One of my goals this year has been to create a stronger sense of community among students in the French program. In addition, students have expressed the desire for more hands-on projects. As one step in this direction, in AP French 5 we have begun hosting a monthly French café for the WT community. Students plan the café in French, deciding on food and beverages, dividing the prep work, and assigning roles for the event. We host the cafés during community time or the 2:10 p.m. block and invite students in other French classes, French-speaking faculty and staff, and French-speaking family members to participate. Students share in the work of preparing the food and cleaning up. At the café, guests can have a seat, order in French, enjoy delicious food, and practice their French with others. Our two cafés to date have featured delicious homemade baguettes, fruit salad, and crepes, alongside coffee, tea, and hot chocolate.
The cafés serve a number of functions. First, in preparing and hosting the café, French 5 students are using the language in a real-life situation with real-life consequences. They have a chance to show what they can do with the language, and they provide other French speakers in the community with an opportunity to practice as well. In addition, the focus of the café is on using French for personal enjoyment and enrichment, allowing students to experience some of the personal benefits of learning a language, such as obtaining tasty food and getting to know others in a friendly atmosphere.