own potential.
  • The fact that the learning process never stops, and because of its dynamic and organic aspect the journey is challenging and rewarding, and so there is never a dull moment…a very exciting process!

You are a teacher, what have some of your highlights in the classroom been?

Seeing my students having fun playing with the language while developing greater confidence. My biggest reward is with students who realise the potential of learning a language filling a void that they did not know existed…very cliché but so true. I get a buzz from those who have arrived at the start of the year in the French classroom with no aspirations and quite a fixed mindset for languages and leaving the classroom wanting more. 

Who or what pedagogy has influenced you in your career and why?

A mosaic of people and pedagogies have influenced my career from my fellow colleagues at my previous schools and those in Future Learning Solutions. The most striking educational gurus that had some positive impact on my journey and my pedagogy were Carol Dweck and her Growth Mindset, Rod Ellis regarding language teaching strategies, and Nathan Wallis and his research on the developing brain.

What experience do you bring to this job? 

  • 15 years of ‘learning’ as an educator and sharing this learning-to-teach journey with other teachers but also trying to share among teachers in New Zealand the excellent teaching practices that are taking place all around Aotearoa.
  • Strategies that I have used to grow languages in my previous school and to engage all students using a wide array of strategies. 
  • My passion for technology as a powerful tool to enhance learning as long as we know how to master it as opposed to being mastered by it.

What is an achievement that you are most proud of in your career?

Witnessing students achieving their own potential and them flying away with their own wings literally or meaningfully speaking. Another achievement that I am proud is to have been able to grow languages in the school where I was a Head of Learning Area which has now doubled the number of languages on offer (from three to six).

What excites you most about this job and what do you hope to achieve during your time as French NLA? 

  • Meeting the many talented teachers, learning from them to later share this learning with other teachers.
  • Supporting teachers and having a positive influence/impact on them
  • Revitalizing learning French and its culture in New Zealand
  • Bringing teachers together for the same reason: engaging students to see them achieving and loving the French language and culture. 

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DELF (Diplôme d'Etudes en Langue Française)  

The DELF is the only official certifications of French-language abilities for non-native speakers. Administered by France’s Ministry of Education and covers all levels in French and there are many reasons for students to gain this certification:

  • International recognition of French proficiency
  • Life-long certification
  • A testimonial to one's success in learning French
  • Advantages for postsecondary education
  • Enhances one's resume

This year the DELF Scolaire will take place on Saturday 29 August. In May teachers should gage interest with their students and enrol them in June. 

For more information:

There are available sessions to become an examiner / marker for the DELF:

Read French magazines and newspapers thanks to

Le Francais Dans Le Monde ( ) features the latest news, anecdotes about teaching and learning French. In the 'fiches pedagogiques' (last pages) activities can be used in and outside of class.

The latest FDLM is dedicated to La Francophonie:  Read here

50th Anniversary of La Francophonie

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20 March 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of La Francophonie!

The four missions of La Francophonie are to:

  • promote the French language, and cultural and linguistic diversity
  • promote peace, democracy and human rights;
  • support education, training, higher education and research; and
  • develop co-operation aimed at supporting sustainable development

Special attention is paid to women and youth, as well as access to information and communication technologies.

Did you know that:

  • La Francophonie was created in 1970 in Niamey
  • 88 countries are part of La Francophonie
  • There are 300 million French speakers in the world
  • French is one of the only languages formally spoken on all 5 continents

A video introducing La Francophonie is on Youtube:

This is a great opportunity to celebrate French and how it is used across the world and there is a plethora of resources online to use with students of all ages.
TV5 Monde has more than 50 different resources for A1 to B2 level students which can be easily reached via:

TES features easy-to-use documents:

Education Perfect lists of words can be found by doing a content search ‘francophonie’:

2020 French Film Festival

Trois, deux, un…action! From 12 March until 8 April the French Film Festival will feature in 22 different cinemas from Kerikeri all the way down to Dunedin.

With a line up of 30 excellent movies this year’s festival is guaranteed to be a success and will suit everyone. By going through the trailers of each of the selected movies you will quickly realise the high quality of the selection.

Once again the Alliance Francaise of Wellington and Christchurch worked on producing pedagogical activities so that schools are able to prepare students they wish to take to watch Les Hirondelles De Kaboul, La Fameuse Invasion Des Ours En Sicile or Dilili a Paris. There are, however, half a dozen of great student suitable movies too.
Thanks to the French Embassy in New Zealand, the co-director of Les Hirondelles De Kaboul, Zabou Breitman presented this movie in Auckland on 19 March, Wellington on 20 March and Christchurch on 21 March.

Launch of the festival took place on 12 March in Dunedin, Wellington, Palmerston North, Auckland, Nelson, Havelock North, and Hamilton opening night was on 19 March. 

For more information and to book tickets go to:

FAST! – France Aotearoa Science, Technology and !nnovation

Fast! is a not-for-profit New Zealand incorporated Society open to all science, technology and innovation minded people. They welcome members from experienced practitioners to emerging young professional and students, both in France and Aotearoa New Zealand.

