Tutorial Transcript

Salut YouTube - Salut YouTube I've got a friend with me today Mandy, do you want to introduce yourself and tell them who you are what you do what's your star sign? Well actually I'm in aquarius pisces cusp, it's a whole thing. Hi my name is Mandy or Amanda I am an Instagrammer or blogger, I'm also an English teacher here in Paris I've been in Paris about five ish years. Where are you from originally? I'm from Indianapolis Indiana. I know that you guys like to always follow my guests and check out a little bit more about them because Paris through your eyes which is different to life through my eyes so of course we're gonna link the Instagram and everything down below so that you can go and stalk Mandy but not before watching this video because we have got a really exciting topic for you guys which is all around the level of English in France. Mandy's an English teacher here at the moment so I mean she's got an opinion on this which is why I brought her in for this video we're gonna have a chat about that Why the level of English is what it is in France. So there's this thing called the English proficiency index and it measures a whole heap of people from the countries all throughout Europe and they figure out you know the ranking basically who speaks English the best or not and France does have the lowest ranking and in Western Europe and out of all of Europe including Russia there are only three countries I think that are worse off than France and that is Turkey Russia and Ukraine so in terms of the entire European landmass that's where France sits. So the thing is I think that the French speak English yes I've spoken French since I was 11 so it's kind of hard I've never come here and struggled to communicate but I definitely have seen you know other travelers or my friends have come and been really nervous to communicate with the French because they're worried that they're not going to be understood or that no one will speak English to them so it can be very stressful but personally I have noticed that the level I mean it's obvious the level of English here is definitely a lot lower. I was just in Copenhagen and everybody they were perfectly bilingual they could even imitate a Scottish accent a British accent and an American accent like perfectly. France we're not there yet. And we're gonna talk about why that is actually in just a minute I'm the same you know working in HR often seeing CVs in front of me that say that they're bilingual in English and obviously when you have the interview you realize that it's not necessarily the case and I have obviously a huge amount of empathy because I learned French on the ground so it's hard I have noticed in Paris basically everyone speaks English they don't necessarily like to do so - correct - which is fair enough I know that there's a lot of history between France and England of course the stereotype is true that as you go further south the harder it gets to communicate and so we're trying to figure out why this might be and so do you have any opinions coming from how English gets taught in the schooling system? Well so it's interesting I've asked all of my co-teacher friends yeah because you know we always speak in French together in all our meetings the comité d'école and everything we're always speaking in French and I've asked them and a lot of times they like to tell me that they parle anglais comme une vache espangol is one of my favorite French phrases a Spanish speaking cow speaking English, I don't get it I love it but I think it has everything to do with generational I believe so the teachers that I have asked they're around 40 to 50 years old and they were taught English in a strictly written format they were taught grammar rules first and then conversation but conversation came much much later so what I've been told by most of them is that their main focus was writing writing writing and then when it finally came time to speak they were so nervous about their grammar being incorrect that they just like blocked right that's everybody always says "je me block" (I freeze). And they're so harsh on themselves and their own language in terms of grammar and rules it's such a sign of sophistication and that there are so many complex rules in France so it's natural that your mastery of the language is it an indication I guess it's a social currency absolutely and so that's why they're so harsh with themselves in English and it's like "guys we don't care!" People of our generation, Parisians and the French who are learning English now are getting more of a sense that conversation is the most important thing so I know in the last two years where I've been teaching the kids that are CP all the way to CM1 we are mostly doing oral exams and oral exercises all the time. That's great, a great change! Again, it was grammar books it was heads down it sounds like quite a painful way to learn the language. It seemed to be a lot of formulaic phrases Brian is in the kitchen, where is Brian? I've also heard that a lot of the English teachers are French yes and this shocked me because I was like oh you're right next door to the UK firstly, hi - ding-dong - for me in the cliche was that people from the UK were coming over to live the good life in France basically and there must be just English teachers everywhere scrambling to get jobs here and so I just assumed every single English teacher would be a native English speaker but it's actually not the case. It's almost never the case and you you find people you know French people who again have they've done their PhD in literature and English and it's fantastic but they're still teaching English with the accent. I have it every