Lesson 3: Vocabulary in Français interactif

Decontextualized Exercises

In this lesson, we look at how the Français interactif program gives students word-level practice before requiring them to negotiate meaning of richly contextualized samples of vocabulary. Following the basic premise of the lexical approach, the initial encounter with a vocabulary item should establish its most basic meaning.

Vocabulary Preparation Exercise

The Préparation du vocabulaire, a "first pass" at the chapter vocabulary, presents different learning strategies. It is primarily a decontextualized treatment, as it requires learners to study and manipulate words in isolation. However, as they move through the steps of the Préparation du vocabulaire, they end with Chassez l'intrus ("find the one that doesn't belong"), an activity that requires them to make connections across words, thereby contextualizing the individual lexical items.

Take a look at the sample vocabulary preparation exercise from Chapter 2 of Français interactif.

Préparation du vocabulaire

Do you find it easy to make associations, recognize cognates, and form word families?

The final activity of the Préparation du vocabulaire, the Chassez l'intrus exercises, can be based on semantic, grammatical, and gender/number differences.

Students choose from four words, of which one does not share a related meaning:

  • un frère, une sœur, un oncle, un ami ("a brother, a sister, an uncle, a friend")
  • In this example, un ami would not be a family member, so would be "the intruder" based on meaning.

Students also exemplify differences using grammatical characteristics:

  • écouter, regarder, finir, jouer ("to listen, to watch, to finish, to play")
  • In this case, finir would be the only -ir verb, and hence "the intruder."

Students can also use gender or number as a way of making a distinction:

  • une sœur, un frère, une mère, une tante ("a sister, a brother, a mother, an aunt")
  • Un frère would be singled out here, as it is the only masculine word.
Look through a first-year textbook of the language you teach or will be teaching, and come up with a Chassez l'intrus for each of the categories above. How can you work with your students to come up with simple explanations in the target language? Can you think of some stock expressions or phrases with which you might be able to equip them to create brief but effective explanations?

Vocabulary Preparation in the Classroom

As the first step in a Français interactif chapter, students work on the Préparation du vocabulaire at home. They then bring it to class to go over in pairs or small groups and recap as a whole class.


Students in a classroom going over Préparation du vocabulaire.

Duration: 04:59

How could this teacher have made this activity less teacher-centered and more learner-centered?