They actively develop the France/New Zealand science and innovation network through workshops and communication, and support student exchange. Fast! provides a one stop shop for understanding collaboration opportunities between France and New Zealand. To learn more about them visit:

"Sur le chemin de nos ancêtres" / Following Family Footsteps - a highly worthwhile cross-curricular resource

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Jennifer Bush, French teacher and film maker

Last year I had the pleasure of attending the première showing of Sur le chemin de nos ancêtres - following family footsteps - a series of 12 short documentary clips depicting the journey of six New Zealand students who travelled to Northern France to follow in the footsteps of ancestors who fought, and in several cases died, on foreign soil.  
The making of this documentary was part of the “Shared Histories” programme run by the French Embassy (2014-2018) to raise awareness of the contribution given by the ancestors of young New Zealanders who fought on the Western Front during WW1. In 2018, an exchange of "Young Ambassadors" was the conclusion to the programme. Students studying French (in NZ) and English (in France) entered a competition to take part in the exchange. For a short while these young people experienced living in another culture on the other side of the world and were exposed to the shared history they have in common.  In taking part, the students also agreed to be filmed and to present short documentary clips in French for future use in a teaching resource. The film was produced by French teacher/filmmaker Jennifer Bush and producer Robin Laing, and funded by The France-New Zealand Friendship Fund, the Mission du Centenaire, The Embassy of France in New Zealand, New Zealand Association of French Teachers, Stellafilm Ltd and Bushcraft. 

In the months leading up to the visit, the New Zealand students undertook research into their ancestors and topics of interest. Support from their teachers and family was invaluable during this period. A small film crew accompanied the students as they visited battlefields and recounted their stories of ancestors who fought in the war. The students wrote their own scripts and practised them, often late at night, before filming the next day. At times, scripts were adapted as students faced the reality of battle sites, heard from local guides and visited museums. All of the students showed courage in allowing the film crew to record their experiences and emotions on the spot and the resulting short films are very effective. 

Watching the documentary and seeing connections made by young people with their ancestors’ lives was both extremely moving and inspiring.  It makes the study of both history and another language immediately relevant.  While watching, I also found myself thinking about the many different ways in which such a resource could be integrated into the learning languages and social sciences curriculum area at any year level.  As the documentary series is able to be shown in French, in French with subtitles, and in French with English subtitles, it could be used in connection with texts and research in relation to WW1 and WW2, to trigger conversations about war, the ethics of war, globalisation, and immigration, and getting students thinking about their own family heritage and histories.  It is also an example of a research project that could be adapted into any language and across wide variety of learning areas.

If you are interested in finding out more, 11 of the videos (only with French subtitles) are available for viewing online until June 2020 at the Shared Histories website

The final videos are also available on DVD with the whole selection of subtitle options available.  They are available to be shown as a long 35 minute documentary or as individual short pieces to provide starting points for further discussion or work within one lesson.  

A DVD for use in schools is available and can be ordered from

By Juliet Kennedy, Professional Expert – Centre for Languages

Book review – No Glory Without Effort/Pas de Gloire Sans Effort

“Lancaster Bomber NE148 gave one final cry, ploughed into French soil and exploded” – and in French, « NE148 fit entendre comme un dernier appel, percuta le sol de France et explosa » – sounds like the end of the story.

But after several years of research I found out that this wartime act was only the beginning. A relationship of gratitude between France and New Zealand that hardly anybody in New Zealand knows about has been fostered for 75 years.

I discovered that NZ Flight Lieutenant Noel Stokes’s self-sacrifice has been commemorated every year since 1944 by the people of Eure-et-Loir. Noel fulfilled his duty by holding his stricken aircraft aloft while his crew bailed out, and saved many more lives by avoiding crashing on the French village below.

In 2004 my wife, Francine, and I travelled to the commemoration in the village of Yèvres with the first edition of my book, No Glory Without Effort/Pas de Gloire Sans Effort. We were treated as honoured guests: celebrating our shared history and developing friendships over good wine and food. That first edition was quickly sold out because, other than local newspaper articles that reported on the annual commemorations, it was the first real telling of the Noel Stokes story.

But ever since 2004, I have kept my mind open to any more clues about why New Zealander Noel Stokes, what happened to the rest of the crew, who helped them to escape back to the UK, why were the Germans so angry, why did the duty of remembrance matter so much to the people of France, and why does it still matter 75 years on? In 2019 the second edition of No Glory Without Effort/Pas de Gloire Sans Effort was published - at twice the size of the first book because it contains so many more answers and explanations. Of course, as intriguing stories always do it invites ever more questions!

We took suitcases-full to France for the launch in October 2019. There we were presented with a medal from the commune of Yèvres, and as honoured guests shared in the vin d’honneur and the banquet. But some things have changed: as well as representatives from France, New Zealand and the UK, the commemoration is attended by German representatives these days. The ties that bind our countries together are growing stronger and wider, and both friends and former enemies recognise the duty of remembrance. 

We are grateful that the New Zealand France Friendship Fund, which was established out of a sense of duty after that other act of international violence - the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior - contributed towards the new edition of this story of duty in the face of violence. Available from Clerestory Press:

Dr Glyn Strange, author and publisher