This is my second year studying a French module with the King’s Language Centre (formerly known as the Modern Language Centre) alongside my BA in Comparative Literature, this year as a full-year rather than a one semester module.
Full year versus one semester language module
In terms of module structure, full-year modules with the King’s Language Centre have less contact time: one 2-hour seminar per week in comparison to two per week for a one semester module. Essentially, the one semester modules include the same content as year-long modules but they are much faster-paced, so it depends on whether you prefer a more intensive language course. Assessment wise, the year-long modules don’t have official mid-term exams or essays and are assessed solely through end of year exams, including speaking, reading and writing.
I did have some previous experience in French before I chose to study it as I did French for a few years in secondary school and for GCSE, but I didn’t take it for A-Level. After applying for the language module, I took the King’s Language Centre language placement test which assigned me to Stage 2 and after passing Stage 2 last year, I moved up to Stage 3 for this year.
How the King’s Language Centre modules are taught
The teaching for the language modules takes place in small seminar groups of around 10 people. Each seminar lasts for 2 hours, where the first part is spent going over the set homework for that week before looking at new grammar and vocabulary, such as tenses, expressions of opinion or negation, for example. Our module teaching follows the content of the Édito B1 French textbook, which is where the homework texts, listening exercises and corresponding questions are set. Each homework text or audio recording focuses on a specific topic and we go through any new vocabulary from the text in the seminar.
The seminars are immersive as they are led primarily in French and we are encouraged to ask questions in French if we can, though key grammar points are also explained in English. Speaking is also prioritised and we spend at least half an hour on speaking practice in pairs and small groups. The speaking practice is centred around pre-prepared questions from the homework, which serve as a starting point for more spontaneous casual conversation which has been great for improving pronunciation and building confidence in a foreign language.
Other King’s Language Centre resources
The new language resource library has been a very useful place to loan books and films in French, which are organised by ability level. Next semester, I also plan to use native speaker practice to improve my understanding of spoken French.
Balancing an King’s Language Centre module with a BA
I’ve found it much easier to balance learning a language alongside my BA this year in comparison to last year when I did French for one semester, though doing a full-year King’s Language Centre module meant that I had five total semester 1 modules instead of the usual four.
The set homework takes a couple of hours to complete but the language modules don’t have any lectures, so overall they still have less set reading than my normal modules though we are always encouraged to practice the language in our own time through podcasts, films and music.
Overall, I’ve enjoyed learning French with the King’s Language Centre for the past two years because the course is well-balanced between speaking, grammar and reading practice and the immersive teaching in French helps to widen vocabulary. Learning another language has been great for learning more about French culture and I believe it will be incredibly useful for a career in journalism in our increasingly multi-cultural and multi-lingual society.
For more information:
- Check out the King’s Language Centre
- Read Alice’s Day in the life of a French student blog
- Read Giovanna’s blog of studying French and Japanese alongside her degree at the King’s Language Centre