There was considerable excitement in French classes at St Clement Danes (SCD) School recently when a package arrived from St Joseph’s School, Tassin la Demi Lune. The parcel contained the first batch of letters from the French school in response to two hundred sent from Year 9 SCD students as the result of a new connection related to the town twinning initiative between Chorleywood and Dardilly, France.
Marie Massé, Head of French at SCD, joined the latest twinning trip and visited St Joseph’s in the spring where she set up the link.
“ Our students wrote letters by hand in French a few weeks ago and have been eagerly waiting replies” says Mlle Massé, “They were given no help and not allowed to use Google Translate. We provided art materials so they could make the letters attractive and they included a sweet or a coin in the envelope. In a world of instant messaging there’s something very special in receiving a letter and the communication gives a very real purpose to what we are learning in the classroom. We looked at the style of writing and paper they used and the students applied their knowledge of language to analyse the sentences, specifically how the English had been written They spotted common errors, typically the use of the article before the noun. In school it’s all about accuracy but in reality we make mistakes. When the students can see that it gives them more confidence to write themselves.
We hope that in future we can arrange a direct exchange between students from both schools, and that families will form links with the community. We just kick things off then it’s over to them – they soon find each other on social media! The hope is that they start friendships that could go on for years.”