Texas French Symposium
TFLA Journal Article
Aux armes, professeurs de français!
(Top Ten Reasons to attend the <<Texas French Symposium>>)
Susan Dworaczyk, Teacher & Department Chairperson - Klein Oak High School,
President - Texas French Symposium
Over the past decade, there has been much debate about the value of including French in our language programs. The American Association of Teachers of French has created an advocacy group, and several committees have been formed to assist French teachers whose programs are threatened with elimination. The unfortunate danger of the loss of French in our schools exists not only in Texas but throughout the United States.
As there are many sources for language teachers where such information is provided, the goal of this article is not meant to discuss the value of certain languages over others in the high school language curriculum. However, this article will inform French teachers that we have a unique opportunity here in Texas to get our students, administrations and parents excited about the value of learning about French and becoming familiar with francophone cultures.
Nearly fifty years ago, The Texas French Symposium (TFS) began at Mac Arthur High School in San Antonio, Texas. TFS is an annual, two-day statewide UIL-recognized event, which allows non-native high school students of French to compete against their peers in academic and non-academic events. Competition categories include poetry, prose, sight reading, guided speaking (non-prepared speaking based on a series of pictures), drama, music, art and soccer. Although the Texas French Symposium is primarily an academic competition, several events have been included to encourage students to learn more about francophone cultures—and simply to have fun in realizing that there are lots of students enthusiastic about learning French in the state of Texas.
Students have provided their top ten reasons why schools should participate in the Texas French Symposium:
1. The preparation process is a unique and effective way to expand knowledge of the French language,
which improves a student’s pronunciation and general acquisition of vocabulary.
2. Seeing so many judges and fellow French students at the competition stresses the relevance of
francophone cultures—even in a place like Texas.
3. TFS builds sportsmanship, team spirit and school spirit in a way that no other competition experience can.
4. TFS provides a myriad of bonding moments for students over a common passion—students feel more
connected to their French class and make friends within the language. In a large school setting,
Symposium can create a “niche” for students who enjoy learning French.
5. TFS highlights the importance of discipline, which is necessary to prepare a good Symposium team.
6. TFS fosters a desire within competing students to participate more in class.
7. Teachers and students all get the opportunity to make the acquaintance of people from other schools
with similar interests.
8. There’s something for everyone—art, drama, music, video, sports.
9. TFS gives teachers an opportunity to see exactly what their students are capable of—and how much
their students have learned.
10. TFS is fun and motivating! Although it can be hard work for both teachers and students, it is
extremely rewarding and places an emphasis within the school on learning French.
From a student’s point of view, Symposium is fun, rewarding and motivating. From a teacher’s point of view, Symposium helps build a French program, improves oral French and gives our program a « raison d’être ». In
addition, the French teacher will develop a network of other French teachers and members of the French
community in Texas.
In short, all high school teachers of French in Texas should consider taking part in the 2012 Texas
French Symposium. TFS is an excellent way to improve and build your French program. Come take advantage of the opportunity!
For more information on the 2012 Texas French Symposium competition to be held at Klein Oak High
Soyez les bienvenues et venez nombreux au concours de 2012!