Changes to the French Fair for 2019:

  • Due to limits on space and other resources, the BYU French Language Fair will no longer be able to accommodate immersion and DLI programs. Students in those programs will be invited to participate in a fair being organized at the state level.
  •  Due to increased costs, we are forced to raise the price for attendance to $4 per student.
  • La Francophonie will continue to play an important role in the French Language Fair.
    • This year’s Focus on La Francophonie country will be Switzerland.
    • Again, there will be a special space entirely devoted to the Focus on La Francophonie region.
    • The region will also feature prominently in the Culture Bowl and Music Hall.
    • This year’s theme for the Arts Visuels and Posters is: The taste of La Francophonie.

PAST CHANGES TO THE FAIR

2018 Summary:

Many of the changes and updates to the Fair last year took the form of limits imposed on us by evolving circumstances beyond our control. While nothing has changed and last year’s limits will largely remain in effect, we have made some other changes to the Fair that reflect our general focus on communication (over memorization) and engagement with real cultural artifacts.

The 2018 French Fair will feature one new event, while some others will be changed or eliminated.

  • We are happy to announce a new competition for level 4 and 5 students: Discours. Competing students will have 30 minutes to prepare a 3-5 minute speech on a topic that will be given at the Fair. They will then deliver that speech from the notes that they prepared.
    • To make room for this new event, levels 4 and 5 in the Poetry competition will be eliminated.
    • Upper-level students who would prefer to perform a published work rather than write an original speech are encouraged to participate in the Théâtre competitions.

Due to continuing circumstances at BYU, overall limits, as well as those in the individual contests, will be reduced again this year.

  • French Fair registration will be limited to 1,000 students.
    • Registration will open on February 1 and close on March 1, or when the limit is reached, whichever comes first.
    • There will be no exceptions, the limit is firm.
  • Given this cap and our desire to extend the opportunity to as many schools as possible, the per teacher limit will remain at 30 students.
  • Participant limits for competitions have been changed to make better use of our limited resources.
    • Some limits have increased while others have decreased. Please refer to the website for the new limits.
    • Additionally, individual students may not compete in more than one competition – that includes the choir competition.

La Francophonie will continue to play an important role in the French Language Fair.

  • This year’s Focus on La Francophonie country will be The Kingdom of Morocco.
  • Again, there will be a special space entirely devoted to the Focus on La Francophonie region.
  • The region will also feature prominently in the Culture Bowl and Music Hall.

This year’s theme for the Arts Visuels and Posters is: French Chic – France’s Cultural Legacy.

The criteria for the Grand Prize awarded to the Junior High/Middle School and High School that receives the highest overall score in the competitions.

  • The overall score is an average of the points earned by each competing student in their respective events.
    • For example, a student who receives the top rating in .
  • To be eligible, a school must:
    • Have a minimum of 10 competing students
    • Have students compete in a minimum of 4 different events. For example, Poésie 1 and Poise 2 count as 2 separate events.

2017 Summary

Due to changing circumstances at BYU, overall limits, as well as those in the individual contests, will be changed.

  • French Fair registration will be limited to 900 students.
    • Registration will open on February 6 and close on March 1, or when the limit is reached, whichever comes first.
    • There will be no exceptions, the limit is firm.
  • Given this new cap and our desire to extend the opportunity to as many schools as possible, the per teacher limit will remain at 30 students.
  • Participant limits for competitions have changed to make more effective use of an anticipated smaller group of volunteers. Some limits have increased while others have decreased. Please refer to the website for the new limits.
    • With this, individual students may not compete in more than one competition – that includes the choir competition.
      • The one exception is for exams: students may take an exam in addition to competing in another contest.

Registration and payment procedures have been updated.

  • Registration will open on February 6 and close on March 1 or when the limit is reached, whichever comes first.
    • Adjustments to registration numbers must be made before March 25.
    • An invoice for the Fair registration fee will be emailed to each teacher by March 30.
    • Payments must be received before April 15.
      • Credit card payments and checks will be accepted as in past years.
    • Refunds for “no shows” will no longer be offered. This has long been the policy of the other language fairs and we are adopting it in an effort to reduce consumption of university resources.
  • Event sign-ups (the Google Docs where you enter students’ names) will open on March 15 and close on April 15.
    • Unlike in years past, teachers will sign up for times in the choir competition and Music Hall.
    • We will continue to create the Culture Bowl schedule.

La Francophonie will continued to be incorporated into the French Language Fair.

  • This year’s Focus on La Francophonie will focus on The Republic of Benin.
  • Again, there will be a special space entirely devoted to the Focus on La Francophonie region.
  • The region will also feature prominently in the Culture Bowl and Music Hall.

This year’s theme for the Arts Visuels is: French: Language of the Future.

Like last year, a Grand Prize will be awarded to both the Junior High/Middle School and the High School that receives the highest overall score in the competitions.

  • The overall score is an average calculated based on points per student.
  • A minimum of 10 participating students is required for eligibility.