day in my classroom there's a word of the day and one of the words of the day was bathroom but "sans TH" - impossible and and the pronunciation guide said bassroom instead of even trying that TH so that being taught - incorrect pronunciation which I understand the th is not a sound that you have in French it must make it very complicated however that is a learning device that's in many classrooms across the country yeah it's either bathroom or bath with an F right but the TH is in so many words including thank you and some very very essential words so it it's kind of shocking, it's a must really. Well if you can sing happy birthday which I know you all can and everybody does, you can say the th. I've also heard that, at least for our generation growing up, you got so much shit for your accent oh yeah so if you speak English you know with the correct accent firstly you're a snob like you're arrogant and know-it-all you know they'll take the piss because of that but then if you have an accent 'de merde' (crappy accent) you all are so mean to each other - you're sooo mean to each other like when you have French people hearing each other speaking English straight away it's like horrible they just mock each other whether it's good or whether it's bad yeah you can't you win. That's why you say you don't speak English - je ne parle pas. As soon as they start speaking English they feel embarrassed and humiliated because they think what's going on in our head is like "haha this guy look at his accent!" guys we're not that mean we're honestly going oooh I like that. The last two years I was an Intervenante in the classrooms so what I would do is I would go into the classrooms and teach English with the teacher and would help with accents and songs and cultural things and many of my teachers would say to me I'm not going to teach the English in front of you because I'm so embarrassed of my level of English you know you're teaching, you don't really have a choice. In every school that I have worked in they have told me that their requirement is 45 minutes of English per week which is not very much and especially if it's 45 minutes from someone who doesn't like speaking English or if not doesn't feel that they're good at speaking English. It becomes the first thing that's easy to just cut yeah oh we really need to do our math so we're just gonna skip English this week. But I do believe I actually have students as young as three because I'm in a maternelle school and also an elementary school so it is getting younger and younger and I think that parents are seeing the value of it and yet pushing more for more English education for their children in schools which is good and important again but my students love love-love-love speaking English. As they have access to media in English I mean it's gonna change their lives and a lot of French people say I mean my English improved so much once I started binging like series/Netflix but on that point there is that protection of the French language also which is I guess it's a fear in France that the more we expose ourselves to English the less French we'll be and it's not mutually exclusive. You can speak both! I had a host dad who spoke perfect English because he worked for a very big software company constantly traveling all over the world his English was flawless and he would tell me that when english-speaking tourists would come up to him in the street he would pretend not to speak English just because he was like they need to learn how to ask me in French which I also understand know like again where's the Eiffel Tower instead of saying 'excusez-moi, est-ce que vous parlez anglais? where's the Eiffel Tower?' you know learning those small phrases to unlock then the French who do speak English is one thing that I think tourists need to do a better job of because I think it would make the French feel more comfortable I think going back to the negativity towards the English and anglocizing I have a really good friend who just opened a bakery in the 12th, a Californian style bakery she's from California but she did pastry school here in France she's got all the French basics but she's making cookies and and cheese cakes and stuff and she has all her signs in English open closed her placard like sandwich board up front is all like come on in and you know we've got cookies we've got blah blah blah and she said that for the most part all the people younger Millennials and and younger people come in and they love it oh it's English like California we love it yeah but she's had several older people come in and say like I don't understand why your signs are in English we're in France you need to learn French and just I think I definitely think it's generational. Interesting, so there is hope yet! Maybe they're running a little bit behind but that's fine and as we said in general when you come to Paris most people here are going to be able to speak English they don't necessarily want to but again if you just say those magic French words up front it will unlock 'Bonjour, Excusez-Moi, Parlez-Vous anglais?' exactly - you're done - and then don't forget Merci, merci is so important. yeah it's such an interesting topic I think we could talk about it for hours! If you're French and you've had an experience of growing up in an education system that taught you English I'd love to hear your opinion about it down below let us know. You don't have to tell us exactly how old you are but we would be interested generationally to see if there are differences and everything down below. Alright don't forget to go and check out Mandy's Instagram I'll see you next video Wednesday on the Not Even French Channel A bientot! Bye!