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As teachers across the country prepare to celebrate National French Week, we decided to put together a special issue of the National Bulletin devoted to ideas and suggestions for bringing French in all its many manifestations out of the classroom and into the larger community. We hope this publication, whose principal articles you will find on this Web site, will serve as a manual for promoting French during National French Week and throughout the year. We want to show the public that French is still a viable, valuable choice for language study, that our students can do things with the language, and that French remains one of the major world languages as we approach the 21st century.

To facilitate the organization of National French Week, we have assigned a theme to each day:

These themes as well as the ideas contained in this issue are suggestions to help members organize festivities. Teachers are free to pick and choose other themes and activities better suited to their interests and situations. We ask only that anyone organizing a National French Week activity take French out of the classroom, involve students in using the language and showing what they can do, and do everything possible to attract the attention of the media, from local newspaper coverage to cable outlets, radio stations, and local television stations. If you ordinarily sponsor some kind of promotional or public event, schedule it during National French Week this year. Invite target groups of potential supporters—parents, administrators and counselors, school board members—to any special event or activity which offers good publicity for French. Get high school students into the lower grades to teach what they know, perform, or do a presentation to younger children. Always try to involve the media in any noteworthy undertaking by students.

Consult with local theater departments, concert organizers or music departments, dance troupes, museums and galleries, or movie theaters to convince them to arrange any performances with a French-flavor during National French Week. This type of effort needs to be started immediately, because events may already be scheduled, but you may still find some flexibility.

Obviously, no teacher has the energy or time to organize a major event on every day of National French Week. Pick one or two events to focus on, and use smaller, less-involved activities to celebrate the other days. Better yet, collaborate with colleagues in your school or school district, in nearby colleges and universities, or within your AATF chapter to organize different events to which everyone is invited for a round-robin effect.

In the center of the special issue you will find a poster advertising National French Week. Display it in a prominent place in your school. Additional copies are available while supplies last. Order more and place them in your community: in grocery stores, French-related businesses, at the mall. In addition, you can order an AATF Promotional Kit for National French Week and distribute flyers and promotional items to prospective students and their parents.

Remember these important tips:

  • Take French out of the classroom;
  • Involve your students in promoting French;
  • Invite parents, counselors, administrators, school board members, journalists, and local politicians to observe your students at work and, more importantly, to participate in National French Week activities;
  • Publicize before, during, and after the events that you organize;
  • Convey to the public why it is fun, useful, exciting, rewarding, romantic to learn French.

A special thanks goes to all those who contributed to this issue: Jayne Abrate (IL), Joyce Beckwith (MA), Brenda Benzin (NY), Jacqueline Donnelly (MI), Thomas Field (MD), Nancy Gadbois (MA), David Graham (NY), Claudia Hommel (IL), Elizabeth Joiner (SC), Marie-Christine Koop (TX), Gladys Lipton (MD), Mary Jo Netherton (KY), Robert "TennesseBob" Peckham (TN), Jean-Pierre Piriou (GA), Davara Potel (OH), Linda Reed (WA), Jo Ellen Sandburg (IL), Harriet Saxon (NJ), Margot Steinhart (IL), Jacqueline Thomas (TX), Brian Thompson (MA), and Janet Caldwell (TX) who designed the poster.

Cover page reprinted from AATF National Bulletin, Special Issue: Volume 24 No. 5 (May 1999)


Created: April 25, 1999
Last update: July 31, 2015