2016 Summary:

  •  La Francophonie will continued to be incorporated into the French Language Fair.
    • This year’s Focus on La Francophonie will focus on La Polynésie française with an emphasis on Tahiti.
    • Again, there will be a special space entirely devoted to the Focus on La Francophonie region.
    • The region will also feature prominently in the Culture Bowl and Music Hall.
  • Créativité and Lecture Dramatique are being drastically scaled back and combined into a single category that we are calling Théâtre.
  • Arts Visuels will continue to be incorporated into the Fair.
    • This year’s theme is: The many faces of La Francophonie.
  • Like last year, a Grand Prize will be awarded to both the Junior High/Middle School and the High School that receives the highest overall score in the competitions.
    • The overall score is an average calculated based on points per student.
    • A minimum of 10 participating students is required for eligibility.

 

2015 Summary:

  • The biggest and most important change is the incorporation of La Francophonie into the French Language Fair. Each year a different a different Francophone country or region will spotlighted in various activities.
    • This year’s Focus on La Francophonie will focus on Le Québec.
    • There will be a special space entirely devoted to the Focus on La Francophonie region.
    • The region will also feature prominently in the Culture Bowl and Music Hall.
  • L’interview will be expanded to include students of every level.
    • Levels 1 and 2 will practice basic conversational skills in “Conversations.”
    • The higher levels have “Interviews” that focus on more advanced communication skills.
  • We have added a new competition: Arts Visuels.  This contest offers students a chance to create works of art (paintings, drawings, sculptures, etc.) or academic posters that illustrate a chosen theme for the year.
    • Students are encouraged to submit work that illustrates the theme chosen for that year’s fair. This year’s theme is: French beyond l’Hexagone.
    • Work will be accepted in two categories:
      • Academic Posters
      • Creative Works
  • The Culture Bowl will be updated in two significant ways:
    • We will use a computerized buzzer system rather than taking turns. The first student to buzz in from either team will have the first chance to answer the question.
    • The question bank that we have used for the past several years will be supplemented with questions based on the Focus on La Francophonie region and La Francophonie in general.
      • The new questions will NOT be made available ahead of time. Rather than memorize questions and answers, students will have to study the featured topics (see the contest page for details and links to the pages that will be used to create the questions).
  • Bingo will focus on basic vocabulary rather than numbers and letters. The caller will call out basic vocabulary words and the students will have to find the corresponding images on their cards.

The long explanation:

First we want to thank those of you who responded to the survey we sent out November 2014. The response was great and we received a lot of useful – and occasionally surprising – information.

Our goal as we move forward with the French Fair is to tailor the programs to support the curricula of the teachers we work with throughout Utah, and, based on your responses, that means we need to make some changes to the fair. I know some will be disappointed while others will welcome the changes. Regardless of your personal feelings about the changes, please know that we do not make these changes flippantly and that we are open to further adjustments as we see what works and what does not.

That being said, what many of us on the BYU French faculty see as the most important movements in French teaching at every level are 1) a greater emphasis on communicative approaches, and 2) broadening the scope of our cultural instruction to include Francophone countries throughout the world. The results of the survey indicated that, by and large, Utah French teachers have the same general vision. According to the survey, teachers overwhelmingly see the following as the most closely aligned with or supporting of their curricula (in order):

  1. L’interview
  2. La pharmacie
  3. La pâtisserie – though I suspect there might be some ulterior motives for rating this so highly…
  4. Le magasin de vêtements
  5. La douane
  6. Le magasin de souvenirs

You’ve probably noticed what we did in analyzing the data: all of these activities require students to produce language spontaneously in real-world(ish) situations. These are the most communicative activities and, given their popularity, we have no intention of making any drastic changes to them (maybe a little aesthetic refreshing, but that’s it). There will be one change that you will notice as you register students for one of the activities listed above: we are largely expanding L’interview to offer the opportunity to more students at more levels.

Most of the activities that we asked about in the survey received a net positive rating, which is to say that more teachers said they align with their curricula than said they should be changed or eliminated. There were, however, three notable exceptions: Bingo, La Créativité, and Lecture Dramatique. Not only were these the only activities that received a net negative rating from teachers, but they were well on the negative side of the line. So these are the areas where we are making our first real changes, as follows:

  •  While Bingo is not communicative, we do see some value in offering a low-stress activity, particularly for beginning students. However, we do think that some adjustments could make it more academically worthwhile and interesting.
    • Rather than numbers and letters (i.e. traditional bingo), the game will now consist of images of basic vocabulary words (e.g. “garçon,” “fille,” “maison,” etc.). The caller will read the word and students will search their boards for the corresponding image.
  • La Créativité and Lecture Dramatique are similar in many ways – both in what is required (and not required) of participating students and the criticisms we hear. So we are lumping them together here AND in the Fair from now on under the category of Théâtre.
    • While La Créativité could offer students a chance to use their language skills, it has not been a particularly popular activity in recent years and reports from a number of regular judges and teachers seem to indicate that many students just giggle and mumble their way through a less-than-polished script. For these reasons we are eliminating this activity from the 2016 Fair.
    • The biggest complaints we hear about Lecture Dramatique are 1) that the same two texts have been used for decades, 2) that it does not necessarily require much effort or preparation to read a text (as opposed to memorizing one like students do in the poetry contest), and 3) that it does not force students to engage in real communication.
      • In response to some of these concerns, we are changing the event to focus on scenes from French plays that students will prepare ahead of time, memorize, and then perform.