The French Ambassador joins the First Regional Forum on the Future of French Teaching

On Friday 30th June, the University of Leeds welcomed teachers, lecturers and the French Ambassador to the first regional Forum on the future of French and Francophone Teaching.

The event, ”Ensemble vers l'avenir du français”, was opened by Professor Emma Cayley, the Head of the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies.

Professor Cayley was joined by Hélène Duchêne, Ambassador of France to the United Kingdom. Abigail Scott Paul, Director of External Relations and Strategic Partnerships at Leeds 2023, also addressed the forum.

Hélène Duchêne, French Ambassador, said:

I am delighted to open this first regional forum on the future of French language teaching in secondary and higher education in the United Kingdom.

“At our recent bilateral summit in Paris on March 10th, we jointly decided with the United Kingdom to facilitate exchanges and strengthen our cooperation in education, with a focus on language learning. This is the goal of the forum.”

Innovative ideas and practices

Speakers and workshop leaders shared their innovative ideas and practices in promoting, teaching and researching the French language and Francophone cultures.

Part of the forum was dedicated to the challenges of teaching French in the UK, particularly in the context of Leeds and our twinned city, Lille.

We heard from Juliette Delahaie of the Université de Lille and Eddie Jacquemart from the city of Lille who spoke about promoting French as a foreign language and the importance of school partnerships for student mobility.

The workshops that followed were co-organised by school and university teachers. They shared ideas about developments and innovations in the classroom, such as:

  • Instilling confidence in students
  • Encouraging autonomy and research
  • Translation strategies
  • Francophone cultures
  • The role of technology and online resources.
Hélène Duchêne, French Ambassador and Emma Cayley, Head of Languages, Cultures and Societies

Hélène Duchêne, French Ambassador and Emma Cayley, Head of Languages, Cultures and Societies

Collaborating with experts

The forum was organised by the Higher Education, Research and Innovation Department of the French Embassy in the UK, Institut Français du Royaume-Uni and the University of Leeds.

The Association for Language Learning, the Association of University Professors Heads of French+, the Independent Schools Modern Language Association and the Society for French Studies supported the event.

Hélène Duchêne speaking at the Forum.

Hélène Duchêne speaking at the forum

Hélène Duchêne, French Ambassador to the UK, said:

“I would like to thank the University of Leeds, which is hosting the initiative on its campus, as well as the scholarly associations and societies that represent the French-teaching communities at the national level, and the delegation from Lille and the Hauts-de-France academic region, which is taking the opportunity provided by this forum to develop its cooperation as part of the twinning arrangement between the cities of Lille and Leeds.”