Friday, December 25, 2009

How French Blogging temporarily put me off English Blogging

Hi, I am back. I had to start blogging again and chose to start with the auspicious Yuletide season. I was taken aback by people who wrote in to ask why I had stopped but that gave me the necessary to push to be here again. I literally had to say Adieu English blogs five months ago because I was pursuing my last level of French (Level C1). My professor, Mr. Bhushan Thapliyal, got us also blogging in French, keeping contemporary trends in mind. Wow, I never imagined that blogging would be homework someday!!! Anyway, our professor Bhushan, trained us for the writing section of the DALF C1 exam by making us blog our brains out. This is because he is pursuing his Ph.D. on the use of blogs as a pedagogical tool. Cool! Who could have thought about that?

The ‘blogging for school’ brainwave came to Bhushan about three years ago when he was teaching school kids in the 12-15 age groups in France. French kids these days don’t write correct French and have made argot, verlan and the SMS lingo their standard language, even in exam answer sheets! This new way of writing and talking French is equivalent to babble for their parents, teachers and the French society at large. The purists are of the opinion that this phenomenon is an unprecedented crisis for the French language. Bhushan wanted to get his students to write correctly. It was only a question of how. The students refuse to fall in line. Now most of these innovative, stubborn scholars are internet junkies who have lost even the most miniscule interest in TV. Bhushan decided to encroach on the virtual space to fix things.

With the assistance of Université Stendhal Grenoble III, he introduced blogging into the curriculum. School essays on various issues were to be written and posted on the blogs of students which they created specifically for class. Students responded in the most astonishing manner. People actually started writing correct, traditional French with all the accents, grammar and vocabulary right. Students were not being adamant about using argot on blogs. You see, the whole world has access to blogs and hence these students wanted to keep their blogs comprehensible and coherent so that everyone and anyone who understands French can read them. Argot wouldn’t work. Mission accomplished.

Bhushan decided to duplicate his experiment in India. He came to the Alliance Française de Bombay. eHere, blogging was a newxperience for roughly everyone in class. I was in his second batch of guinea pigs for the C1 level. He even got the other teachers ofAlliance to unleash the blogging wave on their classes. We would discuss French current affairs in class with the help of 3 news articles related to each theme. That took care of our reading and speaking skills. We would then scrutinize and reorganize the ideas in these articles to write argumentative essays or to write a synthesis or summary with the maximum word limit of 250 words. That exercise greatly helped to improve my French writing skills and also my ability to simultaneously use articles about the same subject from different sources.

I received the result for our DALF C1 last week. I passed. That’s what counted. I was fairly satisfied with my performance. The French blogging did help a lot for the writing section because we had to respect the time and word limit for that essay. We thoroughly enjoyed our coursework. Introducing blooging in studies helps make people tech-savvy and it is surely fun When blogging enters the curriculum’. It is high time that MS Word adds 'blogging', 'blog' and 'blogger' to its dictionary. Blogs are here to stay.


Vaidehi said...

AWESOME! al that u'v written is totally true.. it realy has helped us...!

Natalia said...

I know Vaidehi! I told Bhushan about it. He appreciated the article too. Cheers !

Tasmanian Devil said...

Well written as always, no doubts about that and Yes it has surely helped us. However, he dint really start this project to eliminate argot. He has told us the story as well.

ashutosh shah said...

natalia i love the way you write .........

merry christmas and happy new year ........

Chandan Mulherkar said...

Welcome back!

There was an article in TOI about your Alliance Française blogs, about a month back I think. It's such a nice way to learn. We should have blogs in all higher level language courses, for a start!

Natalia said...

Hey everybody thanks for your feedback.
@Sureyesh a.k.a T Devil: You are right Bhushan didn't want to eliminate argot. He just wanted it out from schoolwork.

@Chandan: Yeah I read that one. It was written by Sukhada Tatke who was also in our batch. ;)

syeds said...

This was a very well-written and enjoyable post to read.Thanks for the info sharing with us.The way you have described all the things are superb. Keep it up.

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